08 January 2011

Make a Cup of Tea

One of my favourite writers, Christopher Hitchens, wrote a story for Slate(http://www.slate.com/id/2279601/) on the proper way to make tea:
"It is already virtually impossible in the United States, unless you undertake the job yourself, to get a cup or pot of tea that tastes remotely as it ought to," he complains. "It's quite common to be served a cup or a pot of water, well off the boil, with the tea bags lying on an adjacent cold plate. The drink itself is then best thrown away, though if swallowed, it will have about the same effect on morale as a reading of the memoirs of President James Earl Carter."
His tips, in brief:
1. Always use Indian or Ceylonese—i.e., Sri Lankan—tea.
2. Make tea only in small quantities.
3. Avoid silverware pots.
4. If you use a pot at all, make sure it is pre-warmed. (Do the same thing even if you are only using a cup or a mug.)
5. Stir the tea before letting it steep.
6. Take the teapot to the kettle, and not the other way about. The water should be actually boiling at the moment of impact.
7. If you use milk, make sure it's the least creamy type. ("And do not put the milk in the cup first—family feuds have lasted generations over this—because you will almost certainly put in too much," Hitchens says.)
8. A "decent cylindrical mug" is best.
9. Brown sugar or honey are "permissible and sometimes necessary," even though George Orwell would probably disagree.

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