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The perfect cup of tea and a sit down
Tea in general
Member Name: SugarSpun
Tea in general
Advantages: Every advantage. Tea is the nectar of the gods
Disadvantages: poor quality tea is still on the market
Tea is a wonderful drink. It comes in a variety of herbal flavours with a variety of things it's good for - chamomile for relaxation, fennel to stimulate breastmilk production, peppermint to gently wake you up, ginger to combat nausea and so on.
Regular black tea is the most common in the UK - it's a dried mixture of the leaves of the tea plant and can be bought either loose or in a bewildering variety of shapes of bag, pyramids, squares and round. I'm a little bit OCD so prefer the round bags because I like the way they fit in the bottom of the mug.
You can buy it in a range of qualities, but this is one area where the price often reflects the quality of the contents. High-end, expensive loose tea is the pick of the crop, so to speak. High end bags get the next best tea, and it goes down in quality and price until you come to the tea-leaf dust inside the supermarket value-brand bags.
Despite the caffeine content of black tea (3%), a cup of tea is normally considered a relaxant. This is probably because of the process of making it, and the sitting down with it that follows. My suggestion for making the perfect cup is as follows, adapted from George Orwell's famous rules:
1. Use tea from India or Sri Lanka, not China
2. Use a teapot, preferably ceramic
3. Warm the pot over direct heat - scalding it with boiling water is not enough
4. 1-2 spoons of leaves per 1 litre
5. Let the leaves move around the pot - no bags or strainers
6. Take the pot to the boiling kettle - carrying a boiling kettle is dangerous and drops the temperature of the water. Water should be boiling when it meets the leaves
7. Stir or shake the pot - brew as long as works for you
8. Drink out of a tall, mug-shaped cup
9. Don't add creamy milk - cream is for coffee, not tea
10. Add milk to the tea, not vice versa (apparently this denatures the milk proteins so some people claim it's best to leave the chilled milk at the bottom of the cup - I say you don't know how much milk you'll need till the tea is poured out and a pox on milk proteins anyway)
11. No sugar!
Summary: Civilised beverage to enjoy alone or with others
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