Ichabod is itchy

January 11, 2007

Fancy a cuppa?

Filed under: food — by ichabodisitchy @ 5:52 pm

All this talk about how milk takes out the ‘goodness’ of tea everywhere (see Milk eliminates cardiovascular health benefits of tea at ScienceDaily for an example) has been making me think of how I make and drink tea. Not that I’ll stop drinking milky tea. But have you noticed how there seem to be endless variations on a cup of tea, depending on how you make it. Do you use a pot? If so, do you warm it? Or (sin of all sins) do you ‘re-fill’ it?

Do you put the milk in first? This is what George Orwell has to say on the subject:

“One should pour tea into the cup first. This is one of the most controversial points of all; indeed in every family in Britain there are probably two schools of thought on the subject. The milk-first school can bring forward some fairly strong arguments, but I maintain that my own argument is unanswerable. This is that, by putting the tea in first and stirring as one pours, one can exactly regulate the amount of milk whereas one is liable to put in too much milk if one does it the other way round.”

But I disagree. If I put the tea in first, I always over-fill it and end up with not enough room for the amount of milk I want.

Furthermore, when I make tea (for one or two– i.e. no pot) I find that if I pour the water in first, stir it around, take the tea bag out and then put the milk in, I end up with lots of tea ‘scum’ floating on the top of the mug– stuff that looks like flakes of tea and that stick to the side of the mug each time you take a sip so that by the time it’s empty, there is a decided trail of tea scum all around the inside of the mug.

If, however, you put the milk in first (with the teabag, which I know sounds wrong) and then pour the boiling water in, you end up with a perfect, scum-free delicious cuppa. (one caveat- if you pour the water in before it is completely boiled, you end up with scum of a different nature– sort of white froth that looks like it belongs on a cappuccino).



  1. Hmm. This tea scum of which you speak – I think it might be caused by stirring the tea with the tea bag still in. Speaking as an ‘amateur’ tea maker (but whose tea-making skills are quite prized by friends when I’m in Germany, despite their awful milk) I would advise that you leave the tea bag in the cup for about two-three minutes. Then just take it out *without* squeezing it. Of course, the scum might be caused by something else, like the hardness of the water…

    Comment by Ian Hocking — January 11, 2007 @ 7:29 pm |Reply

  2. You are are talking to Mrs Teapot here. I presume you are in a hard water area, hence the ‘scum’ – sounds awful!
    Teabags are made from the leftovers in tea production, the sweepings if you like. This is not to say that it is an inferior quality, but that the leafy bits are of a smaller size, so not so much good flavour.
    For a better taste try using loose tea, Assam is one of the best for flavour. Use a pot and a china cup but te way you make it is entirely up to you.

    Comment by Minx — January 15, 2007 @ 10:58 am |Reply

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