If you know me, you may know I have a fondness for over exaggerating on occasion. I may make a mountain type of situation out of a molehill type of situation, and this…well, this situation probably isn’t going to be any damn different, sorry (but not really sorry). Now I know it’s just tea, but tea is a serious business M’kay?
Here’s the deal. I am having a bit of a…….an active disagreement…with a friend because I – and I cannot stress this enough – I…innocuously…and…completely…non-judgementally…described a cup of tea she made for me as being…improperly brewed.
…Because it was.
(And all this time I thought tea was supposed to be a beverage to bring people together?)
Whether you pour the milk in first or, whether you do it the right way (…no judgement…?), it turns out this is a thing people harbour very strong opinions about. Until recently, I didn’t know I was one of these people, and at this stage, I’m wondering how I could have been so unaware. So blissfully oblivious. I mean, I live in England. A country who’s entire populous is known for a love of all thing’s tea. We tea morning noon and night. We tea on good days and it’s compulsory that we tea on bad days. We tea (I’m trying to make this a thing) to solve problems. We tea to build friendships. We tea to relax, to grieve, to celebrate. We tea…(it’s probably not going to be a thing, I’m sick of it already – and if it becomes a thing, for the love of feck I’m sorry), we tea all the damn time. We are serious about our tea-ing.
So, one would think given the amount of love there is for a good brew, that there was like a universal way, right? A standard way with which we make a brew. No, there really isn’t a standard convention (although tea conventions are a very real thing because, England), and I honestly believe that there should most definitely…at least…be a public standard – as in…do it however you want in the privacy of your own home…but here’s how we behave in the presence of other people. We will teach the children this standard, and everyone will be happier for it. But hold on a minute, I hear you protest, shouldn’t I be able to make my cup of tea the way I want to? The way my taste buds tell me is the right way…without it becoming a thing?
You would think….
The answer…is no.
- Milk in first.
- Water in first.
These are the two trains of thoughts when it comes to tea making (although I’ve recently discovered there is a third way which I feel is more appropriate to coffee or chai)*
Milk in first. Now rumour has it this shit started when people used to worry about their china shattering when hot water was poured in first. Seeing as this is no longer the case, and this friend doesn’t own fine china, I do not understand why milk met the teabag first. Was the Argos Value mug about to shatter in a show of solidarity with its fine china ancestors? Times have changed have they not? It is a modern mug with more than an iota of self-respect. It keeps itself right, it works out, its strong enough to handle…
Water in first. Also known as…the right way. Because…the teabag needs time to infuse.
Copy and paste that image everywhere. It’s for the greater good! And the teabag needs time to infuse is all the science and reason you need to end this madness. The teabag needs time to infuse. So therefore…water goes in first, so that the teabag has the time it needs to infuse. Have I typed that enough times? Why, why can’t people understand this? And yes, you most definitely can tell the difference.
What I was offered by this person (we are currently both re-evaluating our friendship) was a huge cup of meh. I tried to be a good, grateful guest and silently sip the cup of hate I was given but all I could think…was its like our friendship means nothing. Is everything I thought I knew about this person a lie? This teabag harboured dreams of one day becoming a decent cup of tea – strong and comforting and delicious – but those dreams would forever remain unrealised. It would go to the great teapot beyond knowing that in its final moments, when it mattered the most, it was turned into nothing more than a cup of weak tea. No teabag deserves that. Every teabag. Needs. Time. To. Infuse.
Let. The teabag. Infuse…then add yourself your milk or creamer of choice, stir and enjoy your properly. Infused. Cup of tea. Can we all please promise to honour them in their final moments. That’s all I ask.
*BTW: That third way is to make the tea with all hot milk. Heat up the milk and pour it over a teabag with absolutely no water. Not in a n I’m making chai kind of way – you know with the spices and all, but just heat up that milk and pour it over your (Yorkshire) tea teabag of choice.
Anyway. I feel so much better after this rant (and a properly made cup of tea).