These days there aren't all that many subjects in which I'd say I was an expert. Several things that I've had lots of practice in, but I'm not necessarily all that good at them. Then I saw Mummy Barrow's post about making the perfect cuppa and though – hang on a minute, this is actually something I know how to do. And something I do bloody well if I say so myself. After all I'm from Yorkshire. Tea's in my blood. Literally.
So – how to start. Firstly tea should always be made with boiling water, whilst coffee should be made with just hot water. Don't bother boiling the kettle unless you're ready to pour the water out of it as soon as it hit the boil. A minute or two after and that's just too late as far as I'm concerned.
Before you press the button on your kettle get everything ready and in my case this means a mug with a tea bag and spoonful of sugar in it. At the moment my tea drinking has to be either Yorkshire Tea (well I'm a Yorkshire lass after all) or Twinings Earl Grey (pandering to having lived in the south for nearly half my life). I'm yet to find any other tea that's quite the same. Yes, I'll drink fruit, green and herbal teas when the mood takes me, but there's still part of me that can't really consider them as "proper" tea if you know what I mean, just nice hot drinks. My northern roots also dictate that tea is a sweet drink. That's just the way it is. No arguments.
Now, some may question my use of tea bags. My late Gran hated tea bags and always insisted on real leaf tea for every cup. I still remember her disgust when she realised that my sister and I didn't know how to make a cuppa with tea leaves. We were very quickly given a lesson. One I'll never forget. However, back to practicalities. I'm a mum to two little ones and I'm the only tea drinker in the house. Tea bags are just more practical, but I do admit the tea made with tea leaves does taste fresher, significantly so.
So, once your tea cup is ready it's time to boil that kettle and stand by for some cuppa making action.
As soon as my kettle hits the boil (sometimes just before it switches itself off) I pick it up and pour the hot water straight onto the tea bag in my cup. I then grab the spoon and start to agitate that tea bag. My Nan always used to insist on leaving tea to "mash" before taking the bag out, but I find that just gives it a bit of a stale taste. Once I figure the colour is just right I then use the spoon to squeeze teh bag against the side of the cup and take it out.
Now it's time to add the milk. Not too much and not too little. You don't want your tea to be too milky, but at the same time you also don't want to not have enough in there. A good cuppa should have a good depth of colour to it. Not as dark and strong as builders tea, but not too delicate either.
And then it's time to sit back and enjoy your well deserved cuppa. A biscuit on the side is a must, unless it's the first cup of the day. That one just needs to be neat, simply to get the blood-tea levels back up to normal after a night's sleep.
So, how do you make your cuppa?