Walking along Camden Road on the wrong side of midnight, I found myself in the midst of a battleground. Stopping in disbelief, I thought Ashton Kutcher was about to leap from the bushes at any moment screaming ‘PUNK’D!’. Because it wasn’t your average battleground, the only signs of war being the lashings of splattered and battered tea bags that littered the pavement. Yes. Someone had waged war upon the world by means of violently lobbing soaking teabags onto the street. It had been days since I’d posted any new posts on here, and so I took this odd moment as a sign that my services were again needed in the tea world.
This image of teabag warfare lingered in my ever-ticking mind and I started to think about the conflict it can bring into one’s life. 9 times out of 10, when I present a cuppa to a friend or family member, its arrival is greeted with a warm smile and a sigh of approval. However to behold, my tea making methods are more controversial than a Sacha Baron Cohen film. “You can’t put the milk in first!”, “No, warm the cup and then add the teabag”, “That’s just wrong, wrong, wrong!!”. Never mind ‘make tea not war’, ‘more like make tea make war’! I’ve preached the unifying qualities of tea, but have neglected the darker depths of the leafy drink, the never-ending conflict that shrouds it: what’s the best way to make a cup of tea?
Image from http://www.britishfood.about.com
Everyone does it differently. Tea bag first, then water then milk? In my view, cold milk on top of hot water is a recipe for disaster. What about water then teabag then milk? No: to me, the action of pouring the steaming liquid over the teabag is the most important moment of infusion. Milk, teabag, water. Simple. But is it really so consequential? Is the flavour in my mugful of tea really going to be blighted if I put the milk in first? Somehow, despite my high esteem for tea, I doubt its ability to do anything other than slowly blend into the classic mixture we’ve come to affectionately know as the ‘cuppa’.
The truth is, I find it ridiculous when anyone queries the order in which I add the three components. Because, unlike other things in life, tea truly is what you make it. Telling me how I should make my tea would be like telling me where I should go on holiday, what I should eat, wear and read, what I should believe. The luxury of choice defines us… So make your own choice and stick by it, pursue your individuality!
How do YOU make your tea? Leave a comment below!