"... plucked with golden tweezers ..."
The tweezers should be made of wood, from the root of an old tea bush. This reduces the stress on the young leaf when it is plucked. You really can taste the difference.
We're one step closer today to deciding the ultimate cuppa with the announcement of the 12 contenders which will go mug-to-mug in the pursuit of tea perfection. Our crack team of shopping experts has braved multiple supermarkets in search of your nominations, and we're set to turn the matter over to our panel of tasting …
This was the premise of the clippers, such as the Cutty Sark, fresh, fast delivered tea was better. As it turns out, no there's no depreciation in quality so all that effort was merely misguided marketing.
Tea leaf taste does vary, so each tea manufacturer employs tasters and blenders that get samples of the tea from the ships, blend it all in clever ways until they get the mix that matches the taste of Tetleys, PG (insert brand here). Then that mix is sent back to the production line, and the leaves are mixed on a huge scale.
I'm not a great fan of desktop backgrounds and much prefer a solid colour. However, for the near future my desktop will be adorned by an image of ten boxes and two packets of tea.
Will there be some sort of award so that the producer can slap it on there packaging, El Reg Best in Class or El Reg Recommended, that sort of thing.
I have this recollection of accidentally watching some really naff 7pm BBC1 "consumer" telly show back in 1997 presented by *shudders* Vanessa Feltz, in which they rolled out some elderly cockneys to do a tea taste test just like this - the overriding winner - Tesco Value Tea Bags!!!??!!!
I am of coursed scared for life by watching Mrs Feltz in full slurping action but that aside, it has given me the idea that maybe El-Reg should launch it's very own LOHAN consumer lifestyle YouTube channel showing similarly naff shows, minus gobby blond lady?!
Think 'You and Yours' but with no over simplifications of internet technologies and instead, actual pictures and puns!
I can just see it now, the gleaming Vulture rosette heartily slapped on to a prize-winning, steaming, well used and totally spent, soggy bag!....
.....but enough about Mrs Feltz!
Now you've gone and done it! You've woken up the Hobnob Taleban! The most vicious combatants in the biscuit world...
I'm not sure I even dare to say that I find Hobnobs to be mediocre. If I had to dunk in tea, it would be a ginger or chocolate coated digestive, but I tend to find the biccie spoils the tea.
My actual favourite biscuit is the Jaffa cake - and that's not even a biscuit. So what do I know?
I know what you mean. My wife dips all sorts of things in tea, muffins, bread... and it makes me cringe.
However give the rich tea sandwich a go and next thing you know you'll be seeing how many you can stack up and still get them in your mouth all at once. You might need a really big mug but then all tea drinkers should already have one, my preference is a pint jar.
How on earth are you going to make the ultimate cuppa with hard water ???
You need to come here, to gods own county to brew something really worth drinking. All that messing about with different teabags is OK but you have to start with freshly drawn Yorkshire water if you want to produce anything decent from any of them.
"You need to come here, to gods own county to brew something really worth drinking. All that messing about with different teabags is OK but you have to start with freshly drawn Yorkshire water if you want to produce anything decent from any of them."
Oh, right: We shouldn't bother drinking tea with what we've got, then. Best I tell the entire county not to brew up ever again!
I have it on very good authority (insider info) that the variations of twinnings "black" tea is really just marketing. Everyday, english breakfast etc are all the same, just in a different box.
I was tortured on whether to post this or not (probably the same level of mental angst Darwin suffered before his publication of that much disputed book about stuff) as it would have been a nice "control".
Unfortunately my smug-know-it-all alter ego got the better of me.
This is worst then that blooming horse-meat scandal if you ask me! I think the media needs to investigate at once! I'm looking forward to seeing gormless BBC News reporters spending two months of their lives standing aimlessly outside the Twinings factory with nothing to say but the bloody obvious until it's all forgotten about!
...that we may not have considered is the state of the imbiber at the time of consumption. I don't know whether this applies across the board but I've found evidence that the following conditions can greatly enhance a cuppa:
- returning home after being drenched in the rain
- coming back from a heavy night on the sauce
- drinking one after having missed your early morning cuppa
- sharing one in the company of a stuffed monkey (unconfirmed)
Weeps ... Punjana and Nambarrie are good. I've not seen Nambarrie for 23 years though. Barrys is barely tea.
Well that leaves Yorkshire Tea, Tetleys, PG tips and Twinings Breakfast.
Milk is OK on the Cornflakes and muesli, but spoils tea. All those Chinese can't be wrong surely?
Whilst I am an Assam man through and through, I did recently as an experiment purchase 80 of Morrisons value tea bags, boxed and packed for the princely sum of 27 pence.
Yes - it could vaguely pass for tea in that it has a colour akin to what tea should look like, albeit as long as you use two bags at a time... however, in terms of taste, I suspect that my dishwasher drains out a finer tasting brew.
What are the standard conditions, because if you're lauching up a mountain in Spain, all the tea will taste awful. I recommned the following. Making, tasting etc. at sea level, then filling insulated flasks and see which tastes best after being carried around for several hours.
Preferably the flasks shall be glass inside to prevent the contamination of flavour by plastics.
Of the mainstream varieties it's gotta be Yorkshire tea for me; the hard water variety around here.
Black tea, in teabag form, needs milk really unless you have hardcore taste[buds]. In teabags, the tea is ground to small particles to maximise surface area and speed up the brewing process but this will tend to cause a stronger more bitter brew. Milk softens that bitterness.
Purchase a loose leaf black tea that hasn't been ground in any way and the result is usually much more palatable without milk.
In four or so years in Spain I never once ran out of Yorkshire tea. The real problem was finding fresh milk, when most of the supermarkets would have more varieties of UHT than bottles of the real stuff. And that was in a fairly posh bit of Catalunya. So $deity knows what it's like round Lester's neck of the woods.
(Ho yus, in a WARMED TEAPOT for dog's sake. And milk in the mug first).
Your standard methodology will skew the results. I believe many aficionados of China tea prefer the second infusion. Also, it effectively eliminates some very fine teas that are better drunk without milk. For example:
By way of contrast, the worst tea I ever tasted was during a holiday job as a tram conductor in Blackpool. Every member of the crew brought an enamel brew can containing pre-mixed leaf tea and sugar. After adding boiling water they'd swing the can round a bit, then add condensed milk. The result was brick-red and so sweet that you could feel your teeth getting looser as you drank it.
I think someone a while back determined that 2 minutes was the optimum brewing time, then the teabag should be removed to prevent stewing. Which sounds about right. The amount of stirring was not specified though. Personally I'm a stirrer. (a) I'm impatient and (b) this produces a nice strong flavoursome cup but without the "stewed tannin" factor.
I don't think you'll get much in the way of convection unless you're heating it from underneath. Vigorous stir when the water is added, then leave to its own devices for 5 minutes. (I am, of course, referring to leaf tea in a pot - bag in a mug needs different treatment, but is hardly likely to qualify for best cuppa.)
There has been serious scientific research into the important question of milk in tea. Boffins at Sheffield University have studied how tea polyphenols react with beta-casein in milk to affect the atringency of tea due to the reduced opportunity for interaction of the tea polyphenols with chemically similar salivary proline-rich proteins.
Obviously the proportion of tannins in the blend of tea itself and the amount extracted by the infusion process will determine the personal preference for milk or not.
As for biscuits, anyone else tried Moores Dorset Knobs dunked in tea? (http://www.moores-biscuits.co.uk/dorset-knobs.html).
I chuckle over the strange enthusiasm over ONE species of plant used for tea.
My own tea cabinet is full of tea leaf tea, catnip leaves, several mint species, saffron, black and green leaf tea (with jasmine and other flowers), chamomile, ginger and even artichoke teas.
I even have a stockpile of Twinings Earl Grey tea that is pre-2009 debacle of teas.
I also drink nearly a gallon of coffee per day.
After all, I am a US citizen. ;)
I tried and enjoy this brand. It has all the right words on the packet and tastes good too.
Milk always has to go in first. Also always use a teapot, obviously. Dunkers should be hung or exiled or both.
Semi-skimmed milk of course. No sugar unless you're an idiot, foreign or both.
I'm currently contracting in Dublin and have to say that the Irish do on the whole know how to make a reasonable brew.
if you are going to ruin tea, use whole milk it is much nicer!
we have 2% out here and boy does it make the tea taste bad, since the rest of the colonials I live with have that strange problem with whole milk, I only get it at work..
but then again I might need my kettle too since the hot water machine dispenses water at a sub par 'hot' which I believe is about 150f (law suits etc) I can certainly hold my hand under it.
we do have reverse osmosis filters though, but only coz the tap water is so bloody horrible you need it.
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