April 21 is National Tea Day here in the UK and we are celebrating with … you’ve guessed it… a nice cuppa! Many of us are really quite picky about how we like our tea so we thought we’d share our thoughts and tips on the nations’s favourite beverage.
Does the milk go in first or second in a cup of tea?
Historically milk was normally put in first because it stopped your precious bone china tea cups from cracking by reducing the heat a tad. However, if you were a bit more flash in those day and could afford swanky bone china with better glazing, then milk was added in after the tea as these didn’t crack. In those days it was all about social standing!
Having said that, Twinings mentions: ‘When adding milk, pour it into the cup before adding your tea. This allows the milk to cool the tea, rather than letting the tea heat the milk’.
Never judge a tea by its colour
You can instantly tell what sort of person you are by the colour of your tea. The UK generally prefers their tea to be a lovely golden shade of brown, but... don’t all shout at me… I'm a weak pale amber colour without milk kinda girl. My mate refers to it as 'Lighthouse Tea’ (eg blinkin’ near water). Builders may laugh at its insipidness… but each to their own!
Did you know that although tea colour comes quickly, flavour takes a bit longer to develop, so allow the correct steeping time of your tea speciality to extract that perfect flavour – black teas require 3-5 minutes steeping time, whereas light Oolongs and green teas require only about 2 minutes steeping time.
Getting into Hot Water
The BB team loves...
- All teas come from camellia sinensis, an evergreen plant native to Asia (but now grown all over the world).
- In the 1700s, tea replaced …er...gin as the nation's favourite beverage!
- Tea used to be uber expensive and really just a thing for those swanning upper class – in the 1700s the lady of the house would often carry a key to the a locked chest or 'tea caddy' round their necks to stop the servants from nicking it.
- There are around 3,000 different types of tea.
- Such was the value of tea that it was often cut with other additives, included twigs, sawdust and sheep dung… you name it!
- Earl Grey tea was named after the actual Earl Grey, British Prime Minister in the 1830s
- Tea is a diuretic that gives you that special need to pee… so try not to drink before a long journey!