You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘British tea’ tag.

 

57229d7cca570eb0c3a80a49d82cea77

Did you know that all the different tea times in Britain have a specific name? Pretty neat. Afternoon tea and high tea are sometimes used interchangeably but if you really know your British tea habits, you will know they are nowhere near the same. Afternoon Tea is more for the non-working class or those who have plenty of afternoon time while high tea is for the working class. (aka: most of us busy people)

Afternoon Tea

If you’re like me, you’re snacking between lunch and dinner because it feels like such a long gap of no food. This is exactly what afternoon tea was designed for. Afternoon tea emerged in the early 19th century. This tradition is carried out at 4 pm and everyone sits down with their cuppa & nibble on some sandwiches and scones. Back then, they often ate diner very late back because afternoon tea fulfilled their hungry tummy’s. Then they usually serve dinner as late as 8pm. (I’d be starving)

In today’s day, they simply use afternoon tea as a refreshment, not a decadent meal. Not many have the time to sit down and enjoy many scones & cakes at 4pm. They are working and getting along with life. Ever wanted to try out this tradition? Check out some of the famous tea rooms in Britain.

High Tea

As we said above, many are working during afternoon tea so they have to wait til after work to enjoy their cuppa. Since they are enjoying after work, they are usually very hungry so the meal that comes with the tea is little more hearty. Some may even refer to this as supper because it is basically a full meal.

 

-Alexis

 

Advertisements
A very British tea store! (ETS image)

A very British tea store! (ETS image)

There are a few countries whose citizens drink more tea than the British but none of them roll right off the tip of the tongue. If you’re like me, when you think of great tea-drinking peoples throughout history you probably think of the British. Which is why the recent flap over tennis and tea there probably should come as no surprise.

It all has to do with Wimbledon – you’ve probably heard of it. Apparently it’s something of a tradition, at this oldest of the world’s tennis tournaments, to bring your own eats. Given that the attendees are mostly British their drink of choice often turns out to be tea. If you buy a cup of it on the grounds it can be kind of expensive, at about $3.60 in US dollars. The obvious solution, at least until lately, has been to bring your own tea.

Nowadays though, a ban on vacuum flask containers (of the Thermos type) that apparently went into effect last year, is starting to be enforced and tea lovers at Wimbledon are quite out of sorts to find their containers of tea being confiscated.

As one article in the British press noted, “coolboxes and camping chairs are also banned, but bottles of wine and spirits are permitted.” The problem with such containers and the reason for the ban is the possibility that they can be used in improvised explosive devices. Some of the other banned items on the list are a little more obvious, according to an article from an Australian paper that covered the issue. They include “knives, illegal substances, political slogans, ambush marketing, tents, camping chairs, flares, klaxons and long lenses.”

Not surprisingly, there are still options for taking afternoon tea at Wimbledon (they are British, after all), as you can see at this page at the tournament web site (scroll down). It claims that afternoon tea, which was supposedly invented just about 40 years before the inception of Wimbledon, was served at the very first incarnation of the tournament, in 1877.

Thirty years later, in 1907, a certain Mrs. Hillyard was playing in the event. During a rain delay she apparently overindulged a bit at afternoon tea. Then, when the tournament commenced again, she proceeded to lose and was rather distraught over it all – the implication being that the rain delay and overindulgence at tea negatively affected her tennis game.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

(Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

(Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

The British are known for their love of tea and that attitude that tea is the cure for all of life’s mishaps. Break a nail (after just having a very expensive manicure and special nail polish applied)? Have a cup of tea. Your spouse ran off with the clerk from the grocery store? Have a cup of tea. That notice from the IRS that you are being audited back to the beginning of time arrived in the mail today? Have a cup of tea. Whatever the occasion, be sure to have the tea “British style” – black tea steeped strong with milk and sugar.

The black tea is usually one of the name brand blends. PG Tips has claimed a top spot for many years. Their tea blending pros focus on making sure that famous flavor is consistent cuppa after cuppa. Some other top brands are Twinings who have been around for 300 years and counting, Typhoo that started out as a stomach soothing tea, and these others: Fortnum & Mason, Harrisons & Crosfield, Barry’s Tea, Bewley’s Tea, and Taylors of Harrogate/Yorkshire. They are intended to be steeped up strong. And have milk and sugar added to them.

But what about other black teas?

Over the years, I’ve had other teas that are generally not ones you would serve British style and had rather surprising (and good!) taste results. Here they are:

  1. Earl Grey – Often tea aficionados think that the oil of bergamot in the tea, since bergamot is a citrus fruit, means you can’t have milk in it; I beg to differ, no curdling and a great flavor blend, especially with a bit of sweetener (I switched from using sugar years ago).
  2. Golden Bi Luo – A black tea from the Yunnan Province of China. This may seem like total lunacy to those of you who treasure this fine tea, but I just had enough left for this experiment recently and decided to go for it. The typical smokiness and vanilla notes still came through.
  3. Nilgiri Oolong – Oolongs vary in how much the leaves are oxidized after withering. This one was pretty highly oxidized and was almost a black tea. So, adding milk and sweetener was not too surprising. Even though this is a true black tea, it is not usually served British style. But I dared. The milk and sweetener brought out the malty character even more.
  4. Dooteriah Second Flush Darjeeling – A marvelous tea any way you serve it, but when served British style it was a true revelation. A bit smoky, rich, aromatic, uplifting, and soothing. The only bad thing here was when it was all gone. I had to rush to steep some more!
  5. Red Dragon Pearls – The “pearls” are tea leaves rolled into spheres about 3/8” in diameter that have an aroma like raisins. Only the tender tip leaves are used, making this a rather prized tea.
  6. Young Pu-erh – Some folks, when reading my article a few years ago about putting milk and sweetener in this tea, seemed totally shocked. A pu-erh! Served British style! Ugh! But it was worth it, the flavor becoming even smoother and full-bodied while the typical earthy character still came through. There were cocoa notes very evident, too. Just remember to steep it for the maximum time recommended: 10 minutes.
(Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

(Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

One key step is to steep in a teapot, not in a gaiwan or small vessel, and treat it pretty much as a regular black tea. Another key step is to be very conservative in how much milk and sweetener you use – enough to smooth and add a touch of sweetness, but not so much that the tea’s signature flavors are smothered.

Do your own tea experiments and see what teas will stand up to being served British style!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

There are lots of ways to enjoy tea. None seems more emblematic, though, that the “full British” tea time. But how do you achieve that? Here are some ways.

Use British-style Teawares

British-style teawares are, by definition, anything that fits that tradition of the uniquely British tea time, whether it’s tea with a “full English” breakfast, Cream Tea, Afternoon Tea, or High Tea (often confused with Afternoon Tea but actually served later and usually including a meat dish). This usually means a sturdy teapot for steeping (the Brown Betty is a prime example — somehow it still says “British Tea Time” when you use it, and it makes great tea and keeps that tea nice and warm for longer than other teapots), nice cups and saucers for properly enjoying a cuppa or two, milk jug and sugar bowl, and a tiered plate loaded with goodies.

The tiered tray, loaded with goodies, is a hallmark of a true British tea time! (ETS image)

The tiered tray, loaded with goodies, is a hallmark of a true British tea time! (ETS image)

Steep a British Fave Tea

Certain brands of tea are to the British like some brands are to us Americans. The top sellers there are:

  • PG Tips — As of the year 2000, the #1 tea brand in the UK, 35 million cups drunk daily. More info.
  • Twinings — A legacy of nearly 300 years and sales of nearly 200 types of teas in more than 100 countries worldwide. More info.
  • Typhoo — Established in 1903 and noted for their numerous brands of tea sold in many countries. More info.

Also popular there are these tea brands: Fortnum & Mason, Harrisons & Crosfield, Barry’s Tea, Bewley’s Tea, Taylors of Harrogate, D.J. Miles, Glengettie, Lifeboat, Dr. Stuart’s Teas, Hu-Kwa Tea, Heath & Heather, and Brook Bond.

Lots of choice, and each guaranteed to help you go “full British” at tea time.

Serve Some Traditional British Foods

The British are not known for their culinary abilities. On the contrary, they are often the butt of jokes in that department (as seen on the highly popular U.S. series Frasier). Add to that the very odd names some of their traditional foods have and you can see why there is a Chinese restaurant in virtually every town in the U.S. but not a British one. Here are some top dishes there, any of which will give your tea time that “full British” air:

  • Fish and Chips — Fish such as cod and haddock coated with a flour batter and deep fried, then served with “chips” (what we call “French fries”) and malt vinegar.
  • Bangers and Mash — Mashed potatoes and sausages (called “bangers” because during wartime rationing they contained so much water they often exploded when fried).
  • Yorkshire Pudding — Served as part of the main course or as a starter. Made from flour, eggs, and milk, baked in the oven, and usually moistened with gravy.
  • Toad-in-the-Hole — Basically a Yorkshire Pudding with sausages put in the batter before cooking.
  • Bubble and Squeak  — Vegetables left over from the Sunday roast that are chopped, along with any cold meat left over, and fried in a pan with mashed potatoes until brown on the sides and cooked thoroughly.
  • Shepherds’ Pie — Minced lamb and vegetables topped with mashed potatoes. You can take a shortcut making it with this mix.
  • Steak and Kidney pie — Chopped beef, kidneys, onions, mushrooms and beef stock with a pastry crust that is baked until crisp and brown.
  • Cornish pasties — An baked pastry case filled with diced meat, potato, onion and suet.
  • Cheeses — Cheddar, Stilton, Red Leicester, Cheshire, Double Gloucester, Caerphilly, Derby, Lancashire, and Wensleydale.
  • Clotted Cream — Thick creams are absolutely delicious, a cross between ice cream and butter. Store unopened in a cool place without refrigeration for months. Once opened, they should be consumed within 3 days.
  • Scones — A heavy pastry that gets baked and then topped with clotted cream, jam, butter, or other options.
  • English Crumpets — Tasty “muffins” that are toasted and spread with butter and preserves.
  • Spotted Dick — A sponge pudding “spotted” with sultanas and raisins.
  • Trifle — Layers of sponge cake alternating with custard, jam or fruit, and whipped cream.
  • Mince Pies — Little pies filled with mincemeat or often a raisin mixture, and sometimes brandy or rum. Buy a jar of mix to make your own.
  • Treacle pudding — A steamed pudding with a syrup topping.
  • Custards — A rich milky sauce perfect for many puddings and desserts. It is also an essential part of any trifle.

No matter where you are in the world you will be going “full British” at tea time with these.

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Lots of your fave British tea brands are waiting for you! (ETS image)

Lots of your fave British tea brands are waiting for you! (ETS image)

No matter where you were born and raised, you could find your tea times taking on an increasingly British air. How do you tell if this is happening? Here are 5 signs that you’re “going British” at tea time:

1 Heightened Anticipation

You start to feel a heightened sense of anticipation as tea time draws near. It begins with a dryness in your mouth and throat and progresses to watching the clock at narrower and narrower intervals (every 10 minutes, every 8 minutes, every 5 minutes, etc.). And no matter what you’re doing when tea time comes, you stop. After all, what’s more important than tea?

2 Tea Preference Changes

Where you used to grab a bottled tea from the frig or settled for a quick cuppa made from the nearest low-grade teabag, now you settle for nothing less than a top British tea brand: Twinings, PG Tips, Typhoo, Fortnum & Mason, Harrisons & Crosfield, Barry’s Tea (Irish), Bewley’s Tea (Irish), Taylors of Harrogate, Lifeboat, Brooke Bond, etc.

3 Your Methodology Realigns

Your tea time meant steeping a quick cuppa by dunking that low-grade teabag in a mug of barely warm water. Now, everything halts while you heat water to a proper boil in a kettle, prepare the teapot by warming it with some hot water swished around and then poured out and then adding that British brand tea you are now preferring and letting it steep a full five minutes. And no mugs. You now find that only a fine china teacup with matching saucer will do.

4 Treats Are Now a Must

And not just any treats. No donuts here. No PB&J’s. No American-style biscuits or cookies or the new and improved Twinkie. It’s finger sandwiches, shortbread, crumpets, scones, clotted cream, fruit preserves, tarts, even sponge cakes.

5 You Tend to Have Tea in Groups

Rather than drinking that tea by yourself, you now see tea time as a more social occasion, one where you stop what you’re doing, take time not only to prepare the tea but sit down with other tea lovers and enjoy sipping, nibbling, chatting, laughing, relaxing, and unwinding from whatever tensions you’re experiencing. This is a key part of a true British tea time.

So how did you measure up?

Has your tea time “gone British”? If it has, good for you! If it hasn’t, what are you waiting for? Stop what you’re doing, go get some British brand tea, don’t forget the treats, and meet up with some friends and co-workers for a bit of cup lifting. Slurp!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

In tea, there is often a proper order to things (like the Byrds song “Turn Turn Turn”). Grow the tea, then harvest it. Process the tea, then package it. Stock the tea, then sell it. Buy the tea, then enjoy it. The enjoyment can also have a certain order. Heat the water, then steep the tea. Pour the tea, then drink the tea. This may seem obvious, but this tea drinker is sad to say she has seen some people try to do at least one of these steps before its logical predecessor. I’ll leave it to your imagination as to which ones and what order.

CAUTION: I’m going to talk about something that many of you tea drinkers might consider totally repulsive — milk in tea! Many tea drinkers in the U.S. and other parts of the world find this totally abhorrent. Read on if you dare. Ha ha ha ha ha! (evil laugh)

Anyone who drinks tea British style, that is, with milk in it, knows that milk goes in the cup first. This is a hard and fast rule. Break it and the tea police will show up at your door. (No, not really!) It’s more of a tradition. However, there are a couple of really really really important reasons for this order, just as there are some really important rules for how to handle plutonium (hint: juggling is not allowed).

Pour the milk in first to:

  • Protect your teacup from the possibility of cracking when it’s hit by the hot tea, especially if the teacup is made from fine bone china or is one of the more delicate glass ones.
  • Assure that the milk mixes better with the tea, as some tea drinkers claim and my personal experience has shown.

Of course, Britain isn’t the only country where milk is an essential part of tea enjoyment. India is another. However, there the milk is used to steep the tea, not just smooth it in the cup. Actually, they steep their tea in a mix of water and milk, in ratios ranging from 1 part milk and 3 parts water to 3 parts milk and 2 parts water. The kind of milk varies, too. While we in the U.S. drink cow’s milk almost exclusively, in India and other countries they drink milk from goats, etc.

In Taiwan and other Asian countries, a cold tea with milk and tapioca balls is a favorite. It’s called “Bubble Tea” (and several other names). The tea is steeped first, chilled, and then poured into a glass where milk, flavoring, and those all important chewy tapioca balls are added in.

So, I guess milk doesn’t always come first. Dang! There goes my whole sense of some kind of order in the universe. My world has just been thrown into chaos and disarray (sort of like my hair after a night of tossing and turning). Better have some tea. Thank goodness there’s some breakfast blend left in the teapot. Hubby, pour me a cuppa — milk first, please!

When you visit A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill, the homepage comes first.

Advertisements

Categories

Explore our content:

Find us on these sites:


Follow Us!     Like Us!     Follow Us!     Follow Us!     Plus 1 Us!
Follow Tea Blog on WordPress.com

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Tweet This!    add to del.icio.us    add to furl    digg this    stumble it!    add to simpy    seed the vine    add to reddit     post to facebook    technorati faves

Copyright Notice:

© Online Stores, LLC, and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, LLC., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Blog Affiliates

blogged
Bloglisting.net - The internets fastest growing blog directory

Networked Blogs

%d bloggers like this: