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|Mrs E Mitchell
||Dear Mr Nicey,|
Your website is sound and has clearly brought you fame and perhaps even fortune when you were interviewed by Richard and Judy. However, I am rather disappointed by the diminutive tea section, your advocacy of making tea in a mug and not in a pot, and by the image accompanying this rather filthy propaganda, involving a maxpax plastic cup purchased at the train station, filled with an insipid infusion from a bag of dusty sweepings. You demonstrate such fine wisdom regarding biscuits that surely this is wrong? I feel strongly that for the 'nice cup of' experience to be truly optimal the ritual of pot-based tea-making must be explored.
Firstly, the pot:
Grannies swear by porcelain, The Worcester factory made a nice little number between 1750 and 1780 odd. Now worth a small fortune.As long as it's waterproof and has a spout it'll do the job
The tea itself:
Leaves good. Bags, bad. Teabags contain the dust and tiny bits left over from bagging the real stuff. GENUINE WARNING: Teabags may also contain monkey poo. As the leaves are left to dry in sunny exotic climes monkeys can sometimes be seen covorting and also pooing nearby. A certain level of macaque faeces is actually permissible in teabag contents - ever wondered about those strange islands of dust floating on the top of the mug?
Warming the pot:
The debate about the requirement, or not, for warming the pot with hot water before brewing has been raging for decades. I believe the tea stays warmer for longer and tastes better through the magic of chemistry: heat + stoneware + tea = prolonged tastiness.
Once you have wet the leaves the brewing time will dictate the tea style:
1 minute: namby pamby tea for girly types wearing lace and pearls
5 minutes: a good brew
10 minutes: a marvellous northern beverage - satisfying and envigorating
15 minutes: oh dear - overbrewed: bitter, like old boots and resembling last summer's spray tan debacle
There is a great deal more to say on this topic e.g.:
1) I believe Yorkshire tealeaves (Taylors or Harrogate) are by far the best and my old man agrees. The perfectly brewed pot of Yorkshire has a kind of sweetness, without sugar, that is a taste sensation. Typhoo is a distant second.
2) The fluid dynamics of the tea within the spout and the shape of the lip is key to the pouring action and the prevention of drips. Spout design is a complex science.
3) I could go on
Perhaps your site is primarily a biscuit forum and not about tea at all. Can you clarify?
Mrs E Mitchell
|Nicey replies: Dear Mrs E Mitchell,
We are sorry that you found our diminutive tea section a disappointment. Being broadminded people we often enjoy a cup of PG on the train regardless of how much monkey crap may or may not be in it. As for tea matters in general we have found, as your email admirably demonstrates, that the vast majority of people have already firmly made up their minds on most aspects of tea. However, once in while we are more than happy to pop up the odd submitted sermon on tea making, to let others know the strength of feeling on these matters.
||When I was just 18, and going out with my first real girlfriend I made her granfather (on her father's side) a cup of tea. I was very careful, not too weak, not too strong, a middling amount of milk, all in all a very middle of the road cuppa. On giving it to him he took one look at it and with the words "I can't drink that" poured it straight down the sink untasted. My offence, it transpired, was to use a mug and not a cup and saucer. As you can tell this has riled me since. Was he a kindly, if eccentric, old man; or was he (as I suspect), an evil old Tory bigot? Discuss.|
|Firstly, hello very much.|
Secondly, I was never really a big biscuit eater. My first memory of biscuits was from when I was 6. We had Abbey Crunches with our milk, at milk and biscuit time; [and these are probably my favourite biscuits.] When milk and biscuit time ceased to exist, however; my interest in biscuits dissappated. Apart from the occasional party ring, I ate none.
I'm quite a healthy eater now and until very recently, biscuits were out of the equation, and so after discovering your website, I became simply a biscuit enthusiast. Rather like a better on racehorses who doesn't actually like horses. Anyway, after time, I decided to eat one with my tea, it happened to be a HobNob. And I haven't looked back since, well, now actually. I have a biscuit with my tea whenever I feel like it now, and encourage those around me to do so also.
As for tea, I like; Lapsang Souchong, Green tea, peppermint [whilst not strictly a tea], and jasmine. Infusions: camomile and spiced apple, cranberry,rasberry & elderflower and lemon. I always add a smidge of honey to my tea-like beverages as it is simply exquisite.
To conclude; thank you very much for your delicious website.
|Nicey replies: That's good news. Now you just have to start drinking proper tea and everything will be tickty-boo.
||Dear Nicey and Wifey,|
For me, the only drinkable tea under *normal circumstances is Earl Grey. This strand of Beverage Special Needs (BSN) is annoying, as despite the UK being host to a significant minority core of die-hard Greys, all too often, the only tea available in cafes, restaurants, friends' homes etc., is still ordinary (common) tea - PG, Typhoo and the like.
This is not the subject of my missive, however. After extensive testing of Other Brands of Earl Grey, it is my view that none of them comes close to the excellence of taste and aroma that is Twinings, the original and best. Supermarket brands generally err on the side of oppressive over-perfuming with the bergamot oil, while Clipper Fair Trade Earl Grey, I am sorry to say, doesn't even taste like tea. Even if it does have a pretty picture of an earring on the box.
Has anyone found an Earl Grey that acts as a serious contender to Twinings?
Best regards, and many thanks for providing a forum for the things that really matter.
*i.e. any time other than when a crucial cup of tea is made by an unfamiliar third party following emotional trauma, fainting, sudden serious accident or military coup.
|Nicey replies: The long and short of it would seem to be that you need to carry round some Twinings Earl Grey teabags with you, as these appear to the ones you like and that your friends etc don't have. Hope that is helpful.
Oh obviously if you are going on a bit of a big trip you'll need more than usual.
Ginger Nut Review
Just thought I'd write and ask if you'd tried Tetley's Earl Grey with Vanilla. I only fraternise with the Earl occasionally myself and felt quite nervous about giving this a go but was pleasantly surprised. As usual with flavoured teas the vanilla smell is a lot stronger that the flavour and as I have milk in my Earl this is quite a relief. It also gives an extra something to the dipping biscuit of choice (for the earl has to be a plain digestive, keep it simple). Do let me know what you think, I havn't discovered any other flavours yet-do you know of any?
p.s. I also wanted to ask the biscuit eating world if there were any other ginger people (I am one of that variety myself) who felt that they were comitting a social taboo by opting for a ginger biscuit when offered. I have often noticed sidelong glances when I go for the ginger cake/biscuit as if I were doing something just a little bit brazen.
|Nicey replies: Hester,
We drink PG.
As for Ginger matters, Tom who edited our book and his wife are both of the Ginger persuasion and for their wedding cake had a huge ginger one with a Gingerbread groom and bride on top. Perhaps you should up the ante and carry around lumps of ginger, and those little jars of it to snack on.