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I'm giving serious consideration to adopting a milkless policy in my tea and sit down activities. Until now I've always enjoyed milk (semi-skimmed) in a nice cup of Assam tea. I am partial to both Earl Grey and Lady Grey and, in my past, drank quite a lot of Japanese Green Tea. I'm not yet sure about Darjeeling but will persevere on this front We have a canteen facility at work that offers a range of nice teas and lovely biscuits and, indeed, sit downs, however I feel that if I am ever to taste Camomile Tea I will have to ask a lady colleague to order it for me.
I wonder whether you could suggest any nice teas that can be enjoyed without milk.
|Nicey replies: Tim,
You could suck tepid water through grass cuttings and save yourself the trouble of drinking Camomile tea. As for which is best without milk not sure as we drink conventional teas that don't really lend themselves to that. Site regular Brian Barratt has written to us many times to extoll the virtues of milkless tea. Try typing 'Barratt' into our search box and reading the messages with tea cup icons.
||Is squashing a tea bag with a spoon proper protocol?|
I mention this because this is what I used to do, until my aunty's fella said to me with horror "Don't". He proceeded to say that it should be stirred. I've been doing this since. Which way is right?
|Nicey replies: Well modern teaching tells us that after long brewing times the higher molecular weight tannins which are released due to tea leaves structure becoming more porous lead to the stewed taste. The mechanical action of the spoon on tea bag has a similar effect, therefore leading to a stewed taste.
Of course this is exactly what some people are seeking and others avoiding.
||Is it actually possible to make a nice cup of tea with a tea bag?|
Not entirely, but pitifully few types of good quality tea bags have come to my attention during my life long quest for a decent bag. However, I do have a tip or two. Most tea bags exude an oily slick if left in the cup/mug/pot for more than 30 seconds and the taste is often very far removed from the cups of tea regularly consumed in my youth. Of course this was before the advent of the 'convenience' bag when better quality leaves were usually given better quality attention in most households and catering establishments.
Today, few can be bothered with the messy tea leaf method and most of us have succumbed to the sheer convenience and habit of the tea bag and it is now undoubtedly the tea makers preference.
All is not lost! Find a good quality tea bag producer (my favourite everyday one is Marks & Spencer Gold). Place one bag in a mug, pour on boiling water and vigorously and continuously bash with a teaspoon about 30-40 times (20-30 seconds max.). Remove the bag and dump it. Add milk if you want and hey presto, the best possible result for making tea from this miserable substitute for the real thing.
|Nicey replies: David,
Thanks for enlightening us all on how to make tea, I'm sure all the people who have been stuffing tea bags in their ears, snorting sugar and gluging down cold tap water are feeling fairly foolish about now.
Now this is going to sound like one of those Viz ideas or even something out of Take a Break magazine but anyway here is a very nearly revolutionary idea.
You see I only ever use milk in tea, I drink coffee black and dont have time for cereal in the mornings. Sometimes I dont even have time for tea (because I believe that 10mins extra in bed is approx equal to a cup of tea).
Because of this I was finding that I was throwing out alot of unused milk.
So I came up with the following idea - you know those freezer bags which you fill with water to make ice cubes? Guess what?! Yep fill 'em full of milk and hey presto! Milk Cubes!
I find that one cube is sufficient (I like my tea on the strong side) and that after infusing in a cup whilst I shower in the mornings one milk cube makes a perfect cup of tea which is just on the right side of hot / drinkable.
What do you think?!
|Nicey replies: I think it gets a cautious Rocket Science icon.
Kate Allen's scientific teabag timing methods could be well employed wherever there is a proliferation of tea bag types, leading to tannin barriers at different points.
We need a graph, probably not one of those lovely 3-D ones that Ex-hell gives you, but one that really helps the bewildered coffee drinker to understand the complex relationship between teabag type, agitation (of the bag, not the tea maker), size of mug, time of day etc.
Here, the other half asks "tea, dear?" to which the answer is inevitably "oh, twist my arm then", but the follow up is more and more complicated "bog standard, decaf, assam or darjeeling?" followed by "how long do I leave it in for?" A graph in the kitchen would do the trick nicely.
Hmm, suppose I'm asking for trouble by not making it myself.
|Nicey replies: Definitely a PhD in there, and possibly a whole new branch of mathematics.|