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|| As a keen mountain climber and hill walker i always carry with me my trusty thermos of tea with a seperate bottle of milk as otherwise the milk tastes like that manky UHT stuff one finds in hotels. Naturally i cary some small snack to keep my energy up, normally some shortbread or "digger biscuits" (family recipe, 'nuff said tho when it's basiclaly oats and golden syrup). However, recently i was tihnking of taking a trip further afield with som friends, notably the Andes in South America or parhaps the Alps depending on funds, when to my horror i learnt something that should put every tea drinker from ever going to anywhere of notable altitude. A physics frined of mine told me that according to kinetic theory as altitude increases, pressure decreases so the temperature needed to boil water decreases. This doesn't sound too bad, until you realise that at the top of the Alps water boils at 80 degrees Centigrade or at the top of Everest it is a lukewarm 60 degrees. So no tea to stave hypothermia off and, unfortunately, no trip. It does make you wonder how Edmund Hillary got to the top of Everest tho. In the meantime, Explorers BEWARE, tea at altitude is lacking in taste and heat.|
|Nicey replies: The highest I've made tea is about 1800M above sea level. It works well enough at that altitude providing one doesn't use the local tea bags.|
Reading Ms. Stoddart's posting on the tea-drinking habits of Damon Albarn set me to thinking. In the light of the recent survey promulgating the disturbing fact that this nation of ours now harbours more coffee drinkers than tea drinkers (I forget the percentages involved but the former are now much in the ascendant), I have come up with this idea. How about soliciting interviews with celebrities and influential figures such as politicians, writers, etc. who are known for their love of tea. I believe that people such as the aforementioned Mr. Albarn are very popular amongst our younger citizenry, being seen as "hep" and "cool" and "gear". The persuasive powers of such individuals could turn the tide against this distressing trend which, in my considered opinion, constitutes nothing less than a threat to the very fabric of our society. If the body politic is to be saved from a rising tide of coffee swilling, inducing a confusion of social identity and postmodern value relativism, then all tea lovers must act soon! May I suggest beginning with an interview with Mr. Tony Benn, who famously takes a thermos full of piping hot cha with him wherever he goes? I feel sure that our older, more serious Britons would rediscover the joys of tea drinking once exposed to the views and tea experiences of such sober persons.
I am not anti-coffee, by the way. I occasionally indulge in a mugful when I need stimulation during the night and have even been known to patronise such establishments as Starbucks. But a Britain without tea is unthinkable!
On the vexed subject of milk in combination with tea, if you employ the convenience-method of teabag-in-mug, then you simply must introduce the tea before the milk and let it brew to taste, being careful to remove the bag before pouring the milk. If you use the traditional pot-method, either with bags or leaves, then it avoids the necessity of stirring the cupful of golden-brown ambrosia if you introduce the milk first. The experienced tea quaffer will pour the correct quantity by instinct, and the volume of tea, thanks to gravity and the teleological effects of fluid-mechanics, will automatically mix when it hits the small reservoir of milk.
Yours thirstily, Jim Lawrence, Southampton.
||Esteemed Mr Nicey,|
The debate continues, I see. Milk first or milk added afterwards? Oh dear me, I shall have to extend my worldwide campaign to teach the masses not to ruin a good cup of tea by adding milk before or after.
Fine tea is like fine wine. We don't add milk to wine, so why ruin a full bodied Ceylon, a potent Scottish Breakfast, a subtle Assam, a heavenly Darjeeling, by polluting it with an unrelated substance such as milk?
Cows don't wander round the tea plantations of Sri Lanka or northern India, do they? Well then.
OK, if it's a Tetley teabag, you need something to make it drinkable, but not, please not, with fine teas!
Ever you 'umble
Just thought I would put a stop to all this 'hooha' about whether the milk goes in first or last.
It has nothing to do with solidifying milk proteins, or many of the other theories abounding on the subject, but is down to pure and simple 'snobbery'! and the 'upstairs/downstairs' culture.
Quite simply them 'upstairs' drank their tea from bone-china or porcelain cups, these could withstand heat, thus the hot tea could be poured directly into the cups and milk or lemon [another reason not to add the milk first come to think of it] was added.
However, them 'downstairs' only had 'pot' mugs and cups to drink from, these could not withstand the hot tea being poured directly into them, [cos the would break] thus the milk was added first to lower the temperature of the tea. [also them downstairs rarely drank their tea with lemon]
Thus posh people take tea with milk added, and plebs with milk first.
There is the added argument that adding the milk last makes it easier to control the level of milkiness of the tea. Nothing worse than meek and whilky tea.
|Nicey replies: Hmmm I'm not sure about all that broken crockery.
||At last, the rules for tea brewing can be read for everyone to learn from. Do you agree with them?|
|Nicey replies: Yes I was almost on Sky News yesterday talking about it but the piece got pulled at the last minute due some real news occurring. Still its not everyday that one has a live broadcast Satellite Uplink truck parked outside your house. Hoorah!
Anyhow the whole story is largely absurd and comes down to the denaturation of proteins that we discussed here over the weekend with Michael Barkers message. I favour milk in first if taking tea from a pot and I'm familiar with all the pieces of equipment involved. Otherwise it is a risky strategy, that can result in too much milk, so if you are unsure of quantities, milk in last. The tea will probably cooled enough to make this work OK.
However, given that most tea drunk in the work place is made in mugs, then milk in last is really the only sensible option, so a good thick mug can be an assert here as it brings the tea temperature down quickly. You can accuse me of being uncultured but I think that you can make some really good tea in a mug. Milk in with the tea bag is horrid, but some people like it like that.
I would say that the boiling water bit is more important, Orwell is at pains to point this out.
Finally the best way to make tea, is to make it how you like it! Simple really.