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||Until now I've been a failure as a parent. Both our kids have avoided any tea or coffee intake, in fact the only hot drink they'll touch is hot chocolate. This is probably due to my tendency to consume huge mugs of industrial strength Assam, with very little milk and certainly no sugar. My own introduction to tea was by my grandfather who served me tiny little bone china cups full of very sweet milky glengettie, and let me drink it from the saucer or teaspoon if it was too hot. (I also shared the saucer with his collie dog, Bob, but that's another story).|
Anyway, while on holiday our youngest (7) took part in a tasting at the Auray branch of the LeClerc supermarket chain (lack of French is no obstacle to a lad who can talk for Wales and doesn't care if anyone's listening). He was much taken with the Lipton Ice Tea Peche
Thankfully we can get a version of this at home, so he's very happy. My questions are:
1. Does this count, in any way, as tea drinking in the 'real' sense?
2. How can I encourage it to evolve into a proper tea habit without resorting to too much sugar?
(Much more cheerful this week, thanks!)
|Nicey replies: Hello Sue,
Glad you have bucked up a bit this week.
I remember my first visit to a LeClerc (indeed the first French Supermarket I went too), must have been about 15 years ago now. Despite only being a small one it still sold cement mixers along with the more obvious groceries. For added rustic charm a small flock of sparrows were coming in through a gap in the roof and making off with some goods placed at the top of the shelves. I'm guessing it was somewhere near Montreuil just south of Boulogne.
Anyhow sorry to bring you down in your hour of triumph but French peach flavoured Iced tea fails on at least three counts. Still the fact that the boy is showing willingness to try other beverages is a good thing in general. We work on the principle here that certain selected items such as special forms of cake (one's that we made a bit of a fuss about baking) can only be consumed with tea. This works some of the time but is in no way fool proof.
||Hi Nicey and Wifey,|
I bought the book from Ottokars and keep randomly dipping into it for my amusement. I did not see the name of Gray Dunn with caramel wafers but my reading method might have skipped over it. I think they did a popular advertising campaign on TV at least ten years ago. Not that I like them any more than cardboard/Rivita. I endorse the assessment of the fig biscuits, they are some kind of perfection but they can go rock hard if not kept properly in a sealed biscuit tin. They don't normally last long enough to find that out.
It would be interesting to know what your readers use for biscuit tins. I have an old round one with a flower pattern on the lid but I also keep them in a modern sealable plastic container. I hear you screaming the word 'sacrilege'. I also have an old chromed biscuit barrel that I think goes back to my parents' wedding day in 1947. It has an inner container, like a little bucket, but does not hold a sufficient quantity of biscuits and it does not feel right to separate them into two places.
I hope that you don't mind but I have attached a photo of our workplace brewing area, exactly as it is every day, with its industrial teapot and messy fridge below. Mine is the KitKat mug. Note the rusty spoon and build-up of tannin in the teapot. The cleaning lady is under very strict instructions NEVER to clean the insides of the teapot. We always think it keeps the tea away from the metal and, anyway, it is probably bad luck if someone cleans it out. Out of the picture, there is a box of 100 Tetley teabags from the 'pound shop'.
The custard picture from your website is now my computer background picture. Yum!
Keep up the good work. I am enjoying the book.
|Nicey replies: Hello Jack,
That's a wonderful photo of tea making equipment, just the sort of thing I was after when I took the photos for the book. I like the brown tray underneath it all too and the reflections in the kettle. The teapot is glorious, I'm particularly impressed with the black wire handle over the spout to aid pouring. I'm also enjoying the old 10Base2 networking points behind the fridge.
Sadly we were informed a while back that Grey Dunn ceased trading in 2001 so I suppose I should really put an entry up or them in the missing in action section.
||If we're being pedantic, is the 'pyramid' really a tetrahedron either? I don't have one hand to study, but it they are cut from a tube wouldn't they be more like those boiled sweets that are cut from cylinders, with a 90 degree twist after each cut? You know the ones, when two of them haven't separated properly they look like little butterflies.|
There must be a proper name for this shape, but I'm b*****ed if I know.
(Very grumpy today, sorry)
|Nicey replies: Hello Grumpy Sue,
Yes tetrahedron is really the proper name for that shape, tetra means 4 and it has four vertices, four faces and four sides. Of course for the thing to come out as a perfectly proportioned tetrahedron with all the sides the same length the distance between the edges of the crimps needs to be pi * r * cos(60) where r is the radius of the tube. Those boiled sweets are a bit tending towards 65 degrees.
Now buck up its almost the weekend.
||You say in your reply to the query from Limerick that pyramid teabags are crimped at 90 degrees, but actually it is 60.|
|Nicey replies: No, 90, its a continuous tube alternately crimped at 90 degrees rather than all in the same plane as in a square teabag. The crimps are the divisions between the bags, the folds in the sides form at 60 degrees due purely to the crimping. If you look at any edge of a tetrahedron from a perpendicular direction its opposite edge will be at 90 degrees.|
just a little note to let you know that your website is "brewing" up a real storm at thompson scientific in limerick, Ireland. There are biscuits and tea debates kicking off left right and centre. I do appreciate how busy you are. but, there is one tea related query that "takes the biscuit" Are pyramidal shaped t-bags scienficially proven to provide a better quality and higher flavour tea. Thanks again for the hours of enjoyment you have provided us with.
your tea connoisseur pal,
|Nicey replies: The crimping of the bag at alternate 90 degrees produces a tetraheadral teabag. Compared to conventional square bags this lowers the surface to volume ratio of the bag towards the idealised spherical tea bag. What is immediately obvious is that this is good for the manufacturer as they can use less bag to tea thereby saving on materials. What is not at all obvious upon casual inspection is if this is a good thing for the tea brewing, although obviously we are told it is. To increase the diffusion of tea from leaf to water it could be assumed that a sphere is the most inefficient shape whilst an infinite plane folded or other wise would be the most efficient. This would seem to indicate that very flat square bags are good.
Of course this is a childish oversimplification as the diffusion is taking place within the space occupied by the teabag and not just at the volumetric boundary. So the ability of each tea leaf to circulate and there by potentially encountering higher diffusion gradients has to be considered. Much was made of this 'room to move' at the inception of the pyramid bag and so I suspect they probably did a lot of work in this area.
The upside of lower material uses are the potential to use higher spec bag paper as was recently introduced with the pyramid bag.