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||I thought you may be interested to learn that the vending machine in the physics department of imperial college (a place at the very forefront of scientific invention) has a vending machine of the 'clix' brand which in addition to the regular vending machine issues you have highlighted also revels in giving you the 60p you get back from a pound in exchange for your steaming liquid entirely in 1p pieces.|
In continental tea issues my girlfriend is currently living in Germany where they seem to have pioneered a kind of halfway house between loose leaf and the tea bag. I'm not sure if you are aware of this development but essentially it is a very long teabag which is open at one end, the theory is you put your loose leaf into the bag and then put it into your mug. The teabag is just long enough that it stands in your mug without the contents spilling over into the tea when you add water. I think they're rather clever.
Yours Peter Burgess
|Nicey replies: No I'd not heard of those DIY teabags, they sound like they could be well received by 'ALL tea bags are filled with sweepings' brigade. One such lady last Tuesday tried to tell me that those little metal ball things on chains were marvelous, that I should go to India to see how tea is really made before having an opinion on it, and that as she was a wine writer she knew a thing or two about things and I was best advised not to argue with her. I told her that we drink PG and this seemed to annoy her sufficiently.|
|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.
Bit of excitement in the air today as tonight I am going to my first ever football match. More of a rugby man myself but a free ticket is a free ticket at the end of the day. So i'll be watching the might of Bristol City v Walsall. It led me to thinking about sports venues and their tea facilities. I've been to a number of sporting grounds in my life, mainly rugby and cricket and the tea vending facilities vary greatly. They range from a standard cafe style room/building to third party tea vans to an old biddy with an urn.
I think a census is in order. I'd love to know the facilities and standard of tea in sports grounds around the country and discover trends and pattern in region, sports types, size of venue etc. I'd be quite happy to collate any info gathered and draw conclusions.
|Nicey replies: Jim,
I have only been to one football match in my life (Swansea vs Wrexham, 1981), it was one of the dullest things I've ever had to endure, and I'm lumping in a whole lifetimes worth of waiting room experiences in with that. It was way more interesting watching the crowd. There was one leather faced old boy who most have been well into his eighties who could shout (what it was he shouted I couldn't make out) at a volume matching that of an express train passing by. He only did this on three seemingly random occasions, taking about twenty minutes to recover in between. Everybody completely ignored him despite his amazingly loud outbursts. If I recall the catering consisted of tea in polystyrene cups and hotdogs, I had neither. I can still remember the sense of jubilation that came at the end of the match when I was able to leave.
Anyhow good luck it all, I'm sure it needs doing I expect.
Abricot Barquettes Review
Great to see one of my childhood favourites being reviewed on your site. I have many a fond memory of the 'boat biscuits from France'. Please note however that it's best to eat all the sponge first, saving the jam/centre for that special last bite. I prefer the strawberry ones to apricot, and you can also get chocolate ones now, taste like nutella, yummy.
Tim Tam vs Penguin Review
|Hello there Nicey|
I have recently moved from England to Thailand for a 6 month work placement, and I have to say that the wonderful contents of your site keep me dreaming of hours of tea and biscuitty/cake based fun when I return to Blighty. I miss certain biscuits, the Bourbon, the Custard Creme, the Ginger Nut, but especially the classic Penguin. It was whilst perusing through your the archived tomes of your website however that I came across an exciting alternative, the eccentrically named 'Tim Tam'.
So having swotted up the great Tim Tam versus Penguin debate, and being a self-admitted Penguin fan, I was of course eager to try and compare the Tim Tams, so on my next visit to the local shop purchased a few packs. I was pleasantly surprised by the Tim Tam. Initially there is something about the little biscuit that looks a touch dodgy, it's snubbed size and curiously dark choclolate coating expire a sense of foreboding, but on taste you realise that in fact Penguins merely scratch the surface of the true iceberg that is Chocolate Coated Biscuitdom. Penguins just seem bland in comparison with a Tim Tam. Tim Tams come in many different deeply tasty varieties, in my opinion the best are Choco-Chocolate and Choc-Vanilla, but even an Original Tim Tam will more than adequately complete your cup of tea and biscuit combo, and leave you with a smile on your face. And maybe a touch of melted chocolate at the corner of your mouth.
After a few much enjoyed tasting sessions, I bravely decided, as suggested on this very website and on the bold, brown packaging of the Tim Tams themselves, to try the famous 'Tim Tam Slam'. So I bit off 2 opposite corners, and tried a few times to 'enjoy' my cuppa by sucking it through the biscuit, hoping to filter through some chocolatey goodness. But to my horror, the whole experiment went quite magnificently pear-shaped. Never have I experienced a better way of destroying a biscuit and also a cup of tea. Within just a few seconds of 'Slamming' I found that the bottom third of my Tim Tam was already lost to the dark side of bottom sludge. The top of the Tim Tam also melts, as the steam from your tea rebounds off your face, as you are hunched over the cup, desperately slurping. And if you wear glasses, they will undoubtedly steam up too, thus significantly impairing your vision. With only a miniscule amount of tea slurped through the biscuit, I decided to cut my losses and go for the munch. But the Tim Tam itself had become so soft and gooey that it had lost it's unique taste as it denatured into a watery quagmire, hitting my mouth like a festival buffet stand cup of tea. There was nearly a tear in my eye. The results of the experiment were that firstly I felt and looked like a fool, secondly I had ruined my cup of tea, and thirdly I had also destroyed a couple of delightful Tim Tams that could have so easily been dunked and enjoyed in the 'proper' way. I feel quite ashamed and have vowed never to Tim Tam Slam again. Those Australians need to learn I thing or two about ingesting Tea and Biscuits.
I just thought you should know...
PS For a real treat, place your Tim Tams in the freezer ten minutes before you find somewhere for a nice cup of tea and a sit down.