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||Dear Nicey, Wifey and the younger members of staff,|
First of all, I love the website- tea and biscuits truly deserve the recognition your site gives them!
I was hoping you (as the guru of all things tea-related) could answer this question for me: is there a right way to stir tea? It hadn't occurred to me that there was a right or a wrong way to stir tea, until I made a cup of tea for my mum the other day. She complained that I'd stirred it the 'wrong way' (anti-clockwise, probably because I'm left handed!) and that tea should always be stirred clockwise. Was she just being mad (likely) or am I indeed going against the laws of tea? I'd hate to be angering the gods of the teapot lest I get a poisoned cup of tea one day as punishment...
Also, on the subject of kettle-fur, our kettle in the office at work (a small office of 6 people and one kettle, meaning we're only inches away from essential tea supplies- which surely makes for more satisfied and therefore productive staff) had until recently rather disgusting flakes of white stuff. Apparently this only started after we changed to 'pow-wow' water- as we rather naughtily use the water from the big tank in the water cooler because we're miles away from a tap. It all came off with some peculiar blue stuff called 'Oust' though, so we have nice tea (without dandruff) again now!
Looking forward to reading the book, and it will make an excellent Christmas present for my tea-loving boyfriend,
|Nicey replies: Yes the answer is all too obvious as it involves the Coriolis Force which causes a change in angular momentum proportional to the distance from the equator. In the northern hemisphere one would expect to stir tea in a clockwise direction however in the southern hemisphere it should be stirred anti-clockwise. These are the same forces that goven the rotation of weather systems, and the water running out of your bath. To stir in the other direction would be flying in the face of the celestial dance itself.|
I am a new visitor to your site but felt compelled to write on the following subject....
Having lived and worked in France for 6 years I would like to impart what knowledge I have on the subject of tea and the French. As already mentioned by Steve Rapaport the very mention of tea in any French establishment is bound to bring about sniggers and tittering but should you go so far as to ask for, heaven forbid, milk, with aforementioned tea you are sure to greeted by looks of sheer contempt.
The other major problem with French tea is it's weakness. Ask a Frenchman to make a cup of tea and he will bring some water to the temperature of a new born baby's bath and pour it into a cup. He will then proceed to get his tea bag and show it to the warm water then pronouce the tea brewed. This proved to be such a problem that in the six years I was there I took to importing Tetley teabags and carrying with me wherever I went - now, you can buy Tetley in France but they are quite frankly rubbish - although marginally better than the 'Lipton Yellow' brand favoured by the French themselves.
(The slight diping of a teabag into the cup and pronouncing it brewed is also a problem which severly afflicts the Dutch)
So my tip to anyone planning a trip to France would be take your own tea bags and prepared to be ridiculed if you dare to ask for milk in a cafe or bistro.
|Nicey replies: Yes we would always advise travelers to take appropriate precautions when traveling abroad and bring a supply of their own tea bags.
I read Steve Rapaport's recent email regarding French tea drinkers with interest. I believe something similar is true in the Good Ol' US of A. Recently I was in my local pub in London with my American friend Mikey from Cleveland. He comes over for business so in the office I have been introducing him to tea. It was after a few pints that he informed me that only woman and 'special chaps' drink tea back home. Not believing him I asked the barmaid who is from Washington DC. She confirmed it was true. I
fancy going to live there one day, but this has made me rethink.
|Nicey replies: Steve,
First of all good work on the force feeding of Americans with tea, we applaud your efforts. Secondly how do Americans get extensions built on their houses unless huge quantities of tea are involved. Presumably their builders all drink Coke/Pepsi/Rootbeer/Budwieser/Starbucks coffee. Perhaps this is why their houses are so enormous, and require no extensions as they don't have the correct beverage and biscuit culture to support the activities of local jobbing builders.
||Dear Nicey and Wifey,|
I have enjoyed your site for some time now and in a world of "coffee and a muffin to go" find it an oasis of sanity. It's a real joy to find so many like minded people. There is, however, something that has been bothering me for some time and I am hoping to find some answers from anybody out there who has found a solution to the phenomenon of hot tea and its ability to attract small children to it's drinker like some kind of weird magnet. Whenever I have a cup of tea my children always want to come and perform acrobatic manoeuvres not more that 6 inches away from said beverage and will not cease in their energetic pursuits until the tea has been displaced from its cup and into my lap.
I have queried this with family and friends all of whom have witnessed the same uncanny ability of a cup of tea to call siren-like to any child in the vicinity to promptly start hurling themselves at the scalding hot liquid. It's always when the tea is hot enough to cause injury, once the tea has cooled to a temperature low enough only to cause the inconvenience of wet clothing or stained upholstery it loses its attractive properties. I know this because I have experimented with leaving the tea to cool before attempting to drink it, the tea loses its ability to draw children at precisely the same temperature at which it ceases to become nice to drink or able to inflict any scalding or burning injury. I have tried placing the cup away from me as I thought it may be the lure of a stationary parent that made them behave in this manner, but no, even when the tea is placed on top of a bookcase in another room they will play a dangerous game of amateur circus performers to bring the tea crashing to earth.
I have tried engaging the children in any number of entertaining diversions before partaking of my tea but to no avail. I had hoped this was just a passing phase and that they would grow out of it, but when discussing this with my sister she grimly informed me that her daughter was still compelled to cavort about near her mothers hot tea at the age of 24. I have also tried other beverages thinking it may be some kind of 6th sense present only in children, but only really hot tea causes a reaction, therefore it must be the tea.
Can anyone help me to enjoy a nice cup of hot tea and my children's company without having to have the car engine running in readiness for the inevitable mercy dash to the burns unit at our local children's hospital?
|Nicey replies: We have found the trick is to give them their own cup of tea.
||Thanks to this site, I now have a place to tell my frightful French story.|
It was 1989 and I was a little nervous, being 24-ish and on a solo business trip to France, and then a bit rattled from the drive through the "Etoile Charles de Gaulle" on the way into the office in Paris. But I was still pretty confident in my competence, my professionalism, and my masculinity. Until someone offered me coffee....
I politely asked if they had any tea. In Canada where I hail from, this is a fairly usual question after coffee is offered. In France, it produced horror and shock, followed by a round of sneers and supercilious little laughs.
After a suitably intimidating silence, my host replied "No, we don't have any, but perhaps you wish to ask one of the *women*. " This last word contained unspoken volumes regarding my evident lack of masculinity, naivete, and general unsuitability for the rigors of a serious business meeting in France between men. The women, it need hardly be said, were all clerical staff, in a separate room from the real men.
Bloodied but unbowed, I actually did beg a teabag from a friendly female clerk before proceeding to the meeting, where nobody took me at all seriously thereafter and mostly they all spoke french over my head.
From this humiliation I concluded that only women (and perhaps foreign poofters) drink tea in France. Or at least that this was the case in 1989. I think that this deserves further study, perhaps on this very Webzine...