In 1946 George Orwell famously wrote an essay about how to make the perfect cup of tea.
His essay contained very important rules about making tea, such as…
“One should drink out of a good breakfast cup — that is, the cylindrical type of cup, not the flat, shallow type. The breakfast cup holds more, and with the other kind one’s tea is always half cold before one has well started on it.”
The problem is that nearly 50 years later many people are still, still, getting tea wrong. Very wrong. Every time. Especially Americans. So to settle this once and for all, here is a guide of what you shouldn’t do when making tea.
Do not brew the tea for fewer than 3 minutes – Some say 3 minutes. Some say 180 seconds. Please aim for somewhere around the middle. It is critical that you brew between these times and not a second less. Oh and warm the pot immediately.
And when you are brewing it, leave that teabag alone. Put it in and leave it. Do not squeeze it. Do not dip it. Do not stir it. Do not wring it. Abandon it. If you squeeze, dip, stir or wring it during the brewing period you have offended a British person.
Do not leave the teabag in the mug –
NEVER put the sugar teaspoon into the tea – Why? Because you will contaminate the sugar. Contaminate the sugar! You must tip the spoonful of sugar you are intending to to use into the mug from the spoon. You then must return your spoon into the packet of sugar and repeat until you have the allocation of sugar you need in the mug. Once you have done this, it is then completely suitable to then stir the tea until all of the sugar has dissolved. And you must stir. Keep stirring! If you haven’t done this, then you have failed.
Never use a different type of milk than anticipated – Using semi-skimmed milk even though you have been told to use skimmed milk? What are you? A criminal? Also, never decide to use Earl Grey teabags instead of English breakfast if there aren’t any English breakfast left. This is an insult. Instead, you must leave the house and head to the nearest shop that sells the correct teabags posthaste — even if it is 3 o’clock in the morning and the store is in another country.
British people don’t expect anything else.
Never ever EVER pour the milk in first. EVER – Why should you never put the milk in first? Because the tea will never get to a tea colour. It will just stay a milk colour. The milk colour! You’ve just poured your colleagues or your other loving half a pint. A pint of milk! Well done, you.
NEVER EVER use a microwave to reheat your tea.