HowTo:Make a Proper Cup of British Tea

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Why tea?[edit]

Tea is a truly universal meal. From the chai of the Japanese, in which spiced leaves are boiled in hot water and then drunk, to the thé al limone of the French, in which spiced leaves are boiled in hot water and then ruined by not adding any milk and dropping in a slice of lemon, to the traditional laundrette of the Americas, in which dirty clothes are placed in hot, soapy water and then rotated at high speed until clean, all nations seem to have discovered something approximating tea. Foremost among them, however, is Mediocre Britain, in which tea-making has become such a high-profile event that the process has taken on a mystique and celebrity of its own.

The British's Fake fondness for tea[edit]

Indeed, in a recent survey 90% of Britons said that they would vote for a giant sentient teabag with arms and legs, if one had its own political party; 40% of British parents said they would not object to their daughter marrying a cup of tea and 24% admitted to having participated in a "teabagging" in the past.

Medicinal properties of tea[edit]

The British respect for tea stems from its impressive medicinal properties. British tea, unlike that found in other countries, is rich in antitoxidants, molecules whose name stems from the words anti meaning opposed to, toxi meaning poison, and ants meaning ants. What this means is that British tea is full of tiny ants who, upon being drunk, crawl around the human body, seeking out and destroying various strains of poisonous atom, such as venom, "The Disease", oldness, toxin, virus and bacteria. As a result of these impressive properties, a single cup of British tea can easily cure a patient of most known diseases. Tea as a practiced medicine is still in its infancy, but a paper by Rutherford and Funtgruttock (1985) has shown that in 8 out of 12 cases, three hot cups of tea with milk and sugar can reverse the effects of amputation.

The source of the healing power of British tea is, of course, the method by which it is prepared. British tea requires a great deal of attention in order to get right, and very few people know how to do it properly. In some cases a Japanese tea ceremony was mistakenly performed rather than a BRITISH tea ceremony.

Making a Proper Cup of British Tea[edit]

  1. Rinse the teapot inside and out with cold water. This step is known as rinsing the pot.
  2. Next, rinse the teapot inside and out with freshly boiled water. This step is known as warming the pot.
  3. Now, rub the outside of the teapot with dry tea leaves. This step is known as rubbing the leaves.
  4. Rinse the teapot inside but not out with cold water once, then freshly boiled water again. This step is known as spooning the mackerel.
  5. Empty the kettle. Rinse the inside out with cold water, then with tepid water from the hot tap after it's not been run for very long. This step is known as stalling for time.
  6. Fill the kettle with freshly cold water and set it to boil. This step is known as "putting the kettle on".
  7. While the kettle is boiling, rinse the teacups inside and out with cold water. This step is known as the "Russian Revolution". You are now ready to add loose-leaf tea to the kettle.
  8. Rinse the teapot inside and out with cold water. Then add one teaspoon of tea per person to the teapot. After this, add one "for the pot". This should by followed by one for God, one for the Devil, and one for the Queen.
  9. Add a single teaspoon of milk to each teacup. It is vitally important that the milk is added before the tea goes in.
  10. Following this, rinse the teaspoon with boiled milk and place it inside the kettle, being careful to avoid the steam. This step is known as "touching the cloth".
  11. Pour the boiled water from the kettle into the teapot, making sure the rinse the inside of the kettle with cold and then boiled water. This step is known as "stretching the joke".
  12. Place the lid on the teapot, adding a milkspoon full of sugar to each cup and salt to taste. Be sure to rinse the salt inside and out with boiled water.
  13. Last, Pour that funky shit down the drain and make a cup of Real Tea or Give it to Captain Picard. (Earl Grey only)

Key implements[edit]

The teapot[edit]

The cornerstone of the action, the teapot is quite literally a vessel used for steeping tea leaves or a herbal mix in near-boiling water. This poetic description, however, belies the intense and highly erotically-charged symbolism of pouring boiling water into a large china jug.

A proper teapot should be brown in colour, smaller than a rhinoceros, and entirely inanimate. The so-called "living teapots" sold in chain supermarkets may save you a few pence, but their agonised pleas for a peaceful death will ruin any tea-tasting evening you hold.

The tea[edit]

If the teapot is the principal boy in the three-part drama that is the making of a cup of tea, then the tea is the willing extra who tosses him off in the dressing-room for a slug of bourbon. That is to say, don't forget the presence of your tea; especially not when having your grandmother round.

It is of great importance that the tea be from a reputable source. Many black-market tea dealers will cut pure tea with sawdust, chalk, arsenic or even Typhoo in order to enlarge their profit margins.

Finally, there is the matter of the type of tea. The British always begin with black tea, never green tea, white tea, nor any other fancy color tea, especially not pink tea. Brightly colored teas are reserved for tea parties, rather than the British tea ceremony. The tea should certainly be the caffeinated type of tea, so this rules out herbal tea as well.

The teaspoon[edit]

Finally, the centrepiece of our action is the teaspoon: that perky little whippy chap, oft overlooked but never taken for granted. If you ever find yourself making a cup of tea, just remember this handy aide-memoire: Teaspoon ducked, your tea's fucked. Without a teaspoon, your tea will taste like ass.

The tea-rotator[edit]

If you really are interested in drinking a proper Proper Cup of British Tea (and if you're not, I am better than you), you will eventually want to invest in a tea-rotator rather than buy packets of ready-rotated (or "R-R", as it's known to tea merchants) tea. Trust me when I say that if you can't tell the difference between a cup of freshly-rotated tea and a cup of packet-rotated tea, you are an imbecile.