Tea Time

I was watching an old episode of QI today, where they were discussing the proper order of tea and milk. It seems a controversial topic in England, but my only thought was… this is a disgusting combination. I would never in a million years put these two substances together and drink them.

Which led me to think about cultural differences between the US and the UK. We’re so alike in many ways, and yet, something so simple as tea is a stark contrast. In West Texas, we drink iced tea, and hot tea is extremely rare. I will occasionally have hot green tea with Chinese food, but that’s about it. No, tea is intended to be poured in a glass chocked full of ice! And if you are a traditionalist, the tea should be sweet. The mother of my best friend in high school would make us sweet tea when we went to his house to play games, and if you left the glass undisturbed for a few minutes, I swear, sugar would begin to crystallize on the sides of the glass. Any newcomer who took a big swig unsuspectingly would have their eyes bulging out, unable to speak or breathe for a moment from the sugar shock.

I drink tea virtually every day, but in another contrast, I don’t have an electric kettle, not like the folks in the UK or Ireland. I make do with a stainless steel kettle that sits on the burner of the stove. And if I’m in a rush, I heat the water in the microwave! (yes, I can hear the gasps and the muttered word—Heathen!)

I will concede that we in the US tend to have inferior tea. Lipton dominates the market and one can only make bilge water with it. I have long switched to Tetley’s British Blend. It is inexpensive and both stronger and less bitter than Lipton. I don’t think Tetley’s is well regarded in the UK, but you guys have probably never compared it to Lipton. Sigh.

To start out in agreement.
I would never have milk or cream in tea.

I however don;t sweeten my iced tea.
I was raised drinking sweet tea & learned later to drink it unsweetened.
I prefer tea unsweetened & iced.

I also like Lipton & prefer it to Tetley or any more expensive tea I’ve tried.
To me the expensive teas are for those that like hot tea.
Tetley used to make an Orange Pekoe like Lipton but I haven’t looked for it for a long time.
I went through a phase of trying different teas,
Landed back on Lipton.
If you get into this.
Try Jasmine or Formosa Oolong .
I hate the flavor of Earl Grey & even worse is Lapsang souchong.

If you don’t have time to make sun tea then any method of heating the water is good. stovetop or microwave.
Until someone proves to me that a microwave alters the flavor of water.
Now I would never reheat a tea in a microwave.
I believe that would alter the flavor.

I’ve also switched to unsweetened tea, but that puts me in the minority in Texas, or the entire southern region of the US for that matter.

I’ll have to disagree on Lipton however. I’ve gone back and forth a few times, and the contrast is clear to my taste.

I guess it a just different taste to different people.
Like the people in the UK like tea with milk.

Have you ever had sassafras tea ?

I know it is supposed to have a carcinogen in its’ chemistry.
Probably if a person drinks a barrel a day they might get cancer.
Anyway a lot of Southerners have drank it.
Some still do.

Tetley tea is very popular in Scotland, but if you go further south, Yorkshire tea is popular.

I would never add sugar to my tea, but do take it hot with a little milk.

How about Earl Grey ? Research has revealed some potential health benefits of drinking Earl Grey tea :

  • Heart Health. Black tea and other Camellia sinensis teas have been shown to have blood-pressure lowering effects. …
  • Cholesterol Lowering Effects. …
  • Weight Loss.

I’ve never had Earl Grey. A quick search shows it to be a black tea with bergamot citrus extract added.

My regular Tetley tea is a black tea, but nothing special about it otherwise.

Jean Luc Picard aboard the Starship Enterprize drinks Earl Grey.

So then, which is first tea or milk? Do you brew the tea first, then add milk, or do you add milk, hot water and then brew the tea!

(first option of course! :+1: )

Mostly a Coffee or Pepsi drinker myself
Like the Sweet Lemon tea from Lipton though I don’t drink it on any regular bases
or when I am down south, homemade tea with just a little sugar

When you said Tetley I was thinking Twinings as the higher priced tea.
It is probably the bergamot in the Earl Grey that I don’t like.
Otherwise it is just a black tea.

Anyone ever tasted sassafras tea ?
I have but it has been a long time.
No longer available in supermarkets but can be ordered from some herb companies.
It was at one time the main flavor of root beer.

I have drank a lot of sassafras tea from the time I was a kid. I learned how to make it from my father using the roots of the tree when it is dormant. I grew up in the rural Midwest of the USA and drinking sassafras tea was common. Sassafras is basically where root beer came from. They both taste the same to me.

In the Midwest a lot of tradition and food is based on European immigrants. My father’s side of the family were German immigrants and my mother’s side was English. Growing up a lot of our diet was based on German and English food. Nothing was wasted from butchering an animal. NOTHING! Back in the 1960s my father was an original prepper. We raised, and hunted, the bulk our food so his kids would know how to survive when the SHTF. So far my siblings and I haven’t used much of what he taught us but I’m not dead yet.

I’ve never had any fresh root sassafras tea.
All I ever had was the roots that a store sold.
There are no sassafras trees where I live.

There are many many different teas in the world with distinctly different tastes.
Some go well with milk or cream, others would taste absolutely vile that way.
Some go well with sugar, other would be abhorrent.

A few examples:

English Breakfast tea makes a very nice combination with milk or cream, but I have never added sweetener.

Bolei / Pu-erh is the Chinese tea served in Dim Sum restaurants and is consumed without augmentation.
Putting dairy or sugar in Bolei tea would be both gastronomically and socially unacceptable. The waiters would look at you very strangely.

Barley tea, which tastes like coffee to me, is also consumed unadulterated.

Tetley and Lipton would not be drinkable for me without a sweetener.

And just to make your head spin, I have my coffee with coconut milk and maple syrup. :yum:

Hibiscus tea is sweet just on its own and is a little tart. Makes a good iced tea.

Chamomile is very soothing hot and unadorned.

Kukicha is also good served neat and has a taste that is a cross between barley tea and regular black tea. It is a twig tea more than a leaf tea.

In many cities, there are tea houses which specialize in carry the diversity of tea in the world and pre-plague, a gently hour could be spent consuming special teas and pastry. Let us hope to resume such indulgences soon.

Be safe and be well.

Tea was (supposedly) originally drunk with milk in Britain because pouring the hot water straight into earthenware cups would crack them, due to the thermal shock. Adding some cool milk to the cup first would prevent this happening.

But to me there are some obvious flaws in this story. If the tea was brewed in a teapot first, then by the time it was poured into the cups it would have cooled significantly. And originally when tea was an expensive luxury it seems likely it was drunk from porcelain cups, imported from China alongside the tea, which would resist the heat.

I’m very much tea drinker, but never ever with milk. I drink it straight - just dried leaves in boiling water

Occasionally I add lemon to some varieties (if I can get lemons which are good enough, with the right flavour). Sometimes I add sugar to my tea, but only if the tea is of substandard quality.

My favourite teas were Twinings’ International Range. (Their ordinary range is completely different and I find it undrinkable.) I used to order them directly from Twinings, but since they moved production to Poland a few years back I can’t get them at all in this country. (Most of the range was completely discontinued, and the quality has really gone downhill.) I used to half-fill my suitcase with tea when I came back from Spain, to keep me going for the next 6 months. With travel no longer possible, a friend has kindly posted me some.