Category Archives: Tea and Coffee

How To Make The Perfect Cup Of Tea | The Murdock Man

Source: How To Make The Perfect Cup Of Tea | The Murdock Man

HOW TO MAKE THE PERFECT CUP OF TEA

One of the most everyday of British tasks has its proper methods.

Many an Englishman wouldn’t go a day without consuming at least one cup of tea. Be his preference an awakening mug first thing, a relaxing evening brew, or indeed both. The difference between a good and bad brew however treads a fine line, causing the argument of how to make tea properly a continuous subject of debate. With our modern, worldly tastes and options often overlooking the simple yet majestic pleasure of English Breakfast Tea, when a perfectly brewed cup falls into our hands there are few pleasures comparable. If there is an English bone in his body, it would be a gentlemanly sin for the modern man to not be partial to a cup of tea.

One of the most everyday of British tasks has its proper methods, yet we each have our own ideas on what makes tea so wonderful and how to make it so. The rest of the world may not quite understand the wonders of a good brew quite like we do on these fair isles but that is because they simply do not know the correct methods by which to make one properly. It is because of this that some of our most influential writers – George Orwell, Douglas Adams, and Christopher Hitchens have all felt compelled to write brilliant essays on what makes the perfect cup of tea…

 

GEORGE ORWELL’S ‘A NICE CUP OF TEA’

The great Socialist writer wrote many an essay on how he thought the world should be (The Moon Under Water is his particularly good description of a utopian pub) and in this one he lists his eleven rules for making the perfect the cup of tea:

First of all

One should use Indian or Ceylonese tea. China tea has virtues which are not to be despised nowadays – it is economical, and one can drink it without milk – but there is not much stimulation in it. One does not feel wiser, braver or more optimistic after drinking it. Anyone who has used that comforting phrase ‘a nice cup of tea’ invariably means Indian tea.

Secondly

Tea should be made in small quantities – that is, in a teapot. Tea out of an urn is always tasteless, while army tea, made in a cauldron, tastes of grease and whitewash. The teapot should be made of china or earthenware. Silver or Britanniaware teapots produce inferior tea and enamel pots are worse; though curiously enough a pewter teapot (a rarity nowadays) is not so bad.

Thirdly

The pot should be warmed beforehand. This is better done by placing it on the hob than by the usual method of swilling it out with hot water.

Fourthly

The tea should be strong. For a pot holding a quart, if you are going to fill it nearly to the brim, six heaped teaspoons would be about right. In a time of rationing, this is not an idea that can be realised on every day of the week, but I maintain that one strong cup of tea is better than twenty weak ones. All true tea lovers not only like their tea strong, but like it a little stronger with each year that passes – a fact which is recognised in the extra ration issued to old-age pensioners.

Fifthly

The tea should be put straight into the pot. No strainers, muslin bags or other devices to imprison the tea. In some countries teapots are fitted with little dangling baskets under the spout to catch the stray leaves, which are supposed to be harmful. Actually one can swallow tea-leaves in considerable quantities without ill effect, and if the tea is not loose in the pot it never infuses properly.

Sixthly

One should take the teapot to the kettle and not the other way about. The water should be actually boiling at the moment of impact, which means that one should keep it on the flame while one pours. Some people add that one should only use water that has been freshly brought to the boil, but I have never noticed that it makes any difference.

Seventhly

After making the tea, one should stir it, or better, give the pot a good shake, afterwards allowing the leaves to settle.

Eighthly

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.

Ninthly

One should pour the cream off the milk before using it for tea. Milk that is too creamy always gives tea a sickly taste.

Tenthly

One should pour tea into the cup first. This is one of the most controversial points of all; indeed in every family in Britain there are probably two schools of thought on the subject. The milk-first school can bring forward some fairly strong arguments, but I maintain that my own argument is unanswerable. This is that, by putting the tea in first and stirring as one pours, one can exactly regulate the amount of milk whereas one is liable to put in too much milk if one does it the other way round.

Lastly

Tea – unless one is drinking it in the Russian style – should be drunk WITHOUT SUGAR. I know very well that I am in a minority here. But still, how can you call yourself a true tea-lover if you destroy the flavour of your tea by putting sugar in it? It would be equally reasonable to put in pepper or salt. Tea is meant to be bitter, just as beer is meant to be bitter. If you sweeten it, you are no longer tasting the tea, you are merely tasting the sugar; you could make a very similar drink by dissolving sugar in plain hot water.

To complement Orwell’s ideas, also read Douglas Adams’ ‘Tea’ in which the author of ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ explains to Americans their common brewing mistakes. Also Christopher Hitchens’ ‘How To Make A Decent Cup Of Tea’ in which, similarly to Adams, he informs those across the pond how to do it right, taking his cue from Orwell’s Golden Rules. We’d say it’s about time to put the kettle on?

Tea Making Tips (1941)

Tea Making Tips is a comprehensive guide to the perfect cuppa, including the six golden tips for making the perfect brew, released in 1941. Courtesy of the British Film Institute (BFI) on YouTube. The film is 10 minutes long, so I suggest you put the kettle on, sit down and have and nice cup of char (aka chai) whilst you watch it. Made in pot with loose tea leaves of course! Enjoy…

You may also enjoy this BBC video on how to make a the perfect cup of tea:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p041fbr7

Tea, coffee and hot drinks blended and packed in Great Britain

Twinings – “Still blended and packed with pride in the UK” it says on the Twinings  tea I got the other day. Sadly this is not true of all their tea – some Twinings tea is now blended and packed in Poland. On some packets / tins of tea it says blended and packed in England or Poland and does not even tell the customer which one. All very disappointing! http://www.twinings.co.uk

The same foreign manufacturing presumably applies to Jacksons of Piccadilly too, as they are owned by Twinings – http://www.jacksonsofpiccadilly.co.uk

Keith Spicer Ltd, established in Bournemouth in 1934, source, import and blend teas from all over the world for many famous brands here in UK at either their Ferndown, Dorset or their North Shields, Tyne & Wear site – they bought the old Twinings site at Earl Grey Way (yes, really!) in 2012 after Twinings had decamped to Poland making c.260 employees redundant in 2011.
Their brand is Dorset Tea and it is all packed in Britain – www.dorsettea.co.uk

Whittard of Chelsea stress their British heritage but as far as I can tell all their teas are all packed in Germany.  Some of their products do not even state the country of origin.  They do though sell a very limited range British made tea pots and the like in their shops.

Yorkshire Tea, Betty’s Tea and Taylors of Harrogate tea (Bettys and Taylors of Harrogate Group) – http://www.bettysandtaylors.co.ukhttp://www.yorkshiretea.co.uk – is all made in the UK as far as I am aware. The same goes for their coffee.

f1d751e5715f55e0c393a7868d85f68f

Taylors of Harrogate Lazy Sunday Sunday ground coffee. Roasted and packed in the UK.

Taylors of Harrogate Lazy Sunday Sunday ground coffee. Roasted and packed in the UK. Photograph by author.

Taylors of Harrogate Lazy Sunday Sunday ground coffee. Roasted and packed in the UK. Rear label view.

Taylors of Harrogate Lazy Sunday Sunday ground coffee. Roasted and packed in the UK. Rear label view. Photograph by author.

Taylors of Harrogate Yorkshire Tea bags. Blended and packed in the UK. Photograph by author 17 May 2018.

Taylors of Harrogate Yorkshire Tea bags. Blended and packed in the UK. Photograph by author 17 May 2018. Label detail.

PG Tips tea is, as far as I am aware, all blended and packed in the UK. I understand that it is blended and packed in Manchester, England (PG Tips is part of Unilever) – http://www.pgtips.co.uk

PG Tips loose tea. Blended and packed in Manchester, England (part of Unilever).

PG Tips loose tea. Blended and packed in Manchester, England (part of Unilever).

The London Cuppa Ltd is a new brand to me but I am pleased to see their tagline is “a fine tea specially selected, and blended, in London England” and as such presumably all their teas are blended and packed in the UK – http://www.thelondoncuppa.com

New English Teas provide gift teas in tins and cartons. Trade only. Founded in 1985. No country of origin information is given on their website, but the tins of tea in the picture below by New English Teas are produced in the UK. I don’t know if the tins / cartons themselves are made in the UK or if all their products are UK made, so please check before buying. I don’t know whether they manufacture themselves but possibly not – http://www.newenglishteas.com

New English Teas Tea Rations gift tin. 40 tea bags. Produced in the United Kingdom. Photographed by the author in the Edinburgh Woollen Mill in Bourton on the Water.

New English Teas Tea Rations gift tin. 40 tea bags. Produced in the United Kingdom. Photographed by the author in the Edinburgh Woollen Mill in Bourton on the Water.

The East India Company (EIC), also known as the Honourable East India Company and informally as John Company, was a British company that once ruled India and has influenced the very fabric of all our lives today. The company was dissolved in 1874, by which time its immense power had long passed to the British Government. Sanjiv Mehta, a Mumbai-born entrepreneur, has since around 2005 taken on the name East India Company and launched his new business under that name in around 2010, in an interesting twist of history. The new East India Company sells premium priced teas and coffees, biscuits, chocolates, jams, marmalades and mustards; some of which are made in the UK. Whilst country of origin information is not given as such on their website for most products you can see pictures of the labels on the packaging which say where a product is made. Looking around their Covent Garden store in January 2016, I noted that pleasingly quite a few of their products such as teas are made in the UK, so with careful selection you may be able to find UK made products from this company. Again, looking around their store near Oxford Circus (just off Regent Street) on 30 September 2018 I found lots of made (blended and packed) in the UK teas on sale – http://www.eicfinefoods.com

East India Company Jasmine Pearls Green Tea. Blended and packed in the UK.

East India Company Jasmine Pearls Green Tea. Blended and packed in the UK.. Photograph by author.

East India Company Jasmine Pearls Green Tea. Blended and packed in the UK. Rear of packaging label view.

East India Company Jasmine Pearls Green Tea. Blended and packed in the UK. Rear of packaging label view. Photograph by author.

East India Company Real Stawberries in Chocolate - NOT made in the UK.

East India Company Real Stawberries in Chocolate – NOT made in the UK. Photograph by author.

Fortnum and Mason tea is, again as far as I aware, all blended and packed in Britain – https://www.fortnumandmason.com/t/categories/tea-and-coffee/all

Fortnum and Mason Royal Blend Tea - Blended and packed in the UK

Fortnum and Mason Royal Blend Tea – Blended and packed in the UK

Fortnum and Mason Breakfast Tea - blended and packed in the UK

Fortnum and Mason Breakfast Tea – blended and packed in the UK

Fortnum and Mason Royal Blend Tea

Fortnum and Mason Royal Blend Tea

Essential Waitrose tea is packed in the UK. Essential Waitrose Rich Roast Coffee instant granules used to be clearly labelled as processed and packed in the UK. Note country of origin is no longer given, in line with a new Waitrose policy of not labelling country of origin. Presumably this Waitrose coffee is now foreign made – http://www.waitrose.com

Essential Waitrose Original Blend - Loose Leaf Tea 250g. Packed in the UK.

Essential Waitrose Original Blend – Loose Leaf Tea 250g. Packed in the UK.

Essential Waitrose Original Blend Tea - 40 Round Bags 125g. Packed in the UK

Essential Waitrose Original Blend Tea – 40 Round Bags 125g. Packed in the UK

Essential Waitrose Rich Roast Coffee instant granules. Front view. Note country of origin is no longer given. Presumably this Waitrose coffee is now foreign made.

Essential Waitrose Rich Roast Coffee instant granules. Front view. Note country of origin is no longer given. Presumably this Waitrose coffee is now foreign made.

Essential Waitrose Rich Roast Coffee instant granules. Front view. Note country of origin is no longer given. Presumably this Waitrose coffee is now foreign made.

Essential Waitrose Rich Roast Coffee instant granules. Label view. Note country of origin is no longer given. Presumably this Waitrose coffee is now foreign made.

Tregothnan tea is unique in that it is actually grown, blended and packed in England. The Tregothnan camellia sinensis tea bush is grown in small pockets all over the Tregothnan home estate whilst larger plantations are located on Tregothnan land throughout south Cornwall. Available via the Tregothnan website and in Waitrose. It has been available to buy since 2005. The Tregothnan estate in Cornwall also their own British produced biscuits, honey, jam, charcoal and firewood, as well as running holiday cottages in Cornwall – http://tregothnan.co.uk

Tregothnan GREAT British Tea. Grown, blended and packed in England

Tregothnan GREAT British Tea. Grown, blended and packed in England.

The Clipper Tea, Mango Green Tea bags, (c/o Kallo Foods Ltd – not quite sure what that means) is labelled “imported ingredients blended and packed in the UK”. Good to see such clear provenance labelling, although they do not say where the tea is grown. It is not so clear on their website though whether all their tea and coffee is blended and packed in the UK, although of their tea they do say in their FAQs “All the teas we source are then brought home to Beaminster, Dorset, where we take loving care to blend them, and check the quality to ensure they are just right before they are packed for their journey on to our customers” which seems to suggest all their teas are made in the UK, although tells you nothing about their coffee. Check the packaging for country of origin as that does seem to be clearly labelled. Clipper products are available via their website, although they do not give country of origin information on their website, or in shops. Clipper hot chocolate is made from imported ingredients and is packed in the UK, but does not say where it is made. Clipper Nettle tea is made from EU/Non-EU agriculture imported ingredients and is then blended and packed in the UK by Clipper Teas Ltd. Sadly Clipper coffee is made in Germany – http://www.clipper-teas.com

Clipper drinking chocolate. Imprted ingredients. Packed in the UK for Clipper Teas Lts. No indication of where it is made.

Clipper drinking chocolate. Imported ingredients. Packed in the UK for Clipper Teas Ltd. No indication of where it is made. Photograph by author.

Clipper drinking chocolate. Imported ingredients. Packed in the UK for Clipper Teas Ltd. No indication of where it is made. Label detail view.

Clipper drinking chocolate. Imported ingredients. Packed in the UK for Clipper Teas Ltd. No indication of where it is made. Label detail view. Photograph by author.

Clipper Nettle tea. EU/Non-EU agriculture imported ingredients. Blended and packed in the UK by Clipper Teas Ltd.

Clipper Nettle tea. EU/Non-EU agriculture imported ingredients. Blended and packed in the UK by Clipper Teas Ltd. Photograph by author.

Clipper Nettle tea. EU/Non-EU agriculture imported ingredients. Blended and packed in the UK by Clipper Teas Ltd. Label view detail.

Clipper Nettle tea. EU/Non-EU agriculture imported ingredients. Blended and packed in the UK by Clipper Teas Ltd. Label view detail.

Charbonnel et Walker (or Charbonnel and Walker) chocolate drink is made in the UK, as are all Charbonnel et Walker chocolates. Available via their website and in supermarkets such as Waitrose.Charbonnel et Walker have a shop in the Royal Arcade on Old Bond Street, London and their factory is in Tunbridge Wells – http://www.charbonnel.co.uk

Hans Sloane drinking chocolate is made in the UK. Available via their website and in supermarkets such as Waitrose and Tesco – https://www.sirhanssloane.com

Traidcraft Organic Fairtrade Cocoa 125 g is made in the UK. Available from their website or online elsewhere – http://www.traidcraftshop.co.uk

Traidcraft Organic Fairtrade Cocoa 125 g. Made in the UK.

Traidcraft Organic Fairtrade Cocoa 125 g. Made in the UK.

Buckshot Coffee Co. coffee blends are made In Sheffield, England. Their other items (‘hardware’) is all foreign made – buckshotcoffeeroasters.com

Smith Street Coffee Roasters coffee is made in Sheffield. They also sell Café Olé stove top Italian style coffee makers and a Café Olé cafetiere which they say are made in Sheffield – http://www.smithstreetcoffeeroasters.co.uk

Beanies Amaretto Almond flavour instant coffee is made in the UK for Beanies. They also do other flavours of coffee – http://www.beaniesflavourco.co.uk

Beanies Amaretto Almond flavour instant coffee is made in the UK for Beanies.

Beanies Amaretto Almond flavour instant coffee is made in the UK for Beanies. Photograph by author.

Beanies Amaretto Almond flavour instant coffee is made in the UK for Beanies. Rear label view.

Beanies Amaretto Almond flavour instant coffee is made in the UK for Beanies. Rear label view. Photograph by author.

Carte Noire instant coffee from American company Mondelez International (Kraft / Douwe Egberts) is “Made in the UK”. Look for the words “Made in the UK on the packaging as not all Mondelez is made in the UK – http://www.mondelezinternational.com Update 29 May 2019 unfortunately Mondelez seem to have dropped this brand as I don’t see it in the supermarkets anymore. They have another similarly packaged brand but that is foreign made.

Mondelez Carte Noire Classic instant coffee. Made in the UK.

Mondelez Carte Noire Classic instant coffee. Made in the UK. Photograph by author.

Mondelez Carte Noire Classic instant coffee. Made in the UK. Back label view.

Mondelez Carte Noire Classic instant coffee. Made in the UK. Back label view. Photograph by author.

Most of the big UK supermarkets, fortunately for the consumer, still stock many British made products and clearly label their own brand products too (the exception being Waitrose who now no longer bother to tell their customers where most of their products are made) and so by looking at supermarket packaging you can easily buy British produced foodstuffs. Unfortunately most coffee production in the last few years seems to have moved mostly to Germany, I assume following Nestle’s factory closures in the UK (see below).

Tesco own brand Classic instant coffee and Tesco Value coffee is described as produce of more than one country. It does not specicify where it is made specifically but abroad in any case, although it is packed in the UK. Tesco cocoa powder is produced in Italy and only packed in the UK. Tesco Original loose leaf tea is again produced abroad but packed in the UK. Tesco Everyday Value Instant Hot Chocolate is made in the UK  – http://www.tesco.com

Tesco own brand Classic instant coffee. Produce of more than one country. Does not specicify where it is made specifically but abroad. Packed in the UK.

Tesco own brand Classic instant coffee. Produce of more than one country. Does not specicify where it is made specifically but abroad. Packed in the UK. Photograph by author.

Tesco own brand Classic instant coffee. Produce of more than one country. Does not specicify where it is made specifically but abroad. Packed in the UK. Label view detail.

Tesco own brand Classic instant coffee. Produce of more than one country. Does not specicify where it is made specifically but abroad. Packed in the UK. Label view detail.

Tesco cocoa powder is produced in Italy and only packed in the UK. Front view.

Tesco cocoa powder is produced in Italy and only packed in the UK. Front view.

Tesco cocoa powder is produced in Italy and only packed in the UK. Label view.

Tesco cocoa powder is produced in Italy and only packed in the UK. Label view.

Tesco Original loose leaf tea is again produced abroad but packed in the UK

Tesco Original loose leaf tea is again produced abroad but packed in the UK.

Tesco Original loose leaf tea is again produced abroad but packed in the UK. Label view.

Tesco Original loose leaf tea is again produced abroad but packed in the UK. Label view.

Tesco Everyday Value Instant Hot Chocolate. Produced in the UK. Front of packaging view. Photograph by author.

Tesco Everyday Value Instant Hot Chocolate. Produced in the UK. Front of packaging view. Photograph by author.

Tesco Everyday Value Instant Hot Chocolate. Produced in the UK. Rear of packaging label view. Photograph by author.

Tesco Everyday Value Instant Hot Chocolate. Produced in the UK. Rear of packaging label view. Photograph by author.

Tesco Finest Columbian freeze dried instant coffee. Produce of Columbia. Packed in the UK. I wonder where it is processed? Photograph by author. Front view.

Tesco Finest Columbian freeze dried instant coffee. Produce of Columbia. Packed in the UK. I wonder where it is processed? Photograph by author. Front view.

Tesco Finest Columbian freeze dried instant coffee. Produce of Columbia. Packed in the UK. I wonder where it is processed? Photograph by author. Rear label view.

Tesco Finest Columbian freeze dried instant coffee. Produce of Columbia. Packed in the UK. I wonder where it is processed? Photograph by author. Rear label view.

Tesco Instant Dried Skimmed Milk powder. Produced in the UK. Photograph by author.

Tesco Instant Dried Skimmed Milk powder. Produced in the UK. Rear label view. Photograph by author.

Sainsbury own brand coffee, likewise, seems to be packed in the UK but made abroad. I am not sure about their own brand tea, etc – http://www.sainsburys.co.uk

Marks and Spencer own brand coffee all seems to be packed in Germany from foreign milled beans. I am not sure about their own brand tea, etc – http://www.marksandspencer.com

Asda coffee own brand is packed in the UK but presumably is foreign made. I am not sure about their own brand tea, etc – http://www.asda.com

Co-op fairtrade rich roast instant coffee is packed in the UK. The packaging does not say where it is processed. Other coffee I have seen in the Co-op is foreign made. Check the packaging in store – https://www.coop.co.uk

Co-op fairtrade rich roast instant coffee, packed in the UK. Photograph by author 3 October 2019.

Co-op fairtrade rich roast instant coffee, packed in the UK. Photograph by author 3 October 2019. Rear label detail.

Spar Gold Roast Freeze Dried coffee is packed in England for Spar (UK) Ltd. It does not say on the packaging where it is processed. Spar is a Dutch company and the shops operate as franchises – https://www.spar.co.uk

Spar Gold Roast Freeze Dried instant coffee. Packed in England for Spar (UK) Ltd. Photograph by author 23 April 2019

Spar Gold Roast Freeze Dried instant coffee. Packed in England for Spar (UK) Ltd. Label view. Photograph by author 23 April 2019

In shops like Londis you can find Booker brands and some of their coffee is packed in the UK.

Booker Euro Shopper Instant Coffee Granuales, packed in the UK. Photograph by author 21 May 2019.

Booker Euro Shopper Instant Coffee Granuales, packed in the UK. Photograph by author 21 May 2019. Label view

Nescafe (part of Nestle) coffee is made all over the world, including in the UK. For example there has been a Nestle coffee production factory in Hayes since 1913 (it originally made chocolate when it first started and moved over to coffee production in 1939, having been purchased by Nestle in 1919) but during 2015 it was closed. Nestle’s Tutbury plant in Derbyshire and the Dalston plant in Cumbria continue to make coffee. Nestle still have factories in Girvan, Dalston, Fawdon, York, Halifax and Tutbury, Buxton, Welwyn Garden City, Bromborough, Sudbury, Wisbech, and Aintree, producing coffee, chocolate, water, pet food, etc. Unfortunately for the consumer Nestle have a policy of not labelling country of origin on their products, so you will not know where your coffee was manufactured – https://www.nescafe.co.uk

Nestle Coffee Mate Made in the UK. It is unusual for a Nestle product to give country of origin on it bur this Coffee-Mate does. Photograpgh by author 3 September 2017.

Nestle Coffee Mate Made in the UK. It is unusual for a Nestle product to give country of origin on it bur this Coffee-Mate does. Rear label view. Photograpgh by author 3 September 2017.

For British made coffee and tea making machines, please see here.  For British made mugs, teapots and suchlike, please see here.

For more British produced foodstuffs, please see my Pinterest British Food and Drink page.

#BuyBritishTea #BuyBritishMadeTea #BritishTea

%d bloggers like this: