TeaMusings on Tea by Tony Healey – Today’s Guest Blogger

If you are cold, tea will warm you. If you are too heated, it will cool you. If you are depressed, it will cheer you. If you are excited, it will calm you – Gladstone, 1865

Starting with the tea gardens and tea dances that took England by storm in the 1800’s, the humble cup of tea has been a favourite of the nation. But it’s not what it used to be, and it’s not consumed the way the rest of the world assumes it is.

I like to keep a lot of different teas at hand; Green, Green with Lemon, Green with Jasmine, Camomile, Raspberry, Earl Grey… all sorts. When I visit London, I always make sure to pop into the gift shop at Harrods and get myself a metal tin of Earl Grey. Not because it taste better than the Earl Grey that I buy in the shops but because… well, I’m sad.
I have several tea-pots, too, which I never use. They sit in the cupboard, filling with dust; but when I’m out and about and I spy a nice teapot I cannot help but feel that *urge* within me that screams ‘Buy it! Buy it!’
I recently started drinking another type of tea, called ‘Pukka Tea’ which has flavours of Cardamon and Aniseed. It’s a lovely, subtle tea, very refreshing. My wife hates it because it makes the cupboard smell of liquorice and curry.

There is an image of the English as refined tea-drinkers, taking ‘afternoon tea’ etc in a highly civilised fashion. The reality in fact, is that we are a very busy nation with very little time for the refined habits of the past. You will rarely see something like a teapot used in a household. You have to warm the pot, put in a tea bag for everyone having a cup, plus one for the pot, you have to pour in the water and let it stew… it’s too long-a-process.

The norm over here is what’s called a cup of builders. You boil the kettle. You fill a mug with the tea bag and the sugar – if you take it. Pour in the water, dunk the teabag up and down until it’s bled into the water, discard the tea bag. Then add your milk, as much as you like, depending on if you like a dark tea or a milky one. The whole process, from pouring in the water to adding the milk takes probably two minutes. It’s significantly quicker than the traditional methods of making tea, and you know what? We brits thrive on it. I couldn’t imagine waking up in the morning and not having a cup of tea. It’s the first thing I do; flick the kettle on.
The same goes for herbal and fruit teas, the process for which is more or less the same without the milk. And you often see commuters ordering them from coffee stands before they hop onto the train.

The tea infuses whilst they go through the barriers, and after sitting down they have a perfectly stewed paper cup of camomile to enjoy on their way to work.

I guess I could drink about four or five cups of regular tea a day, sometimes more than that if I’m at home and consumed with something. The tea keeps you going through the day.

The image of people in England drinking tea like they did two hundred years ago needs to go. It is a cliche. We drink builder’s, and by the bucket load. We are a true nation of tea-slurpers – and more often than not it’s drunk out of a chipped mug, not a tea cup.

Find Tony on his website :

Books By Derek Haines
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I’ll Have Mine In A Mug Thanks
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18 thoughts on “I’ll Have Mine In A Mug Thanks

  • 23/05/2011 at 5:50 pm

    I am a firm proponent of the School of Tea which says that the milk must go in FIRST, otherwise it gets 'scalded' and the tea doesn't taste right. So I put the tea bag into a tea strainer and pour the boiling water through it that way. :D

    Also, the water must always be boilING when it hits the tea, not merely boilED. Otherwise you don't get the right chemical reaction and, again, it doesn't taste right. These finer points of the Art of Tea must never be overlooked. :D

  • 23/05/2011 at 7:40 pm

    Sorry Tony, Give me a fresh plunger full of Italian coffee every time. And,it has to be drunk black – no milk, no sugar. :)

  • 23/05/2011 at 8:08 pm

    I must stay out of this thread as I have a wonderful friend. A Jura espresso coffee machine. Although I do drink black tea when I have man-flu and think that my demise is very near. :)

  • 23/05/2011 at 10:45 pm

    I'm an American who loves his tea! There is nothing like a good cup of Earl Grey on any occasion! Apparently I'm making it in the proper Brit fashion too! Of course that is mostly due to the fact that I am the only tea drinker in my house so making more than one cup at a time is simply a waste!

  • 23/05/2011 at 10:53 pm

    Love this. The rating system on our blog is 1-5 cups of tea. :)my blogmate & I are huge tea fans. I probably have 15 boxes of tea in my cabinets. Favorites are Earl & Lady Grey, and Darjeeling! I'm southern so I even make my big batches of sweet tea out of 3/4 Darjeeling & 1/4 Earl Grey. It's incredible! Great post!


  • 23/05/2011 at 10:54 pm

    What's a "long-a-process"?

  • 23/05/2011 at 10:54 pm

    Hrm. I've never truly gotten into the tea thing, although most of my father's family has English ancestry. I prefer coffee, but I admit the ritual of tea and the importance placed on it appeals to me.

  • 24/05/2011 at 12:18 am

    I'm American, so you'll pry my coffee cup out of my cold, dead fingers. That said, there's nothing like a nice cup of tea after a long day.

  • 24/05/2011 at 12:46 am

    Strong coffee until 4:00, strong tea until 10:00, herb tea after that. I like my coffee from a press, so the electric kettle is always ready to go.

  • 24/05/2011 at 1:07 am

    I'm an American of Irish Descent & I've never had a cup of coffee in my life; I don't even like the smell of it! I have to have my Black Tea first thing in the mornin' & I usually drink Five plus cups a day at least. My favorite is Celestial Seasoning's Morning Thunder, one of their few Caffeine teas. I brew the tea first take the teabag out then add milk or cream, sometimes honey as a treat.

  • 24/05/2011 at 11:02 am

    How refreshing to read whilst drinking my first 'cuppa' of the day ;)

  • 24/05/2011 at 8:19 pm

    Tony, I love this post.

    …oh! yet
    Stands the Church clock at ten to three?
    And is there honey still for tea?

    I lived in the UK for a long time, where I underwent a conversion into a tea drinker. (On top of that, I also lived in Japan, where people are just as, if not more, avid about their tea — and not just the green kind.)

    Though I like coffee, too, I am known to become a bit impatient with people who don't "get" tea. Don't they realize it's the key to Britain's "keep calm and carry on" ethos? And to Japanese gaman (stoicism)?

    Not so incidentally, I write for a new collaborative blog, The Displaced Nation, where we believe in tea so much we've prepared a freebie called "A royally displaced tea." It contains a glossary to what is meant by "tea" (from the British perspective) and several family recipes for tea treats.

    The idea is that you should be able to have a proper cuppa wheresoe'er you roam! (Only pls note: we don't tend to approve of chipped mugs, except under extreme circumstances.)

  • 26/05/2011 at 11:39 am

    Tea smelling of liquorice and curry I just cannot imagine!

  • 28/05/2011 at 10:02 am

    Wow! One of the most popular posts ever on the Vandal Blog. Should we have more tea posts?

  • 10/07/2011 at 8:19 am

    Thank you for the sensible critique. Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do a little research on this. We grabbed a book from our local library but I think I learned more from this post. I am very glad to see such fantastic info being shared freely out there..

  • 17/02/2012 at 1:53 am

    I drink quite a bit of tea in the morning myself, but only because my wife can’t stand the smell of coffee. For me, all I’m after is the pick-me-up to get me going, no matter the source. Why coffee should be so preferred in the U.S. and not tea, is something I’ve never really thought about, but I’m sure has a perfectly logical explanation. I hate to admit this, but I am in such a hurry in the mornings that I use the technique of putting the water and tea bag in my mug and microwaving both together. Works a treat!

  • 17/02/2012 at 6:11 am

    A post about tea!!!!!

    All I drink is tea, all day, every day.
    According to the experts I should be skinny and healthy.

    I am neither. So much for the experts!

    Green is the best, in all favors. Followed by black with lemon :)))

    A nice hot cup of tea
    Is never far from me

    Experts never said it would make a poet of me. LOL

  • 17/02/2012 at 6:27 am

    Oh, tea. I used to only be a fan of iced tea, until I went to Uni in London and married a guy from Coventry. :) Several years later I am back in the US and have managed to find a kettle and some tea bags at the closest World Market….and you are so right; I can barely peel my eyelids open before flicking the kettle on and having a cup (or three) of tea in the morning. My American friends and relatives are aghast that I add milk to my tea and cannot understand…but they just don’t know what they’re missing. :)

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