A Nice Cup of Tea by primusboy


									A Nice Cup of Tea
The word tea to me means black tea often called English tea. I guess that
is because I was born in England and that is what tea was, if I was born
in Hong Kong it would have had a different meaning. So in this article
when I mention tea it is the black stuff.
As a child tea was tea, nobody claimed any medical properties for the
stuff. Although my Wife who is from East Asia tells me they only drink
black tea when they are sick. Today in the West we are told that tea has
some amazing medical properties. It is said to be good for the heart,
cancer, weight loss, arthritis, as an antibiotic and to lower
cholesterol. Is this the same stuff I drank with lots of milk and four
sugars as a boy?.
Tea has an interesting history in the West, and probably an equally
fascinating one in the East which we shall look at in a later article. In
England tea appeared around the mid 1600s. It was the marriage of King
Charles II to a Portuguese princess that started the tea drinking
fashion. She was tea addict and it became a popular drink in the royal
court and gradually spread to the rest of the population. It replaced gin
and ale as the most popular drink for the masses, which must have had
great health benefits in itself.
There is always the big tea debate as to whether you put the milk in last
or first. I guess that is always solved by using lemon, but then again is
it better to put the lemon at the bottom of the cup and pour the tea over
it, or simply drop the lemon into the cup after the tea is poured?. I was
given tea by some Indian friends and I noticed they put all the
ingredients including the milk and sugar into a pan of cold water and
boiled it on the stove before serving. This is not so different to the
"billy tea" I had in Australia where a handful of tea was thrown into a
pan full of water and brought to the boil over an open fire. This was
then served with what looked like a whole can of condensed milk in it.
Then there is the other controversy of tea bags versus loose tea. I did
some kitchen research on this myself. I used the exactly the same blend
of tea, the only difference was one was in bags. The result well, the
loose certainly had more flavour. It may have been that two teaspoons of
tea was greater than the contents of two tea bags but it looked roughly
the same. As far as taste goes that would be a matter of opinion, if you
prefer a stronger, fuller taste the loose tea was the winner.
In conclusion the subject of tea is much more interesting that you might
first imagine. Writing this article has certainly made me promise myself
to learn more about the story of tea and maybe that will be an excuse for
me to write some more on this fascinating herb.
Andrew Alston

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