It is quite possibly the most British solution to any problem faced. Stressed? Have a cup of tea. Ruthlessly dumped? Tea will make it better. What is the first thing people do when they get in to work – often even if they were late? Make a cup of tea. What’s the best kind of procrastination? Making a pot of tea.
I am a tea lover. Unfortunately, I have been told many a time, that perhaps tea ‘brewing’ is not my forte. Something that should be a relatively simple task – bag + water + milk is enough to cause high levels of distress. But somehow, tea brewing often becomes a most stressful task. For example, when you ask someone how they take their tea and they proceed to give you an intense description of they like it.
What does someone mean when they say a dash of milk? What is a dash?! What does it mean!! At least when people ask for sugar they often specify in great detail how much to put in – ‘’about 1.5 teaspoons’’. But then this again raises its own never ending questions – do you want a heaped teaspoon? A level teaspoon? More importantly, why are you having sugar in your tea anyway?! Or the most confusing tea related description of all – the elusive builder’s tea. What is a builder’s tea? How strong should a builder’s tea be? But the tea related problems don’t just end there. When you are the brewer, there is so much pressure on you to get the optimum cuppa. An issue that I often face when placed in charge of tea making, which is often very heartlessly pointed out to me, is my impatience when brewing. ‘’You just don’t leave the tea bag in long enough Soph!’’ or ‘’Sophie that tea is grey and looks like rats piss – did you even squeeze the bag’’?!
I often find myself trying to put the tea bag back in, but then causing myself a great overflow as I do so. Out comes the tea towels, frantically mopping up the tsunami that I’ve just caused trying to please everyone. Maybe it would just be easier if every tea lover everywhere just carried a colour chart. Then you could just say I’ll have colour number 5, and it takes the stress out of tea brewing for everyone! Let us not even mention the differing viewpoints on the adding milk debate – pre or post bag?
Then, after the tea is brewed you face the following trials and tribulations.
- Getting the tea out to your waiting friends/colleagues/plumber/builder
You end up spilling it everywhere as you frantically juggle either a tray or 3 cups, down the mug, down yourself – it’s just a nightmare. Then you have the faff of trying to find coasters in order to preserve the tea table!
- Forgetting your tea
We’ve all had it – that god awful moment when you realise you have forgotten to drink your tea. You touch the mug – you get that moment when you realise ‘IT’S STILL WARM’! Then you go to take a sip – and you realise you have been deceived. The tea is actually stone cold. Oh the shame.
- The biscuit drop
And let’s not forget the heart-breaking moment as you settle down, to finally enjoy that cup of tea…you dunk your biscuit in…and it breaks and falls back in. Then it dawns on you that not only have you lost a precious half biscuit, but that your cup of tea is now quite possibly ruined, with lots of soggy biscuit bits at the bottom. Not ideal.
- The ‘’lost’’ tea bag
But the worst kind of tea brewer – and this is one thing I am not guilty of – are those who leave the tea bag in the cup. It all looks fine, it may even look like the ideal cup of tea, but lurking in the depths, a tea bag lies in wait to come and take you by surprise.
Tea brewing – all very stressful. But nothing beats that feeling when you finally get the finest cup of tea; a tea that is perfectly brewed and at optimum temperature so you can drink without burning off your taste buds. Ahh.