(One difference I note between the British knitting mags I buy, versus the American mags I take: by and large, tea as a beverage is a much bigger feature in the British magazines. In my US mags, "Tea Time" (of course) tends to feature teas, and "Victoria" occasionally discusses them....but most of the other magazines assumes coffee drinking is the default. And that's fine, I get that coffee is the hot beverage most Americans drink....but I don't like coffee. It upsets my stomach. But I do like tea).
And I ran across George Orwell's (yes, that George Orwell) rules for making tea. Here are just a couple:
*"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 realized 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
recognized in the extra ration issued to old-age pensioners." (I have noticed that I drink my tea stronger now than I did when I first started taking tea. But you have to be careful: I find a little too much tea in the pot, or slightly too long of a steeping, and you get bitter tea, which is not good)
*"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." (Interesting, as I think we Americans have a mental picture of "proper Brits" using the shallow type of teacup, rather than the "beaker" (which is how those straight sided mugs are sometimes referred to over there). I always use a mug, I don't have any fancy teacups and if I did, they'd be too small for the quantity of tea I drink at a sitting)
*"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." (I always use skim milk anyway. It's what I keep on hand. I do think too much cream might be bad, it might curdle in the acidic tea. And lately, I haven't even been putting milk in. Some teas are better taken "neat.")
*"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 tealover 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." (Aha. I had read of "the British prejudice against sugar in one's tea," this may be where I first read it. I do find, more and more, I don't sweeten my tea....but there are still some teas that taste good to me with a bit of sugar in them. I would somewhat disagree with him on the "you are only tasting the sugar" bit - I don't put much in, when I do, and I can definitely still taste the tea.)