Friday, January 22, 2010

The Perfect Cuppa

I've got a lot on my mind at the moment with the move getting closer. I am overwhelmed. Anyway, I thought a post might help to calm my nerves. And I got to thinking…..what would the Irish do?

When things get tough and you need to steady yourself, you can either a) have a stiff drink---not recommended on a Friday morning or b) have a cup of tea.

Admittedly, any British person would do the same as regards the tea but I'm talking about being in Ireland, so.

First of all, you should know that there is an art to making a proper pot of tea. Of course we do the single tea bag and boiling water double dunk here too but for those times when a good cuppa is in order you have to follow some rules.

Before anything else, you have to have good tea. Here it's okay to do bagged tea as long as it's Barry's. Next, you have to prepare the teapot. You can either fill it with very hot tap water or boil a kettle (everyone has electric kettles here) for this purpose. While the water warms the teapot you can boil your kettle full of water for the tea. Never boil the same kettle of water twice as the bubbles from the first boil do something very bad to the taste of the tea when reboiled. Then when your freshly boiled water is ready you empty the teapot of its warm contents, add your teabags and pour over boiling water. A quick stir and lid on for the tea to steep.

Some people like it weaker so they request the 'first pour'. Others don't mind and can drink it down to the last, burnt umber cup. If you sip slowly and yours gets too cool you can always ask for a 'hot drop' to warm and strengthen it up.

Of course there's the milk. To do it the old way, you pour warmed full-fat milk in the bottom of your cup and then top up with tea. This allows you to see how diluted it will be and make sure it's to your liking. Some take sugar, some don't.

Tea made, perhaps a warm scone with cream and jam, you relax. Ahhhh. The first sip of tea is heaven. It quenches thirst, warms your bones, and is a balm for windblown and frayed nerves. Of course the experience is enhanced by the wit, laughter and company of good friends.

Anyone for a cuppa? I feel better already.

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