IT would be interesting to attend catering college for a day and sit on the tea making class.
I imagine that the tutor would say something on the lines of… “First make sure that you have a supply of slightly brackish water flavoured with a variety of unidentified chemicals. Pour it into an urn scaled with at least a decade’s worth of calcium deposits. Heat the water but do not allow it to reach boiling point.
Place an inexpensive tea bag into a metal pot designed in such a way that liquid cannot be poured from its spout without trickling down the side. Splash in some of the lukewarm water.
Ensure that the tea is an unpalatable brown sludge in which the only discernible flavour is that of the chemicals in the water. Charge as much as you get away with and try not to smirk while doing so. And that, ladies and gentleman, is how to make a proper British cuppa….”
If I sound bitter it is because on several occasions recently I have been served utterly disgusting tea in a number of otherwise perfectly acceptable and competent cafes in the Halifax and Huddersfield area.
If you can nominate a local café or other establishment that serves decent tea, let the readers know. But as far as I can tell, tea making has reached a nadir in this country. This is not a major issue, maybe, but there is a massive paradox.
The undoubted revolution in coffee-making – excellent if costly coffee is now widely available – has not spread to tea, which is increasingly the cheap and nasty option. Yet tea is still the drink that defines Britain. If our tea is ghastly, what does that say about us?