Nowadays tea has quite a common place in our everyday lives, at least for most of us anyway. Obviously there are various different flavours and brands of tea on offer to us in turn making way for varied methods of brewing our tea. Subsequently making the topic of tea quite an intriguing and interesting topic of discussion.
Tea has been an important of our Irish culture for hundreds of years. Statistics show that the Irish drink more tea per annum than any other country with approximately 3 million tea drinkers in Ireland alone. The average Irishman or woman drinks roughly around 4 – 6 cups of tea a day!
The number one selling tea in Ireland is “Lyons tea”. Lyons tea has been present in Dublin since around 1902. Lyons tea originates from both Kenya and Indonesia. Barry’s tea is the second most popular tea in Ireland followed closely by Bewleys tea. These are only but a few of the many popular teas circulating in Ireland.
Making tea is quite a simple process, however there is a few different methods. Traditionalists prefer “loose tea” as opposed to the more common teabag in a cup. In order to make a loose cup tea all you need is some loose black tea of your choice, boiling water and a teapot.
Subsequently in order to make this loose tea you simply put one teaspoonful of tea per cup plus one extra for the pot into a warmed teapot. Then fill with freshly boiled water and stir a few seconds with a tall spoon to help "elevate" the tea. Allow the tea to steep for 2-5 minutes. The tea will get stronger the longer it steeps. Stir again before pouring. In the earlier days of tea making most people added milk to their tea in an attempt to make it healthier as some people got the idea black tea was unhealthy!
A Few Popular Blends Of Tea... ASSAM: A tea from Assam, North-East India. Assam tea is full bodied with a rich and malty flavour. An invigorating drink that is ideal for the early morning occasions. It takes milk and sugar nicely, if you so wish. DARJEELING: Known as the champagne of teas, Darjeeling is grown many thousands of feet above sea-level in the foot hills of the Himalayan mountains. Darjeeling is a very light and delicate tea characterised by a muscatel flavour. It is an ideal tea to drink with a large meal and best served without milk. CEYLON ORANGE: Ceylon Orange tea is delicate, light, and bright with a distinct flavour and a golden colour. It is perfect without milk or sugar and ideal for those who prefer light tea. A slice of lemon enhances the tea and is a very refreshing addition. ENGLISH BREAKFAST: English Breakfast tea is a blend of Indian and Ceylon tea, and is a balanced and stronger full-bodied tea with an elegant flavour. Avoid any blends with China tea included as the tea will be bitter and not a genuine English breakfast blend. ENGLISH AFTERNOON: The traditional English Afternoon tea is a blend of Darjeeling, Assam, and Ceylon teas. Although recommended mainly for afternoon or evenings, this is an excellent tea with a subtle fragrant flavour, appropriate at any time of the day. It is best taken without milk but is mostly drank with milk in Ireland and England. EARL GREY: Earl Grey is a blend of Indian and Ceylon teas, flavoured with the citrus oil of bergamot. It is the oil that gives the blend its characteristic 'scented' aroma and flavour. This is one of the most popular speciality teas and is usually an afternoon drink. Those that prefer a milder tea with less scent often drink ' Lady Grey ' tea instead. Milk should never be added to either blend.
The Famous Teapot This is the teapot used to make tea in our home. This teapot has been serving tea in our house for a long time. Apparently 7 or 8 years. This teapot is still in great condition after 8 years service. Subsequently it can probably be said that there is some sort of an emotional attachment between the teapot and the user.
In regards to what my family and I take along with our tea, everyone likes semi-skimmed milk with their tea. Surprisingly nobody in my household takes sugar with their tea.
Here’s the tin where we get our Punjana teabags from on a daily basis. This tin similar to the teapot has been in circulation in our home for a long time. As matter a fact this teapot used to belong to my granny and was passed on to my mother, so you can imagine how long this teabag holder has been around.
The Current Tea Situation Within My Own Home... Below is a video of how my first cup of tea in the morning would be made:
Tea cups and their significance… China Best Small Medium cup Large cup Everyday cup
Oddly enough nobody in my home drinks coffee. This is grand until my mother has visitors and somebody asks for coffee instead of tea which is usually a rare occurrence. As you’d expect there would be a bit of a panic on. Due to the fact that nobody at home makes coffee on a daily basis this makes this process much more complicated and time consuming.
Tea At Work… Tea at work is quite a simple quick process. There are five tools involved. The flask, the teabag, the cup and the spoon and last but not least the milk. In order for me to make my tea I simply pour the boiling water from the flask into the cup with the teabag already in it I then remove the teabag with the spoon and lastly add a small amount of milk making my perfect cup of tea.
For my first two cups of tea in my normal day I used the teabag and cup method. On the same day I went on to consume another two cups of tea ,one at 6 o clock and another around half nine. Both of these were made by my mother for more than one person therefore a teapot holding approximately 2 litres of tea was used in conjunction with three teabags and were served with various snacks. In regards to the brand of tea my household uses I found out that it has been punjana for a number of years now with no other type of tea on offer. As for milk I found out that everyone used semi-skimmed milk with there tea and no-one took black tea.
In regards to the tea situation at home I found out that there is no differences in tea flavours or different ways of making tea and that everyone takes their tea all the same with no-one taking sugar with their tea either. All in all I didn’t really find out anything I didn’t already know to begin with however I did realise that the process of tea making does take slightly longer than I already thought with no real difference between the teabag in a cup taking me 3 minutes and 40 seconds and the tea made for the whole five of us took around 5 minutes to brew leaving a time gap of around a minute and a half between both methods!