“I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground
“In Ireland, you go to someone’s house, and she asks you if you want a cup of tea. You say no, thank you, you’re really just fine. She asks if you’resure. You say of course you’re sure, really, you don’t need a thing. Except they pronounce it ting. You don’t need a ting. Well, she says then, I was going to get myself some anyway, so it would be no trouble. Ah, you say, well, if you were going to get yourself some, I wouldn’t mind a spot of tea, at that, so long as it’s no trouble and I can give you a hand in the kitchen. Then you go through the whole thing all over again until you both end up in the kitchen drinking tea and chatting. In America, someone asks you if you want a cup of tea, you say no, and then you don’t get any damned tea. I liked the Irish way better.”
― C.E. Murphy, Urban Shaman
“If leeches ate peaches instead of my blood, then I would be free to drink tea in the mud!”
― Emilie Autumn, The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls
How to Make a Proper Cup of Tea!
by Máirtín de Cógáin
To make yourself a satisfying cup of tea in the Irish sense of things, you need to start off with the right elements…
1. Fresh Cold Drinking Water
2. Good tea (Barry’s Tea is highly recommended)
3. A form of boiling the water (An electric kettle is the most efficient)
The Irish traditionally have always made hot, black tea, and drink it with milk and occasionally sugar.
You must use water that you are willing to drink cold if youre aiming to drink it hot. This should be not the stuff you boiled a few hours ago and is still in the kettle. You want to start out with Fresh Cold Drinking Water. This should be brought to the boil (100C or 210F).
Your electric kettle will click off at this point or if you are using a whistle kettle, wait for it to reach High G. This part of the process can not be rushed!
At this point, if using a Tea Pot, spill some of your boiling water into the vessel to ‘Scald the Pot’. Swirl that scalding water around with the lid back on your pot for a few moments until the pot is sufficiently warm, then throw that water out of the Tea Pot, this is no longer part of the beverage (let it cool and water your flowers with it if you wish). This takes the cold out of the vessel and leaves it feeling quite hot to touch.
Now, put your tea into the pot…2 bags is more than enough and a spoon óg of any loose leaf tea would equate to a bag (if you have no access to a tea pot use a cup at this point).
This is where the taste is lost more often than not…The most important piece of knowledge I shall now bestow on you. REBOIL the water! Back to High G! Subsequently, as the kettle clicks off, pour your water while it is on a rolling boil on top of your leaves or bags already inside the Tea Pot. This is referred to as ‘Wetting the tae’. Put your lid on, find the tea cosy that your Granny knitted you to keep the heat in and leave it set for 3 minutes, 5 minutes if you like it strong and 7 if you think you are mighty!
In some parts of the country, people have the tradition of putting the Tea Pot with the tea already wet back on the hob to keep it warm, but this heating from underneath is not recommend as it makes tar of the drink and some would say, ‘you could trot a mouse across it’.