Monday, January 25, 2010

British Traditions : Tea

What happens when you put a couple of English people in a room for 30 minutes or more?

One of them will suggest "Shall we put the kettle on?"

We drink a lot of tea. Coffee too, but there is nothing like a good cup of tea, and you will find me whipping up a batch of scones as the slightest excuse.

To make a cup of tea you need to start with boiling water.

The easiest, fastest way is to use a cordless kettle. Mine is from Williams Sonoma....

But I also like this one is from Target...

Product Image Aroma 2-Liter Electric Water Kettle

Make sure that you buy a cordless one, so that you don't have to unplug it every time you need to fill it up. Whenever I need boiling water for cooking, I always get it from the kettle, its so much faster than waiting for it to heat up on the stove.

Next you need the tea.

I use PG Tips which is available in most US grocery stores. I love teabags, because there is no measuring, just use one bag per cup...

PG tips

I also love Twinings English Breakfast.

If using a teapot...

Put a little boiling water in and swish it around to warm the pot, then toss that water into the sink. I always add one teabag per person and then one for the pot, so a teapot that serves 6 people needs 7 teabags. Add the boiling water and then allow to steep.

When ready to serve add the milk to the cup, and then pour on the tea, stirring as you pour. There has always been a great debate about which goes in the cup first, the tea or the milk. I prefer to add the milk first.

If making it in the cup...

Place the teabag in the cup, pour on the boiling water and allow to steep. Remove the teabag, and then stir in the milk. It doesn't taste quite as good this way, but if I'm just making a cup for myself then this is the way I do it.

My tea service is Wedgwood Clio.

Tea Pot And Lid in the Clio pattern by Wedgwood China

146 Shape Creamer in the Clio pattern by Wedgwood China

146 Shape Sugar Bowl And Lid in the Clio pattern by Wedgwood China

Footed Cup & Saucer Set-Leigh Shape in the Clio pattern by Wedgwood China

I also have the coffee service...

Coffee Pot And Lid in the Clio pattern by Wedgwood China

Globe Shape Creamer in the Clio pattern by Wedgwood China

Globe Shape Sugar Bowl And Lid in the Clio pattern by Wedgwood China

I have expresso cups...

Bond Shape Demitasse Cup And Saucer S in the Clio pattern by Wedgwood China

and coffee cups...

And I use these as my tea plates....

Salad Plate in the Clio pattern by Wedgwood China

I started collecting this service when I was in my twenties, and for many years, I would receive pieces as gifts for Christmas or my Birthday, and each time I entertained I would buy something new.

Take your time choosing your own china pattern, and use it. I love my china, and am much happier using it and buying the occasional replacement piece than I would be if it were packed away carefully in boxes.


  1. I love a good cup of tea. While I often go for coffee first thing in the morning, I do like a good cup of herbal tea. There's a young man in our office here on assignment from Great Britan, who always makes a point of having tea around 3:30 or 4 p.m. He always asks if we want a cup. Such a nice tradition.

  2. I am totally going to have to try PG Tips. Sounds fab! Also, your tea service pattern is so lovely! :) Thanks for sharing with us xox

  3. I am a big tea drinker, but I cheat and make my tea in my Sunbeam Tea Drop tea maker. I can make tea just like I like it. I prefer Twining, but I'm going to have to try PG tips.

  4. Thank you so much for this post! I have been wanting to get an electric kettle, but hadn't decided which one to get. I am a HUGE tea drinker, I don't drink coffee at all. I'll have to try PG Tips.

  5. Thanks for the post, It started on my first trip to Russia,on the train. The car conductors main task was make sure that there was always boiling hot water for tea. The Russians believe that it truly is not tea unless the water comes to a boil. I follow this to the letter. My Tea set and china is a Russian Cobolt Blue

    Always Bumby


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