The BEST cup of tea!


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The BEST cup of tea!

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Dez 6, 2018, 2:02 am

That exceedingly rare time when I get up early (like, still AM for a good few hours!) and I'm the only one in the house so everything is quiet, and I sit in a comfortable chair, facing a window, and do nothing but drink my tea that I actually put some attention into making so it isn't over steeped or over-sweet or cold because I forgot and left it too long.

Best cup of tea?

Editado: Dez 6, 2018, 2:17 am

Definitely the first of the morning when I have a nice pot of Assam all to myself.

Editado: Dez 6, 2018, 4:01 am

When I'm tired, low energy levels, perhaps a bit dehydrated, then a cup of sweet tea (even though I don't normally take sugar in my tea) is the best.

One example would be after spending all day working in the hot and physical environment of a steam locomotive footplate. A tin mug of "footplateman's tea" (very similar to "builder's tea", except a different environment), with water boiled in the locomotive's firebox, and the tea brewed in a traditional tea billy. Milk and two or three spoonfuls of sugar are added. Sometimes it's made with condensed milk, as ordinary milk tends to go off during the course of a hot day, and sugar gets congealed in the damp atmosphere of a locomotive footplate.

The other common example which springs to mind is when, after spending hours riding in the back of a lorry in the fifty degree (Celsius) heat of the Sudanese desert, you come across a small grass-roofed stall by the side of the road where a woman is selling hot black tea flavoured with mint, cloves or other spices in small tea glasses with about six spoons of sugar (you have to negotiate hard to get that reduced). You might think that what you need is a long drink of cool water, but actually the hot sweet tea is much more refreshing.

Dez 6, 2018, 4:24 am

Well now I'm curious as to what some of those terms mean. I've been going through old stuff I've had packed away and came up with a couple things called "Kelly Kettles." They had little inserts to explain how they worked. Kind of a neat idea, though not sure how much tea one would make. I should give it a test at some point, just in case our power goes out for several days again and we're stuck cooking with whatever works on top of the wood burner.

Editado: Dez 6, 2018, 5:07 am

>4 WeeTurtle:

I have a ghillie kettle - I think there are different spellings. It's basically a water jacket surrounding a flue with a hole at the bottom where you can stuff dry grass, twigs and other small combustibles, light them and boil the water. I think it comes from the Gaelic word ghillie, which means a sort of gamekeeper, a chap who accompanies and takes care of the rich when they are hunting or fishing. I have used my ghillie kettle when camping.

Of the things I mentioned in my post, a billy can (at least in railway terminology) is an enamel can where the lid is an upturned tin mug. It has a wire handle at the top that you can use to hang it over a fire. Billies are referred to in Australian folklore (cf Waltzing Mathilda) and I presume that's where the term came from. On a steam loco we don't usually put the billy itself into the firebox - instead we use an old tin can with a wire threaded through the top. When it's boiled, we tip it into the billy with the tea bags to let it brew. We then add the milk and sugar (or condensed milk).

"Builder's tea" is a slang term in the UK for the tea which construction workers reputedly used to drink all the time - hot, thick, milky and sweet. LIkewise "footplateman's tea", which railway locomotive crews drank, as explained.

Dez 6, 2018, 5:38 am

Interesting stuff. Yeah, the "Kelly Kettle" is supposedly an Irish thing, or that's what the company that makes them has decided on. We just went camping with mom's old Aladdin thermos with a cap/cup. Alas, the cap is now sitting at the bottom of the Pine River. Do not set a cup on the side of a canoe.

Tea by a campfire is pretty good, especially after setting up camp and everyone is sitting down after having changed out of clothes that have gotten wet in some fashion. The air is damp but clothes are dry and warm. At that time, it was mom's giant black kettle right in the fire, retrieved with a stick, and tea out of speckled-blue tin cups.

Dez 21, 2018, 7:38 am

The term 'billy' came about from the gold-mining times in Victoria in the 1800s. Meat was scarce so was often imported. A common import was canned meat from France with a brand name 'Bouilli'. As the men couldn't pronounce the French, it soon came to be called 'billy'. The metal cans the meat came in were of course re-used and were found to be the perfect size for boiling water over the fire. Hence the term 'billy'. An enterprising fellow quickly opened a factory manufacturing billy cans and soon there were different sizes available.
(from The Adelaide Advertiser Sept 18 1937)

More than you ever needed to know about the Aussie billycan!

And just a poster from 1940s Australia!

Dez 21, 2018, 9:43 am

>7 JayneCM:

Thanks for that explanation. I learn something new every day!

Dez 21, 2018, 10:39 am

The BEST cups of tea for me are those that immediately follow a major crisis and signify that I am safe and warm and home. And, tea snob that I am, inevitably, those "best" cups are something plain and simple like plain ol' bagged Red Rose.