Lessons in Tea Making

‘I drink tea and I almost like coffe,’ says Jassey Radlett in one of Don’t Tell Alfred‘s more obviously good lines, ‘aren’t I grown up, Fanny?’

We have to confess that if a love of coffee is vital to growing up, we’re doomed. We have tried it in nigh on every conceivable combination; with sugar, with milk and sugar, with milk and no sugar, plain -and we can’t drink it. If we want a drink that lingers in our nose for hours, we’ll pour a cup of lapsang. Imagine our surprise to discover the tea in this morning’s Advent door was full of coffee. Well, green tea mixed with coffee.

Remember how we said we didn’t really want Cocoa in tea? We take it back. We’d sooner cocoa than coffee. If we have to choose. It’s not that we object to dressing tea up -we are lastingly indebted to the Advent Calendar’s inventors for a green tea that tastes of apple crumble in a cup. It’s just that in spite of our best efforts to give up childish things, we do not like coffee. Not in cake, nor ice cream, and not in tea.

Happily for us, today’s tea tastes mostly of green tea. You see, there are advantages to pouring out prematurely.  If it tastes of anything untealike, it’s chocolate, and as we say, if forced to choose…At least the first cup did. The taste of coffee emerged with a vengeance to prevent our ever swallowing more than a mouthful of the second cup.

We don’t presume to tell you how to take your tea of course. We leave that to other people.

Lessons in Tea Making

Kenny Knight

When I first learnt to
Pour tea in Honicknowle

In those dark old days
Before central heating

Closed down open fireplaces
And lights went out in coal mines

And chimpanzees hadn’t yet
Made their debuts on television

And two sugars
Was the national average

And the teapot was the centre
Of the known universe

And the solar system
Wasn’t much on anyone’s mind

And the sun was this yellow
Thing that just warmed the air

And anthropology’s study
Of domestic history hadn’t

Quite reached the evolutionary
Breakthrough of the tea-bag

And the kettle was on
In the kitchen of number

Thirty two Chatsworth Gardens
Where my father after slurping

Another saucer dry would ask
In a smoke-frog voice for

Another cup of microcosm
While outside the universe blazed

Like a hundred towns
On a sky of smooth black lino

And my father with tobacco
Stained fingers would dunk biscuits

And in the process spill tiny drops
Of Ceylon and India

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