George Orwell wrote about a lot of things- but did you know that he wrote an essay about how to make tea? In his essay, 'A Nice Cup of Tea', Orwell sets out eleven rules for brewing the perfect cuppa. Although he was writing at a time when tea was rationed (2oz/57g per person over the age of five, with pensioners receiving 3oz/85g) and kettles have now become widespread some of the advice still stands the test of time:
1) Orwell recommends 'one should use Indian or Ceylonese tea' and maintains that 'Anyone who uses that comforting phrase 'a nice cup of tea' invariably means Indian tea'. He also recommends using loose leaf tea- but unlike modern tastes, advises his reader to not strain the leaves. This is not something we're fans of, but we do approve of his tea recommendations! Why not try our rich Assam Leaf, which has a strong, malty flavour which Orwell would have approved of (he liked his tea very strong!) or a lighter, refreshing Ceylon Orange Pekoe?
2) Orwell states that the tea should be made strongly in a teapot that has been warmed beforehand (your grandma knew the score!) He recommends a china teapot- although we think this one might be just the ticket although Orwell would rather you took the infuser out. We're not entirely sure about his recommendation to shake the teapot, though.
3) Next, you should pour your tea into a 'cylindrical breakfast mug', which would probably be similar in shape to this one. In reference to the age old question, Orwell does try to give both sides of the 'when should the milk go in?' argument, before giving up and stating that it should go in last. As he states- how can you know how much milk is the right amount if you can't see it?
4) Finally, Orwell recommends that, unless you are drinking tea in 'the Russian style' (i.e. sweetened with a spoon of strawberry jam), you should not put sugar in your tea. After all, he writes, "how can you call yourself a true tea lover if you destroy the flavour of the tea by putting sugar in it?" He recommends trying tea without sugar for a fortnight- and you will probably never want sugar in your tea again.
We think that these are pretty sensible rules, although we'll probably avoid drinking tea leaves and hope Mr Orwell doesn't mind- we're not convinced by his arguments for leaving them in!