Just my cup of tea. Perfect.

Tea. William Gladstone, George Orwell and P.G. Wodehouse, amongst others have referred to the perfect cup of our national beverage.

The colour of your tea can be an emotive subject. I agree with George Orwell in that,

”one strong cup of tea is better than 20 weak ones. All true tea-lovers not only like their tea strong, but like it a little stronger with each year that passes”                                 George Orwell, “A Nice Cup of Tea,” Evening Standard, 12 January 1946

However, I know perfectly normal, decent people who just seem to show the teabag to the hot water and then add milk until it’s a pale grey/beige colour. It’s not something that is recognisable as tea. But hey-ho….

We make a lot of tea at The Garden Shed Cafe. I think that it is a defining moment when a would-be-vegan discovers the perfect milk for their cup of tea and suddenly ditching dairy seems much, much easier. Our customers are generally always impressed with the plant milk we use as it neither tastes of anything in particular and it doesn’t curdle. Two incredibly important components of a perfect cuppa.

So excuse me for a post that could be teaching my Gran to suck eggs (she never did, btw), but making a perfect cuppa is a very important thing to get right. Didn’t Boy George say that a cup of tea was better than sex?

And I will share with you our secret plant milk sources at the end…..

First things, first, get your tea making apparatus together,

  1. teapot (and tea cosy if it’s a particularly cold day)
  2. tea cups and saucers, teaspoons
  3. plant based milk (we’re getting to it….)
  4. sugar as an option, we use sugar cubes
  5. tea strainer, as below
  6. Tea (3)
  7. A friend or two to share tea with

warming the pot

Not so important when temperatures are high, but definitely worth the extra effort on the other 350 days of the year.

So boil a full kettle and pour the boiling water up to about halfway up the teapot. Leave for a minute or so, until the teapot is hot to touch, then pour it away. All of it.


Now for the ‘math’ bit.

People get confused by this bit. You can, of course, use teabags. However, for a really fresh tasting brew it’s much, much better to use Loose Leaf English Breakfast Tea.

Quite simply, you add to the empty teapot a teaspoon of English Breakfast tea per person, plus an extra one for the pot. So if you really want to get mathematical,

X = n + 1

where X is the number of teaspoons to add to the pot and N is the number of people who require tea

*When the loose tea is very ‘dust’ like, I tend to use less. When the tea is in much bigger pieces, I tend to use more.

When you’ve added the tea, pour in the boiling water (re-boil the kettle if necessary). You need enough to fill the number of cups that you are using, twice.

Tea (4)

Cover with a cosy if it’s a cold day.

Now for the pouring….

Another source of arguments here…Milk before pouring or after?

Leave to brew for a few minutes first. Then have the obligatory discussion about who will pour.  Generally, I don’t pour milk in first, I think it’s a bit presumptive. After all, I have no idea how strong people like their tea.

Stir the pot, then balance a strainer over the cup, like this

Tea (5)

Then pour the tea. The strainer will catch any loose leaves,

Tea (1)

And that’s all there is to it.

Add plant based milk and sugar if necessary. Sit back and enjoy.

Tea (2)

Oh yes, I was going to let you in on our plant milk secret….

We always use soya as we have found that other nut milks are too flavoursome for a decent brew.

After A LOT of research we discovered that Asda’s SMARTPRICE unsweetened soya milk is one of the best plant milks for tea. It’s so good that we have had customers double check that we haven’t used dairy milk. And it’s the one I use at home.

A very close second is Aldi’s own unsweetened soya milk. Aldi’s own products are GM free too which is good news.

Sainsbury’s own unsweetened soya milk is a little more expensive but tastes good in tea too.


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