Culture Street


Tea in Literature

On June 15, 2016


A cup of tea is quintessentially English. The British Standards Institute take their tea very seriously. They wrote a 5,000 word essay on how to make a proper cup of tea and won an award for it. This is the abridged version:

Use 2g of tea - plus or minus 2% - for every 100ml of water. ?Tea flavour and appearance will be affected by the hardness of the water used. ?Fill the pot to within 4-6mm of the brim with freshly boiling water. ?After the lid has been placed on top, leave the pot to brew for precisely six minutes. ?Add milk at a ratio of 1.75ml of milk for every 100ml of tea. ?Lift the pot with the lid in place, then "pour tea through the infused leaves into the cup". ?Pour in tea on top of milk to prevent scalding the milk. If you pour your milk in last, the best results are with a liquor temperature of 65-80C.

This report won the Ig Nobel Literary Award - an American spoof on the prizes for scientific and artistic excellence. The prize is given out for something which should never be reproduced.

Nevertheless, tea remains a centrepiece in many people’s lives. Tea makes us sit, stop and relax in a brief pause during our busy days. For years we have associated drinking a cup of tea with healing moments in our lives. When a friend has had bad news, we instinctively put the kettle on to make a cup of tea. It’s what we do. Tea and a biscuit, the perfect antidote to life.

Tea drinking has become of such great importance that even Lonely Planet now lists the 10 top places to drink a cup of tea in its 1000 Ultimate Experiences Guide. The number one place to drink tea is at The Ritz in London.

It is no wonder that the benefits of drinking a cup of tea are referred to constantly in literature.Here are a few of our favourites.

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