Tea for Tuesday

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This advice from VeryBritishProblems may sound a bit peevish at first, but for tea, the microwave is very uneven. You’re likely to find the first sip warm, and then drink it faster only to discover the middle scalding. Best to boil new water and brew another tea bag for evenness. One thing I learned from Douglas Adams’s advice on the perfect cup of tea is to boil the water, fill your mug, and pour it out. Then refill the mug with the boiled water and a tea bag. Let it steep. This will warm the cup and keep your tea warmer longer. I’ve tried this method and it really is perfect.

We also invested in an electric kettle. It is very fast and does a great job, and by invest, we paid about $25, so it easily pays for itself if you start brewing your tea at home.

Proper British Tea. (c)2023

Tea Kettles

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​Our stainless steel tea kettle, which we loved, kept retaining sediment on the bottom as well as the inside flaking off. It was also really difficult to get it properly cleaned. Our municipal water tastes good, but it has crap in it. Once we decided to stop using it, we had been bolling our water in a saucepan for instant coffee and tea. We did this for more than a year. It’s doable, but without a lip for pouring it was sometimes messy. We finally decided this past winter to make the investment in an electric kettle. It’s not terribly expensive, but even thirty dollars just after Christmas is a budgetary stretch. My husband had been eyeing a Hamilton Beach brand; the kids thought I bought it because of my love for Lin-Manuel Miranda, but honestly, my husband picked it.

I liked it.

 I mean it worked well.

Fill it to the line with water, press the switch and wait until it flips back. No whistle, but when it was on there was a blue light. It seemed faster than the saucepan and even the stainless steel whistle blowing kettle, and he made his coffee and I steeped my tea. It lived on the counter next to the toaster as it made morning waffles or toast easier. Kind of like a breakfast nook or space like in those shelter magazines for home decor.

One day, a few weeks ago, I had a writing assignment. I knew if I left the house, I’d spend money and if I sat in my office chair, I’d play a game on my kindle, check Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and then fall asleep, so I moved the kettle to the dining room table and turned off my wifi, and in a final act of defiance, set up my keyboard.

The kettle plus, like slow cookers, is very short, so I moved the table closer to the outlet. I make this point to show my determination to accomplish my writing task. I am a professional after all.

I flipped the switch and the blue light glowed. Like an inspirational candle light. My loose tea was already in my strainer of infuser, resting on the rim of my Ireland mug. When the blue light and the switch went off, I poured the boiling water over the tea leaves.

After three minutes (or so, I don’t keep count; I check the color), I removed the strainer, added the sugar, and got down to work.

Soon after, my cup was empty but my writing wasn’t finished.

I didn’t even hesitate or think about; it was pure muscle memory: I pressed the switch. In about two minutes, maybe three I had a second boiling hot cup of tea.

Then I did it again.

And then one more time.

I could not have done this so easily standing at the stove waiting for the saucepan of water to boil.

This could completely change my writing ritual.

Not only that, using half the dining room table kept it from getting cluttered, so it was already half cleaned off for dinner. Win-win.

The point, though, is that tea makes the work possible. I mean, it makes all the things possible, right?

Tea makes the world go round, and should be thanked in every book dedication as far as I’m concerned.