Nibbles: Tea & Toast

This week, a little observation on this classic British breakfast combo, from the perspective of this Canadian.  What could be more British than a good cuppa?  TV adverts will tell you that Yorkshire Tea is a proper brew; it comes from Brewtopia, after all.  The PG Tips Monkey tells us to Keep it Tea.  In Canada, we all know that the Queen drinks Red Rose.  My tea of choice is Twinings Earl Grey, a wonderful, aromatic blend with just the right amount of bergamot to add a hint of citrus.
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Preparing for this trip, I confirmed that Twinings is, indeed, produced in the UK.  Right, no need to bring my own.  We arrive, hit the stores, stock up on essentials, I brew a cup and… cue the ‘scratch on a vinyl record sound effect.’ This isn’t right at all!  Where’s the lovely aroma?  Why so bitter?  Try as I might, I could not brew a proper cup of tea.  After a bit of whining and moaning, a friend shipped Twinings Earl Grey tea from Canada.  Absolutely ridiculous.  I know.

Other important details to consider: milk or not?  Milk first or tea?  China mug?  Bag? Loose leaf?  It’s all very serious business.  One thing I learned the hard way: when ordering tea, be very specific or you risk getting a sweet, milky cup of something truly horrible!
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Now, toast.  Rather, the toast holder.  Seen on tv many times, this wire doomahicky was a welcome sight on our table.  I have determined the specific reasons for using the holder rather than stacking toast on a plate.

1. To guarantee getting toast crumbs on the table cloth.

2. To quickly cool the toast, keeping the butter from melting.

Analysis complete.  I think it’s time for a nice cuppa all the way from Canada.  Thanks, Sue.

 

 

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25 thoughts on “Nibbles: Tea & Toast

  1. I’m with you, my Earl Grey tea has to be perfect, however it is a surprise that Twinings Earl Grey in the UK is different from that sold in Canada and I presume the US too. I have ordered Davidson’s Organic Earl Grey for years from Amazon as it is very heavy on the Bergamot. Just my cuppa!

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  2. I’m surprised that Twinings differ their recipes! Maybe it’s something to do with the water too?
    We Brits get very protective over our cups of tea and they have to be made to exacting standards. Basically I would say there is no definite way to make a cup of tea, but everybody will tell you there’s is the right way!
    Hope you find the right cuppa, I recently reviewed an earl grey with a hint of vanilla from Adagio that was much softer tasting. Maybe that would be a good one to try?
    Rory,
    http://teaandthat.com

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  3. Leah,
    I do truly love your blogs but must challenge you when it comes to tea the Queen may drink. Red Rose has gotten so weak due to so little tea in a bag (I’m sure due to cost saving) I can’t imagine that she still drinks Red Rose..lol. I bit more research?

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  4. I know what you mean about the tea tasting different. years ago when I drank too much coke, I’d swear that US coke was different that Canadian coke. of course, no one believed me but I could tell the difference.
    Enjoy your tea.

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  5. Asking for clear tea (without the wretched milk) is like ordering a burger without the patty in the UK. Tradition has the milk being poured into the cup first to temper the hot tea and thus preventing the fine china from cracking. As we found when we took our very young children to the UK, Heinz of England uses less sugar than Heinz baby food sold in Canada or the US. The babes wouldn’t eat it. So too with your tea. Probably a slightly different mix for each market. Smart move to have the Canadian version sent over. But the clouted cream for your scones and jam, totally better.

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  6. Tempering the china! That makes so much sense. It would be one of those things people still do, even if using massive ceramic mugs, not really knowing why it is the best way! We also find that potato chips (crisps) and other foods have far less salt that in North America. It is these little things that really jump out at a person.

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  7. Chocolate milk tastes different everywhere I go, as well. In Mexico and the US, it is loaded with sugar. Here, it has less sugar than in Canada, and more cocoa taste. It is a bit…. chalky?… to me, though.

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  8. Haha… I don’t really see my friend, Liz, drinking anything zo pedestrian as some bag from a box, in reality. I picture some fantastic blend of loose leaves, perfectly steeped. I will be sure to ask her when we run into one another. I suppose, now that we are in Wales, I am more likely to run into Charles!

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  9. Hmm… not sure about the vanilla with my Earl Grey. Might be worth a try. I’m not one of these funky flavoured tea girls, but I never say nevery (well, until you roll out insects for breakfast. No. Just no)

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  10. Thanks, Chris. Honestly, it felt like some sort of slap in the face of my host country, but that first morning sip had to be right.

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  11. Thanks for the tip. I will make note of that one. I also plan to take home some of the UK tea and will be performing a side by side taste test with my local artisian well water. I am sure everything tastes better with that!

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  12. I can understand that, as a die hard Earl Grey drinker, my mum was not entirely convinced by the vanilla addition. I enjoyed it though!
    I agree, cereal or toast will do just nicely thanks!

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  13. When I was a kid my English mum insisted on teaching me the “proper” way to make tea. As David L said, the milk had to be poured into the cup first to ensure the fine china doesn’t crack from the heat of the tea. When I first went to visit the English side of my family mum was so very proud that I remembered how to make “proper tea” for them. Then I totally blew it because I drink my tea plain and I wasn’t about to ruin my tea just because the rellies think it must be sweet and milky. Scandalous!!!! LOL

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  14. Ah! I’ve always wondered about those toast holders. I want my toast hot and the butter melted in nice and fatty, thank you. Perhaps the English feel that makes it soggy? Not if you have good butter, but oleo would. Curious that the English version of your tea brand differs so from the Canadian, but not totally surprising. I suppose the company knows how to please its market.

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  15. Ah, yes. Doing things just right for the relatives. Such a fun game.

    I find the whole tea thing is simplified by sticking to pubs and ordering beer. Lesson learned!

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  16. It’s also funny which little details we notice about different cultures. The big things are surprising at all, but these finer details get me every time.

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  17. Oh I love to hear the reactions of non UK people have towards our little customs, and the Making of Tea seems to be a real *thing* among you, haha! Interesting point made above, about the milk being put in first to stop the china from cracking. Hmmm, don’t seem to have that problem with a big ol’ mug!

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  18. David, who made the comment about adding milk in first, is a Canadian originally from the UK. I bow to his knowledge.

    I try to be very careful when commenting on other people’s customs and traditions. I am observing differences, and sometimes I joke about them, but I try to be respectful. It can be a fine line.

    While in the UK, if I ever possible go too far, I will just play the “I’m from the Commonwealth, too” card!

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