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A Perfect Cup of Tea with Tea Bits and Pieces Info

Here’s all you need to know about the ‘right’ way to make tea. No ceremony necessary. Read on…

Here is a simple digest of what works.

  1. Fill the kettle with fresh water from the tap. Yes, your grandmother was right: water that has been boiled already will affect the taste of the tea.
  2. As it approaches the boil, warm the teapot by rinsing it out with hot water.
  3. Treat the teapot to one rounded teaspoon (yes, or caddy spoon) of tea leaves for each person and one extra spoonful ‘for the pot’. That’s the orthodox rule, though many these days find it a little strong. You’re in charge here.
  4. Just before the kettle water boils, pour into the pot. It doesn’t need to be stirred.
  5. Leave to infuse for three to five minutes, depending on taste. Serve, using a tea strainer.

If making tea in a cup with a tea infuser or tea strainer , the same rule applies – one spoon of tea, use water just off the boil and infuse for 3-5 minutes.

If making tea using tea bags, use 1 bag for 2 cups of water, use water just off the boil and steep for 3-5 minutes. Remove the bags or tea will be very strong.

Good to have a few tea making essentials, such a sturdy strainer and the ever important teapot.

Milk in first or last?

This thorny question has divided tea drinkers for quite some time. Putting the milk in last was considered to be the ‘correct’ thing to do in refined social circles, but the reason for this is often forgotten. In the early days of tea-drinking, poor-quality cups were inclined to crack when hot tea was poured into them, and putting the milk in first helped to prevent this. When finer and stronger materials came into use, this was no longer necessary – so putting the milk in last became a way of showing that one had the finest china on one’s table. Evelyn Waugh once recorded a friend using the phrase ‘rather milk-in-first’ to refer to a lower-class person, and the habit became a social divider that had little to do with the taste of the tea.

Having said that, there is a good reason for adding the milk last – if you are drinking an unfamiliar tea, it is easier to judge the correct amount of milk to add once you have seen the strength and colour of the tea. On the other hand, putting the milk in first means that the fat in the milk emulsifies in a different way when the tea is poured, which does change the flavour of the tea, giving it a more even, creamier flavour. It also cools the tea slightly to a more acceptable drinking temperature. So, now that the days when one’s social position was judged by this sort of thing are long gone, you may pour your tea however you choose. If anyone comments, send them to us. Visit Fortnum’s to purchase their excellent teas 

Bits ‘N’ Pieces

The story I heard for adding milk to tea goes back 2-300 years when English pottery factories were attempting to copy the porcelain cups that came from China. A genuine Chinese cup could withstand any temperature, but if you poured hot tea from a pot into an English cup, it would crack. However, few people could afford genuine Chinese porcelain. The solution was to put a couple of teaspoons of cold milk into the cup first, then pour the hot tea onto the milk. This would reduce the heat shock on the cup and it would survive. Adding milk after you’d poured the tea meant you could afford the more expensive genuine porcelain, and hence was the start of the class divide that is supposed to surround the milk first/last issue. No idea if this is true or just a myth…

Milk in the cup first or after the tea is in the cup?  The aristocracy in the 1800’s used bone china tea cups, boiling water in first risked cracking the cups – only the barbarians with clay mugs did not. I wouldn’t risk cracking my Royal Albert tea set.

The idea of adding the milk first was started back when tea was served in fine china cups. The shock of boiling water caused the cups to break so the milk was put in first to take the instant shock of heat out of the tea. Also Just for the Americans, fruit teas are never served with milk and Earl Gray is served with fresh lemon. Loose tea should be strained but if its large loose tea, it’s not necessary but a very small splash of cold water will make the leaves sink to the bottom just as cold milk will.

“Builders Brew”, Brit tradesmen like their strong brew tea with milk and sugar. Builder’s brew with Earl Grey or English Breakfast is best.

DUNKING:  Digestive biscuits are less sweet and perfect for dunking. The best dunking biscuit is actually a hobnob but.  Chocolate digestive biscuit are very nice  too.  (American cookies are made to be dipped in cold milk or just by themselves. Especially Oreos and chocolate chip cookies.)

Hoi Polloi Tea Method: Make sure it’s in a nice big mug with a hearty handle.  Boil the water, pour over the tea bag in the mug.   Bash the tea bag around to get all of the good stuff out of it and then take the tea bag out. Use milk (whole or semi) added afterwards & sugar if desired.  Yummy!

I am Canadian and my favorite is an orange pekoe flavour & aroma.  I normally use tea bags & number one brand is Yorkshire Gold tea from UK (it is mind blowingly good!),  Salada & Red Rose in Canada. Make in the tea pot after warming it, allow 1 bag per 2 cups of water, let it steep for 5 or 6 minutes, remove the bags and cover the pot with a quality Canadian made Dome Tea Cozy. Serve with milk & sugar or drink black… Delish & very refreshing.

I like Loose tea, too…so many flavours to choose from.  Try this one: 3 parts Earl Grey blended with 1 part English Breakfast in a tea ball.  Made in the pot after warming it, let it steep for 5 or 6 minutes, remove the tea ball and cover the pot with a quality tea cozy.  Serve with or without milk & sugar. Delish!

A “proper” cuppa is NEVER made by placing a tea bag in a cup and pouring in boiled water. That’s how Americans and, increasingly, Canadians make tea. If time is an issue, it’s acceptable and along the same lines as instant coffee (ugh). It’ll do in a pinch, LOL.

Serious Tea Lovers would ever use teabags when real loose tea is available. Warm the teapot, put in one spoonful of tea per person and one for the pot, pour in boiling water and let it steep for two or three minutes – large leaf tea like Darjeeling needs slightly longer. Milk first or tea first ? Makes no difference to the taste but sugar ruins it.

My Aussie friend says the best tea in the world is Daintree from Australia. Visit a tea plantation to see what goes into teabags and you will never use one again.

Teapots & Cups:  I like using a teapot that does not change the flavour of the tea.  So, bone china, ceramic, stainless steel are some. The cup or mug should also be of a material that does not transfer its taste into my tea plus I like a thin-lipped cup or mug & not fussy as to brand, size or dollar value.  I love shopping in the charity shops (value village, sally ann, benevolent stores) & go to the dishes & china shelves first to see if I can find a new teapot & cups of any size.  These are what you will be served with in my home…

“We had a kettle; we let it leak:
Our not repairing made it worse.
We haven’t had any tea for a week…
The bottom is out of the Universe.”
― Rudyard KiplingThe Collected Poems of Rudyard Kipling

Your thoughts? Leave a comment…

Shirley Smile

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Ireland Passport with a Gaelic Welcome Tea Cozy

Ireland Passport with a Gaelic Welcome and a collage of Irish iconic symbols.

I actually made this Irish “Tae” cozy for a friend & during the research, I found the most popular Irish brands of tea are Bewley’s, Barry’s, and Lyon’s’, which I included in the gift basket. They prefer loose tea not bags as they like their tea very dark.  Read More at Irish Fireside. – (have you figured out that we are tea lovers?)  Shirley

Gaelic “Cead Mile Failte” translated is “A hundred thousand welcomes”.

Harp Description: This ancient instrument has long symbolised the island of Ireland. It’s Nationalist origins come from when Owen Roe O’Neill, a Gaelic Chieftain, adopted a green flag incorporating the harp.

Shamrock Description: is one of Ireland’s national emblems. Legend has it that the shamrock was used by St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, to illustrate the Holy Trinity. While trying to convert the Irish into Christians, St. Patrick used the shamrock to explain the holy trinity with each leaf representing the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The three leaves of a shamrock are also said to stand for faith, hope and love, hence its widespread use on St. Patrick’s day on 17 March.

This dome tea cozy comes in small for 2-4 cup and larger for 6-8 cup tea pots,  Included is a tea pot mat / trivet so your tea pot will be completely insulated all around to keep your tea nice and hot. Linen and cotton blends used throughout construction. 2 layers of insulation, one of insulbrite & one of thick poly is encased in the outer shell & the lining.

Buy 2-4 cup Tea Cozy

Buy 6 to 8 cup Tea Cozy

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Snuggie Tea Cozy Wrap New Design

My once popular Snuggie Tea Cozy wrap was losing popularity so I asked some of the stores that carry them for feedback. They responded with the ribbon closure seems to be the issue for arthritic / rheumatism hands, men & kids are put off too by fussing with a ribbon to close the top when making a pot of tea.

These are the changes that I made.  Now has plastic elastic in the drawstring channel and closes with a Velcro tab.  The lid is exposed for filling the teapot with water or for topping up the pot with more hot water.

The sewn in bottom is back in the design, so it is easy to place the teapot inside the cozy.  The bottom has a layer of insul brite to help keep the tea hot longer plus help absorb any drips from the spout.

The handle & spout remain on the outside of the cozy for easy access to pour your tea.

Buy your Snuggie Tea Cozy Here

Snuggie Tea Cozy Ready to useRemove teapot by opening the velcro tabMake tea & replace the teapot in the snuggie cozy.New! Cozy with sewn in insulated bottom.
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Grimsby Ontario, Places of Interest

Forty Mile Creek Side Trail

Forty Mile Creek Side Trail

This trail connects to the Bruce Trail and the Waterfront Trail and provides a walk through downtown Grimsby. One end of the trail is the relaxing waterfront at Lake Ontario and the other end is the picturesque Niagara Escarpment.

Access Points
– Forty Mile Creek Park/Pumphouse located at Elizabeth Street & Lakeside Drive
– Bruce Trail, Gibson Street (Grimsby Lions Pool, Coronation Park for parking)


 Waterfront Trail

The trail passes along pretty residential streets, some of which feature historic cottages.  The quaint cottage-style homes have been well preserved and are brightly painted.  You can enjoy another piece of history at the Pumphouse at Forty Mile Creek Park with an open area suitable for picnics and relaxation.


Access Points
Forty Mile Creek Park/Pumphouse located at Elizabeth Street and Lakeside Street
Fifty Point Conservation area; QEW Exit 78 at Fifty Road


Further Information
Click here for Trail map and information   Grimsby Trails
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Fabric Gallery


Available Fabrics for your next Tea Cozy. To use these fabrics, use name of fabric in PayPal’s notes to seller. Sorry for the inconvenience but I am still working on this feature.