Thursday, July 7, 2011


A nice cuppa tea is perhaps the most quintessentially British beverage in existence. Not surprising then, that it appears in the Harry Potter series more than any other food product. In fact, it appears no less than fifty-three times over the course of the seven books! It's first appearance occurs on page seven of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, when "Mrs. Dursley sipped her tea through pursed lips" (Rowling 7). Of course tea has much more memorable moment in Prisoner of Azkaban, when Professor Trelawney first interprets Harry's tea-leaves as 'The Grim,' allegedly foretelling his impending doom. But regardless of when your favorite cup of tea is shared within the Harry Potter saga, today we will prepare a proper British cup of tea.

According to Dinah Bucholz in The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook, the correct process is as follows:

1. Boil water in a kettle.
2. After the water finishes boiling, warm the teapot by swirling some hot water inside and then pouring it out, which will ensure the tea will stay boiling hot when you serve it.
3. Fill the teapot with as many cups of boiling water as you have guests, and put in one heaping teaspoon of tea per cup, plus one more.
4. Let the tea steep for 3 or 4 minutes, then bring the teapot to the table, with a sugar bowl and creamer.

I have to add that when I was studying abroad in Lincolnshire England, every Briton I met took his/her tea "white." This means that the tea and cream/milk were poured in equal parts, often at the same time, and generally with one or two teaspoons of sugar.

I also recommend that unless you want to read your tea leaves like Professor Trelawney (and skip drinking the last swallow of tea), that you use a tea ball or tea strainer with loose tea-- otherwise you'll be choking on the dregs at the end!

So there you have it! A proper British cuppa! Bottoms up!

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