Culture Magazine

How to Make a British Cup of Tea

By Englishwifeindianlife

Brits and Indians are famous for their love of tea, it's something we have in common, but the taste of a cuppa and a chai are worlds apart. I love Indian chai but one of the things I missed so much when I moved to India was a nice British cup of tea. Obviously, you can buy a kettle (because to me, the limescale that builds up in a kettle adds to the flavour) and popular brands of tea bags in India, but it a was a while before I discovered that!

In the meantime, I made another discovery. It's not as spectacular as the discovery of the Higgs Bosen, but guess what, you can make a British style cup of tea without a kettle, with the loose tea leaves you will find in every Indian home. I know, scarily obvious, sometimes the most obvious things can escape you! You can make a British style cuppa in an Indian kitchen!

You will need:
  • A large mug or teacup (a small chai glass is just not big enough for the job!)
  • 2 teaspoons of tea leaves
  • Sugar, to taste
  • A tea strainer
  • A splash of milk
How I go about making a British cup of tea in an Indian kitchen:
  1. Heat enough water to fill two thirds of your mug or teacup a until it boils, with lots of bubbles, and then switch off the heat
  2. Add the tea leaves to the water and wait for three minutes, no longer than five, to allow the tea to brew. This is a big difference between Indian and British tea, the tea leaves are usually boiled with the water
  3. Once the tea has brewed to your satisfaction, strain into your mug or teacup
  4. Add a splash of milk to achieve optimal strength, take note of the colour, you are looking for a brown shade of orange.
  5. Add your sugar (usually one or two teaspoons) and stir gently
  6. Enjoy immediately as it should be the perfect temperature now, preferably with biscuits or cucumber sandwiches!
How to Make a British Cup of Tea
Some interesting British tea rules:
  • When stirring your tea, you shouldn't use a circular motion, but a semi-circle, back and forth. Do this very gently!
  • Always add the milk to the tea after it's brewed. You just don't know how strong the tea is, even if you have timed it perfectly. People will think you are strange if you add the milk first.
  • Hold your teacup with your thumb and finger.
  • If you are with guests, never look your guests in the eye whilst drinking your tea. You should look into the cup as you drink!
  • Don't dunk your biscuit in your tea, some may consider you vulgar (this rule I break, every time!)

My husband isn't a fan of tea made this way, he prefers a thicker, sweeter, chai style tea. I like both. We drink some small but strong chai together first thing in the morning and when he leaves for work, I get my mug and enjoy the warm hug of a soothing British style cup of tea!

About Lauren Mokasdar

Lauren moved to India from England after falling in love with an Indian man online, she now writes about her experiences as an English wife living in India.

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