“A Nice Cup of Tea” is an essay by British writer George Orwell, first published in the Evening Standard newspaper of 12 January 1946. It is a straight-faced discussion about the craft of making a cup of tea, including the line: “Here are my own eleven rules, every one of which I regard as golden.”
Orwell’s rules cover such matters as the best shape for a teacup, the advisability of using water that is still boiling, and his preference for very strong tea. He also considers what he calls “one of the most controversial points of all” – whether to put milk in the cup first and add the tea, or the other way around. Orwell says tea should be poured first because “one can exactly regulate the amount of milk whereas one is liable to put in too much milk if one does it the other way round.” “I maintain that my own argument is unanswerable,” he writes.
“If you look up ‘tea’ in the first cookery book that comes to hand you will probably find that it is unmentioned; or at most you will find a few lines of sketchy instructions which give no ruling on several of the most important points.
This is curious, not only because tea is one of the main stays of civilization in this country, as well as in Eire, Australia and New Zealand, but because the best manner of making it is the subject of violent disputes. [Read More…]