Saturday, 22 September 2012

More Tea, Vicar?

In 1946, George Orwell composed an essay for the London Evening Standard entitled A Nice Cup of Tea. We here at The D.C regard it as the most significant of all his works. In the introduction he describes tea as “one of the main stays of civilisation” before heralding his instructions for the ideal cuppa thus:

“When I look through my own recipe for the perfect cup of tea…”

[We love that he has a recipe.]

“… I find no fewer than 11 outstanding points… every one of which I regard as golden.”

(I pause from typing a moment to dab away a tear. Eleven rules for making tea. Eleven. Golden. Rules. T.S Eliot may not have rated G.O’s “animal story” very highly – but then I don’t see any significant tea tips from ol’ T.S among his jottings on pussy cats and his windy complaints about how rubbish modern life has become. And this from a Yank who was trying to be an Englishman. It’s a schoolboy error, Tommy boy: when in Rome, and all that. But then, on reflection, had Eliot stopped for a nice cup of tea and a sit down, perhaps we would have been denied The Waste Land. After all, nothing seems so bad after a nice cup of tea and a sit down.)

But back to Orwell. Here’s the first of his Eleven Rules:

“First of all, one should use Indian or Ceylonese tea. China tea has virtues which are not to be despised nowadays — it is economical, and one can drink it without milk — but there is not much stimulation in it. One does not feel wiser, braver or more optimistic after drinking it. Anyone who has used that comforting phrase 'a nice cup of tea' invariably means Indian tea.”

If you have great London tea or coffee recommendations, drop us a line at the usual address or leave a comment below.

More tea and coffee tips from the London Walks guides will be posted here over the next couple of weeks…


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  1. Loving this series! I've been on Kim's tea walk and have penciled in the next one in January.

    I would also like to introduce you to Kitty over at Tea at Three who is on a quest to find a decent cup of tea in London.

  2. Dear Tea In England,

    Thanks do much for encouraging words! I'll tell Kim to expect you on the next Tea & Coffee walk.

    Your blog is great and thanks for the tip re Tea at Three. I'm hoping to post a piece about both blogs later this week. In the meantime, thanks for reading and if you've any tea tips for our London Walkers (and our guides!) we'd love to hear 'em.

    Happy Walking (and Dunking)

    The Daily Constitutional