In my previous post i used the fact that Americans drink cold tea as an attempted humorous entry point to how they are now becoming more aware about Global Warming.
I long thought that Iced Tea was one of those things that just happened to sound like it was made from cold tea, like Dr Pepper isn't actually made by doctors or contain peppers, until it was confirmed to me by my Canadian colleague that actually, it really is just cold tea.
Apparently it is made the same way as us Brits but instead of pouring it into a cup with milk and sugar and drinking it hot with a biscuit or scone, they put it into a glass full of ice and drink it cold.
I then realised that with an expected 4.6 million international visitors coming to our green and pleasant land this summer for the Olympics, that there is going to be mayhem in cafes and restaurants around the capital with our national beverage.
We faced a choice of trying to be helpful to our guests and accommodating them in their drink choices by learning the difference between our tea and your tea but we decided nah, stuff 'em, they can have our tea and as more foreign nationals are in UK prisons for tea violations than any other charge, i think i should arrogantly point out how tea should be approached and not the wrong way the rest of you are doing it.
You will face 4 choices when asking for a tea. Leaves/Bag, mug/cup, black/white and with/without.
Your first option when deciding you want to chance a cup of tea is if you want it made from tea leaves or tea bags. The former version comes with a strainer to remove the leaves, the latter with a tea bag which is dunked until the correct tea colour is reached. Too pale and we are legally entitled to shout 'Piss drinker' at you while too dark and you will be ostracised from the local community. It is like breaking wind in a lift, not illegal but just not done.
Your second choice is cup or mug. A cup will be china and come with a saucer, teaspoon and a teapot while a mug is just an over sized cup with a teaspoon stuck in it.
The third choice is where most people get into trouble. If you choose the leaves and cup, you will then be presented with a small container full of milk. It is absolutely vital that you put the milk into the cup before pouring the tea.
Most arrests occur by people putting the water in first. This can crack the china due to the sudden heat of the boiling water hitting the delicate china which shatters the cup and sees you in front of a wig wearing judge for criminal damage and GBH charges if anyone is scalded by the steaming water.
Always, always, always put the milk in first to stop heat shock and a year sharing a cell with someone called Big Larry. If you are unsure, choose the mug option as the milk and water will already be added.
If you have opted for sugar then this is put in last and then the whole thing is stirred. Over stirring should be resisted as it does nothing to the flavour of the tea but the constant chinking of the spoon against the cup annoys everyone else around you.
I hope that in some small way i may have helped you how tea should be drank so we avoid any confusion on your visit here.