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You are here: Home Life in Blogs & photos You don't know squat about making English tea
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25/09/2009You don't know squat about making English tea

You don't know squat about making English tea Our regular blogger and software architect, Tom Caroll, explains why American's have no idea how to make a really good cup of British tea...

If you're lucky enough to be moved over here at some company's expense, they generally provide you some cultural classes to help you integrate more smoothly. One of the classes given to Americans moving to the UK teaches you how to make tea. Really.

There's such a thing as a 'proper cup of British tea', and Americans don't know a damn thing about making one. It may be hereditary from what I can see; my wife has a friend named Elizabeth who's from Mississippi and lives in Berkshire with her British husband, but although she's lived here in the UK since she attended Cambridge, her husband still doesn't allow her to make the tea. In her blog, Elizabeth writes:

Photo supplied by Adactio (Flickr)"There are so many rules on how to make a cup of tea correctly. One friend puts milk in straight after she puts the tea in but my husband declares this approach totally wrong. He puts a little boiling water in first, lets it brew, then tops it up and milk goes last.

I, for all the years I have lived here, have never learned to make a 'proper' cup of tea, and the stuff I make has no flavour. Therefore, whenever I see a British person near a kettle of boiling water, I make them make me a cup of tea because, as my husband says, I can't be trusted with this task."

When we moved back to Chicago after living here the first time, the movers came with their own electric kettle for making tea on their breaks, and it was pretty clear that they'd moved enough Americans that they knew that if they wanted a proper tea they'd have to take care of it themselves. Therefore, Americans visiting here should just give in and leave the tea-making to the experts. And don't even mention sun tea.

Tom Caroll / Expatica


Tom is from Chicago who has been living in the UK on and off since late 2000. He resides on his farm in the country between London and Cambridge, and lives with his wife, son, two cats, and a garden full of chickens. Tom is a software architect/ developer, expat, family man, cultural observer and in his words a ‘curser of garden weeds’.  Republished from Tom's blog The Transplanted Yankee

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