The Secret to Making a Decent Cup of Tea

Not so very long ago, there was an old fashioned farm supplies business in my town. A place where you could buy anything from a pair of socks to a windmill.

But one day the bully boys in hardware moved into town with their big new store. And it wasn’t long before the owner of the old fashioned business decided it was time to retire. So he closed the door, put on his Akubra and rode off into the sunset.

Which is sad.

Because, in the front of that old fashioned business, was a little cafe. My wife and I often went there because the food was good and the lady who ran the cafe knew how to make a decent pot of tea.

And now it’s gone. The only place in town that made a decent pot of tea has closed.

Oh there’s plenty of cafes and coffee shops in town that say they make good tea. But not one of them know the secret. So now there’s nowhere in town where I can get a decent pot of tea and a corned beef sandwich.

Which is sad.

All the other places in town use teabags. And that’s the problem. The pervasiveness of teabags. They’re everywhere. I’m convinced that some people think that you can’t make tea without a teabag.

So let’s look at the teabag. Firstly, it’s filled with the lowest grade of tea. Good quality tea contains leaves which uncurl and expand when put in water. You can’t allow this expansion in a teabag or it would burst. So it’s filled with finely chopped leftovers.

Most of the goodness and taste and aroma has been taken out in the higher grade teas. With a teabag you’re using the dregs.

Teabags are convenient but we’re settling for low quality. That’s always a bad start. And I haven’t even mentioned the chemicals that go into making the bag itself.

The secret to making a decent cup of tea?

Start with loose tea leaves! Even a packet of loose leaf tea from the supermarket is much better quality than teabags.

Making the tea is not difficult. Put some tea leaves in the pot, add boiling water, allow to steep for three or four minutes, then pour yourself a decent cup of tea.

Too easy! Sit down and savour your cup of tea.

Maybe I could start a crusade to banish the teabag. I probably wouldn’t get much support though. The teabag has taken over the world of tea.

Which is sad…

I once went to an old machinery show in Toowoomba. After walking around half the show I came to the CWA hall. I went in and had a couple of cups of tea and some sandwiches. The tea was made with teabags of course, but that’s all you expect now.

Feeling refreshed, I continued my walk. Now, you wouldn’t believe it, but around the next corner the Jondaryan Wool Shed had an exhibition. They had a fire going and were boiling the billy and selling billy tea and damper. Now that’s fair dinkum tea!

Instead of drinking teabag tea I could have had billy tea and damper. But I learned my lesson. Now when I go to shows I check around first to see if anyone is making a decent cup of tea.

Try it for yourself.

You don’t have to take my word for it. Get some loose leaf tea and make a few cups yourself. You’ll thank me later.

Stay curious,

Richard Hoare.