Proper tea is not theft

A few years back, Gordon Smith went to an open day at the main SAS training camp at Hereford.
He was telling me about the different assault courses they had.
Rope slides, water crossings, scaling high obstacles, storming buildings, barbed wire, all using live ammunition.
Real tough guy stuff.
He said every obstacle course had one thing in common.
A tea urn at the end.
If you made it through in one piece you wanted a cup of tea.
Not camomile, or elderflower, or jasmine.
Not a herbal infusion.
A proper cup of tea.
The sort of tea you see on a building site next to a copy of The Sun.
In a heavy, chipped mug, not bone china.
Recently, I was reading about The Challenger Mk II.
The British Army’s main battle tank.
It’s got a 120mm gun, more accurate than any other tank.
It can hit, and destroy, pretty much anything from 5 miles away.
In the invasion of Iraq, not a single Challenger II was lost.
Although one was damaged a bit.
After being hit by 17 rocket-propelled grenades, and a MILAN anti-tank missile.
So, as they say in the army, this is a serious piece of kit.
And it’s got one thing that absolutely no other tank in the world has got.
It’s got tea-brewing equipment built in.
That’s its USP.
My Uncle Harry was in the 8th Army in World War 2.
In the desert they each got just 2 pints of water a day.
So, they saved the water for the important stuff: making tea.
And they used petrol for washing themselves.
Tea is a pretty important part of our creative department.
We’ve got an article pinned up in the kitchen by the kettle.
It’s called ‘A Nice Cup Of Tea’ and it’s written by George Orwell:

“When I look through my own recipe for the perfect cup of tea, I find no fewer than eleven outstanding points. Here are my own eleven rules, every one of which I regard as golden:
* First of all, one should use Indian or Ceylonese tea. China tea has virtues 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.
* Secondly, tea should be made in a teapot. The teapot should be made of china or earthenware.
* Thirdly, the pot should be warmed beforehand.
* Fourthly, the tea should be strong. Six heaped teaspoons would be about right. I maintain that one strong cup of tea is better than twenty weak ones.
* Fifthly, the tea should be put straight into the pot. No strainers, muslin bags or other devices to imprison the tea.
* Sixthly, one should take the teapot to the kettle and not the other way about. The water should be actually boiling at the moment of impact.
* Seventhly, after making the tea, one should stir it.
* Eighthly, one should drink out of the cylindrical type of cup, not the flat, shallow type. With the other kind one’s tea is always half cold before one has well started on it.
* Ninthly, one should pour the cream off the milk before using it for tea. Milk that is too creamy always gives tea a sickly taste.
* Tenthly, one should pour tea into the cup first. This is one of the most controversial points of all; indeed in every family in Britain there are probably two schools of thought on the subject. The milk-first school can bring forward some fairly strong arguments, but I maintain that my own argument is unanswerable. This is that, by putting the tea in first, 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.
* Lastly, tea should be drunk without sugar. I know very well that I am in a minority here, but tea is meant to be bitter, just as beer is meant to be bitter.”

We drink a lot of tea at work.
Usually we make a pot of tea for the creative department.
This is a big job, so we’ll try to find a fair way of deciding who makes it.
Sometimes we’ll play rock-scissors-paper, sometimes we’ll play ‘spoof’.
Recently we’ve found an online application that doesn’t depend on skill, just pure chance.
Personally, the only thing I insist everyone does is put a tea cosy on the pot.
That way the teapot doesn’t get cold if sits there for a bit.
I’ve written CREATIVE in big fat letters on the tea cosy, so the account men can’t nick it for client meetings.
Although I don’t think they would.
Tea tends to be blue collar, whereas coffee tends to be white collar,
So people who have a lot of meetings for a living usually prefer coffee.
Whereas people who make things prefer tea.

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    We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, but before we do, we must prepare ourselves with a nice cup of tea, because, for once, it isn’t the rain that’s pouring; but Dave Tea.”

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    Churchill was the consumate master of words – just reading his speeches gives me the shivers.

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    Tea hee.

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    i don’t drink coffee, only pepermint tea.

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    Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
    Or close the wall up with our English dead.
    In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
    As modest stillness and humility:
    But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
    Then imitate the action of the tiger;
    Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
    Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;
    Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
    Let pry through the portage of the head
    Like the brass cannon; let the brow o’erwhelm it
    As fearfully as doth a galled rock
    O’erhang and jutty his confounded base,
    Swill’d with the wild and wasteful ocean.
    Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
    Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
    To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
    Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
    Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
    Have in these parts from morn till even fought
    And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
    Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
    That those whom you call’d fathers did beget you.
    Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
    And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
    Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
    The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
    That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;For there is none of you so mean and base,
    That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
    I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
    Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
    Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
    Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’
    A flagon of Earl Trott’s finest rosy lea, hot to the touch
    Should you make it back
    Smith’s unadorned digestives to dunk therein, to assuage the pains of battle, Axe wound to head, arrow to chest, the horse’s saddle.

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    “I don’t drink coffee I drink tea my dear, I like my toast done on one side”.
    Does the blue collar/white collar analogy work in reverse for those who hail from the other side of the pond?

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    If anthing’s going to ‘assuage the pains of battle’ it’s got to be a hob-nob – good for multiple dunks!

    There’s a certain clarity that can only truly be achieved whilst you sit, brew in hand, waiting for it to cool enough for the first sip

  • Early one Sunday morning I was driving a bit quick when I was stopped by the police. One of them got out of their car and came and stood by my open window. His voice was weary. He said ‘when was the last time you drank alcohol?’ I said oh a couple of days ago. He then said, ‘When was the last time you took drugs, either legal or illegal?’ I said I couldn’t remember. He bent closer and hissed, ‘Then how the fuck do you get through the day?’ I said…

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TgPmaNMReKQ

    Grilla, think you’ve been drinking too much TEA..

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    Half a league half a league,
    Half a league onward,
    All in the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred:
    ‘Forward, the Light Brigade!
    Charge for the guns’ he said:
    Into the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.

    ‘Forward, the Light Brigade!’
    Was there a man dismay’d ?
    Not tho’ the soldier knew
    Some one had blunder’d:
    Theirs not to make reply,
    Theirs not to reason why,
    Theirs but to do & die,
    Into the valley of Death
    Rode the six hundred.

    Cannon to right of them,
    Cannon to left of them,
    Cannon in front of them
    Volley’d & thunder’d;
    Storm’d at with shot and shell,
    Boldly they rode and well,
    Into the jaws of Death,
    Into the mouth of Hell
    Rode the six hundred.

    Flash’d all their sabres bare,
    Flash’d as they turn’d in air
    Sabring the gunners there,
    Charging an army while
    All the world wonder’d:
    Plunged in the battery-smoke
    Right thro’ the line they broke;
    Cossack & Russian
    Reel’d from the sabre-stroke,
    Shatter’d & sunder’d.
    Then they rode back, but not
    Not the six hundred.

    Cannon to right of them,
    Cannon to left of them,
    Cannon behind them
    Volley’d and thunder’d;
    Storm’d at with shot and shell,
    While horse & hero fell,
    They that had fought so well
    Came thro’ the jaws of Death,
    Back from the mouth of Hell,
    All that was left of them,
    Left of six hundred.

    When can their glory fade?
    O the wild charge they made!
    All the world wonder’d.
    Honour the charge they made!
    Honour the Light Brigade,
    Noble six hundred!

    Teapot spouts to the left
    Biscuit barrels to the right
    Sugar lumps on the head for the hors-ees
    Precious little milk of human kindness
    Twas delivered on this historic day
    For the six hundred

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    Orwell is spot on for 10 out of the 11, but very wrong on the issue of milk in 2nd. Firstly, it is actually much easier to regulate the quantity of milk when sitting neatly at the bottom of a cup rather than swirling anarchically around the tea. Secondly, it doesn’t leave you with a scummy cup, which the tea-in-first tactic most certainly does.

    Heavenly tea: the world is a better and kinder place with a cup of tea in its hand. Coffee is all thrusting and grasping.

    And I have reached the distressing stage of taking my own tea-bags abroad with me, just like mum did, for which she suffered much abuse at the time…

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    Dave
    How about warming the cup too? I know to some it might appear a tad fastidious but maybe it can at least be adhered to on special occasions?

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    Hi Dave,

    The Challenger tank was also the first tank in the world with an infra-red guided firing sight that could shoot at a target whilst on the move as the barrel would compensate for all tank movement. More importantly, I guess that’s how they are able to make a brew without spilling any inside.

    I wonder if the Challenger’s turret was manufactured in Glasgow, or is it sheer coincidence that you get a perfect brew by turning the pot three complete turns to the right and one turn to the left? (auld Glaswegian trick)

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    Hi Tess,
    I always found women preferred making tea Milk-in-First (like my mum) whereas men preferred making it Milk-in-Last (like my dad).
    I think this is because MIF is middle class whereas MIL is working class.
    And women tend to prefer nicer, posher things.
    I also think MIL is the logical stance (male) whereas MIF is the intuitive way of doing it (female).
    Just saying…..

  • put the milk in first, then tea bag then water, you get an emulsion.
    put milk in last you get a mixture.

    An emulsion is better than a mixture.

    In the parlance of your industry, simples.

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    good memories. we were spoofing as to who made tea 25 years ago dave at GGT. i remember clearly that there was no divide between management v baby teams on £5k a year. everyone was the same, anything was possible x

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    Hi Simon,
    When my wife makes tea by the cup, with a teabag, she always puts the bag and milk in together, before the hot water.
    And she doesn’t get a film on top of the tea, now we know why.
    Nicole,
    As we all know, good people like to work with good people, that’s what makes a winning combination.
    Only dopes worry about putting people of similar rank, age, sex, race together.
    Anyway, by including them it gave us better odds in the spoof.

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    Is it tea to water or the other way round? I understand the tea leaf stir but is it a dunk and a stir for t-bags?

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    ‘There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea.’ (Philosopher Bernard-Paul Heroux)

    Apparently the Royal Society of Chemists and the British Standards Institute reckon one should pour milk in the cup before the tea!

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    Working class rules – 3 bags, 1 pot, add water to pot, brew ’til spoon stands up straight in mug (earthenware, not china), add milk (and sugar).

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    Ruling class rules, OK! – get some other mug to do the following: 3 bags, 1 pot, add water to pot, brew ’til silver spoon stands up straight in finest bone china cup (certainly not earthenware), add milk (and sugar).

    Dismiss working class person, crook little finger daintily and place tea cup to lips. Slurp noisily when no-one is in earshot.

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    my gran used to make tea in china cups with saucers – she did it because she had the shakes so bad she could empty the saucer-ful back in to your cup when she got it to you.

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    I’d wager a banana gotnoteef gran knew how to make a fine martini, too:
    shaken, but not stirred.

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    On the subjectv of saucers, when I was a kid they were largely used to pour some tea into and blow on it, to cool it down.
    Gordon said, when he started at CDP, they had a tea lady who brought the tea at 11 and 4.
    If you weren’t in your office she left the cup with the saucer covering it, to keep it warm.

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    Da da da da da-da, da da da da daaaaave!

    [Hawaii five-o theme toon welcome back even tho we know you’re just checking in.]

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    Book him Grilla.

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    Hi Dave,

    Over in Saudi Arabia you get tea in tiny glasses. No milk. It’s really sweet, and they love to pour it from the pot from a great height. It’s a real insult to refuse tea on a visit to a local businessman. It’s often served at the end of a business deal.
    Russian tea is very similar, but of course you have the Samouvar bubbling away.
    Tea bags are great for compost but you do need an allotment.

    Have you ever been to a Chinese Tea Ceremony Dave?

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    War & Peace to the rear of the nut, Dave. He won’t wake for week.

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    Grilla, is Sigourney Weaver a maker or a doer?
    http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi4138336537/

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    Hi Kevin,
    I’ve been to a Japanese one, Cha No U(?).
    The lady who did it had trained for 9 years and still hadn’t graduated.
    It’s incredibly formal.
    Actually we had a Chinbese tea ceremony when we got married.
    My relatives loved it because the bride and groom have to get on their knees and offer tea to everyone in order of rank (age usually).
    What I like is in Singapore the local Indians do Tea Alia at the roadside stalls.
    That’s tea made with Carnation tinned milk and ginger.
    They like it ‘Doureg’, poured from a great height to cool it.
    I’ve tried making it at home, but it doesn’t taste the same in Hampstead.

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    Love the tank stats. What is it with us and our tea!

  • WestLondonGas

    Interesting point about proving value. I suspect there are other contributing factors to the “spend five times more money” claim. For example, Waitrose give away Waitrose Kitchen to people who have a myWaitrose card but charge those who do not have one. Someone who has a myWaitrose card is highly likely to be a regular customer and hence already spending more money in the shop. They are not spending five times more money simply because someone has given them a magazine.

    Mr Hirsch will now want to trot out some examples of specific products performing well after they are featured in the magazine but to claim my £100 weekly shop is going to become a £500 weekly shop just because of a free magazine is utter tosh.