The Irish are well known for their fondness for
tea.The English,infact,long ago switched to coffee.The
Irish cupan tae (cup of tea) is strong and robust-a
good buffer against geography and the weather. Tea
keeps the farmers working and gives the factory,office
and construction workers a break.The ritual is found
at all levels of society in both North and South.
The Water: Must contain as much air as possible.Cold
water right from the tap is best-boil and use
immediately -do not over boil!!!
The Pot: The pot must keep the tea warm for long enough
for the tea to steep-it must be steeped for 5 whole
minutes-Earthenware pots are the best as the clay
contains air pockets which insulate. The pot can be
kept warm using a tea cozy,towel,newspaper or in our
house the Cat!!
The Milk: Lots of it-and cream or full milk. Irish tea
is specifically blended to be mixed with a lot of rich
milk or cream-1/4 -1/3 of the total volume.Even if you
do not take milk -try it with Irish Tea.Please note:
the milk goes into the cup first-important!!!!
The Sugar: Must match the
occasion-colored,cubed,coarse,smooth or in packets.!
Mother: Someone is needed to pour out the tea
(male,female,old or young-anyone can be”Mother”.The
host or hostess is too busy preparing snacks and
getting things organized or welcoming guests and is
not to be disturbed.We can not have self-service or
chaos--so someone must step in to officially become
the “Mother” and pour out and serve the tea. It is
advised to volunteer(that is if you want to get it
before it is cold!)The host or hostess will say: “Who
would like to be mother?” but you should first
say-”shall I be mother?”
The Tea: Irish Blend tea is composed of High Grown
Ceylon tea grown over 4,000 feet above sea level mixed
with a hearty Assam tea-a bold Indian tea with malted
hints and deep color.Small leaf teas are used for a
strong full liquoring effect .Bulk tea is best.
Instructions:Put tea into the pot loose or use an
infuser-take care not to pack the infuser to tightly-
a tea strainer is an essential piece of
equipment.Never throw tea leaves out-they have been
through a lot-use them as a room freshener or for
plant food for roses and other acid lovers.!
Making the Tea: Warm the pot. Use one heaping teaspoon
of tea per cup of water and then add one extra “for
the Pot”-Always-BRING THE POT TO THE HOT WATER. Steep
the tea for 5 minutes keep warm and serve.
The Ritual: Each tea service is a bit different.It is
important to grasp the essential purpose of the tea
being celebrated and plan accordingly it a workmans
tea,teddy bear tea,or get acquainted tea. Sweets and
treets should be served accordingly and always consist
of a variety of textures colors and flavors which
compliment the tea and the occasion itself.Baked goods
should not be overly moist.The tea should also be in
harmony with the hour of the day-Afternoon Tea is
served 3-5 P.M.with a light sweet fare. Elevenses-
11:00 A.M-tea and scones informal-a break. High Tea is
almost an Evening meal-6:00P.M. The tea should also
reflect the season and celebrate seasonal produce.
Schapiro,David The Book of Coffee and
Frey,Irish,Ihde Crumpets and Scones., St.Martins
Gentry,Patricia Teatime Celebrations.,
Armstrong,Alison The Joyce of Cooking.,Station Hill