Ah, the ol’ tea debate.
As I sit here, sipping a porcelain cup with my pinky raised at a perfect 45 degree angle, I think to myself: “Endeth will it when?”
In my pursuit for liquid truth, I’ve stumbled across a former royal butler with knowledge of the perfect brew – Grant Harrold.
More from Business Insider:
Harrold was a member of the household of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, and still lives on their Highgrove estate, so knows something about the royal way of life.
This is the guy, people.
Without further ado, I give you the four steps to a cup that’s worthy of royalty:
- Pour the tea into the cup from a teapot
- Add milk to the cup after the tea, never before
- Stir back and forth — never use a circular motion and never touch the sides
- Sip from the cup, do not slurp!
Harrod says the whole tea-in-first thing actually dates back to the 18th century, when English potter Josiah Spode decided that “china tea cups ought to be made from animal bone to prevent them cracking when hot tea was added”.
This turned pouring the tea first into a status symbol among royals and upper class members of the back-then, with the added benefit of showing off their fine ‘china’.
I feel for the staff:
Meanwhile, the servants downstairs would have to add milk first to stop their clay crockery from cracking under the heat.
And you’re still wondering why you can’t just stir the tea in a circle like you always have? Harrod is a scientist, remember:
“If we stir in a circular motion we can create a storm in a tea cup and see the tea coming over the sides which we should never allow.
“If the spoon touches the sides it makes a clinging sound and we don’t want that at the afternoon tea table.”
Oh, no! Surely not at the afternoon table. Also, sit up straight and only speak when spoken to. Got it?
Just to prove that he knows what he’s talking about (as if we didn’t believe him), Harrod brought up Elizabeth:
“I am sure the Queen enjoys her Assam or her Earl Grey the traditional way, made with tea leaves in a teapot and poured into a fine bone china teacup. She will also use a strainer.”
He then debunked what is possibly the biggest myth of them all, and one that, if you remember correctly, I started this article with. Apparently no one from the royal family sticks out their pinky finger while drinking tea:
“I have never seen that happen once.”
Eish. Think I’ll stick to coffee.
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