We asked Tour Director Matthew for the scoop on British tea and its illustrious history. Here, he shares how to brew the perfect pot of tea—and includes a delicious scone recipe to make with it.
There is a huge difference with taste between tea leaves and bags—in my perfect cup of tea, I use leaves. There are a few more rules you must obey!
First, you’ll need a teapot, tea leaves, a strainer and milk. Sugar is optional. I would also invest in a good bone china cup and saucer—the shape and feel of delicate china (and the larger surface area of the cup) really makes the tea taste far better than in a mug!
In my house the dogs always have the last splash of tea, they love it—just don’t tell my vet!
Putting the milk in first or last is a much debated subject—milk going in last has often been seen as the ‘correct’ way in snobbish circles. This is probably due to the fact that the bone china of the wealthy could easily withstand the hot tea, whereas inferior quality tea cups may have cracked so often the lower classes would add milk first to cool it down.
This is my recipe for the perfect light scones, which are delicious when served slightly warm. They freeze well so you can take them out and reheat the day you want to eat them.
3 1/2 C self-rising flour
2 heaping tsp baking powder
1/3 C butter, cubed
2/3 C caster sugar*
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup buttermilk
These are best eaten or served with lots of clotted cream and jam (or alternatively, butter and jam). If you can’t get clotted cream, just whip heavy cream, spread generously on half a scone and top with jam.
*Caster sugar is sold as “superfine sugar” in the United States and can purchase it online. It’s also easy to make your own by simply grinding granulated sugar in a food processor for a couple of minutes.