Aug 06

Tea Making Fearnley-Whittingstall Dangle

FT + Pumpkin Publog8 comments • 2,613 views

Hugh Duncan Fearnley-Whittingstall talks about making a cup of tea

Now, to make my tea, I need two good-sized mugs. I boil the kettle. The hot water goes into one mug first, stays for a few seconds so the mug is heated, then goes into the second mug. The tea bag goes into the first, hot, mug, boiling water is poured in, to within a couple of millimetres of the top, and the two mugs, one containing brewing tea, and the other containing hot water, are left to stand. After about five minutes, the mug of brewed tea is placed in the sink, where some new hot water (freshly re-boiled) from the kettle, is sloshed into it, so it overflows by about half a mug. This is to stop the well-brewed tea being too strong. The full-to-overflowing mug is now tilted a little bit, so it spills out enough tea to allow room for some milk.

Remember the second mug, full of the hot (now not so hot, but still quite hot) water that was used to warm the first mug? That is now emptied. The tea bag is fished out from the first ‘brewing’ mug, and placed in the bottom of the empty ‘warm’ mug, where a small splash of milk is poured over it. The effect of the hot tea bag, and still-warm mug, is to take the chill off the milk – and impregnate it with a mild tea flavour. To encourage both these objectives, the mug is picked up and swirled, put down for a few seconds, picked up and swirled again, and left to stand for a short while longer. The tea-coloured, warm milk is now poured from tea-bag mug to brew mug, which is given a stir.

The resulting colour is observed. A little more milk may be necessary, in which case it will go via the still-warm tea bag mug, into the brew mug. When the colour is exactly right, I will stir in exactly one rounded teaspoonful of golden caster sugar. The tea, which at this point is still far too hot to drink, will now be left to stand for at least five minutes, before a sip is attempted.

And when you come into the living room with tea for your guests, it turns out they all died several years previously.


  1. 1
    pˆnk s lord sükråt cunctør on 2 Aug 2006 #

    this is certainly INSANE DANGLE — esp.as tea should NEVER BE TAKEN WITH MILK EVAH — but timewise it is equal to the old-skool style

    THIS IS BCZ: the guest should be the judge of too-hot anyway, so you give em their cup AT THE START OF the five mins “cool to taste” period

  2. 2
    Pete Baran on 2 Aug 2006 #

    Of course without milk, your too hot period is more like thirty minutes – oft time cause of much crisis around me (who also, correctly takes tea without milk).

  3. 3
    pˆnk s lord sükråt cunctør on 2 Aug 2006 #

    a. use dash of cold water — if you use PROPER ACTUAL NON-BAG LEAVES this helps take them to the bottom of the pot
    b. float slice o’lemon in it — this absorbs much of the heat (lemon-peel is structurally similar to asbestos)

  4. 5
    Tom on 2 Aug 2006 #

    Is this the new “pub in a shed”???

  5. 6
    alex on 2 Aug 2006 #

    Yes I thought I’d read that before.

  6. 7
    RickyT on 3 Aug 2006 #

    Heheheh, marvellous.

  7. 8
    catty on 9 Aug 2006 #

    Ah yes, but the art of making tea is like making sweet lurve don’t ya know. My forthcoming song – The man who makes tea is the best testifies to the link between tea and foreplay.

    We love you Hugh.

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