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Since you're in France you must try Mariage Freres. Russian Breakfast is my favorite but Eros, a lighter tea, is also nice.

Julie F in St. Louis, MO

I've found more and more that cafes and bistrots sell Lipton iced tea. At my favorite salon de thé in Dijon I always order a thé vert. It comes in a small pot with the linen tea bag hanging down the side, plus as a bonus (the real reason I buy it) a small gateau that tastes like a super buttery pound cake. I keep forgetting to buy an electric kettle for the apartment. I'll try to do that before I head back to the States next week.

Jane Williamson

The reason that milk was put into the cup first originates when the cups were made of very fine porcelain and it reduced the stress on the porcelain when the hot tea was poured in.


Your friend Tony does indeed describe the time honoured English instructions for making the perfect pot of tea. I did know a family once who took this a stage further because they liked what they called, "A good strong cup of tea". They would follow Tony's method but using a metal teapot which would be then put on a gas ring and boiled vigorously for several minutes. Not recommended unless you le joy mainlining on tannin!

Anthea Dodsworth

Well....The Boston Tea Party might have ended in the "destruction of the tea" but you have made reparation in your excellent and interesting article, Lynn. Monty and Ali don't tend to offer us tea any more! I did bring them some lovely Yorkshire Gold teabags but it is the MILK they use that wrecks it! It must be fresh milk and I will say that although in Bourgogne we can easily get fresh milk we have found there is some variation especially when used in tea; blue-top is better we find.
In reply to Jane Williamson, I was told that until porcelain cups came to England, the milk was put in first so as not to stain the cups but when the wealthy people started using the new porcelain ones they liked to show off and put the milk in afterwards as the cups didn't stain. I would actually like to know if there is a definitive right or wrong and whether tea connoisseurs have any suggestions.
By the way as I am lazy I tend to use teabags but we really like the Yorkshire Gold Premier Cru such as Kenyan, Rwandan etc depending on time of year.
Back to work in the garden (I was just having a break with my 'cuppa". Anthea

Bonnie L

I am a true believer in electric kettles as well Lynn! They were always fixtures in apartments that we would rent in France. The light bulb went off - why turn on the stove burner for 10 minutes plus when an electric kettle will boil your water in under 2 minutes? I have a clear glass model; you can see any mineral build-up and it is nice to look at.

It's Lipton bags for me. Growing up with a Scots grandma, I was given tea from a very early age. I'm with Amy on Mariage Frères tea. It is our special treat on Sundays! Esprit de Noël Is my favorite.

Living in the Boston area, I am ashamed to say I have never been to the Boston Tea Party Museum. One of these days...


Thank you, Lynn! I'm a huge tea drinker and I just loved your post. It's great to learn about the proper way to serve tea along with a nice bit of history.

Liza in Ann Arbor

I'm a huge tea drinker! I love my morning coffee, but an afternoon tea is right up my alley. I thought it was the Irish girl in me, but a few years ago I went to Poland and learned that EVERYONE there drinks tea...ALL THE TIME. And they only go for one brand, which was literally everywhere, Dilmah. So actually it's probably the Polish girl in me as well. With that ethnicity, it's a wonder I like coffee at all!


Hi Lynn! I was in Paris for a couple of weeks last month and really confused the hotel clerk when I asked if they had any decaf tea! Amazing, the things we take for granted.

Starting to see some color in the trees here in Charleston. Happy Thanksgiving!


I've always been a tea drinker, first in New York, now living in a little village in Italy. I recently bought an electric kettle--why did I wait so long?--and love it. I love PG Tips and Yorkshire Gold tea also, though I have to go into Rome to find it. And the milk is put in last and must be very fresh or it's less than ideal.

Out here I can only find Lipton (yuck) and Twinings English Breakfast (OK in a pinch). I've also started drinking green tea, without milk or sugar, which I am able to do if I only heat the water to 85 degrees (my electric kettle has both 85 and 100 settings). It's definitely better than when dunked in boiling water. I prefer loose leaf tea, but kind of enjoy the Mighty Tea Leaf pyramids as not half bad :-). Thanks for an interesting read!

Herm in Phoenix, Az

Hi Lynn,

Nice post today!

A favorite in our Arizona summers is solar tea. It’s very common to see a gallon jug, with s couple tea bags held in place by the cover, sitting in the sun on a block wall. Served cold over ice with a slice of lemon, it’s very refreshing.

Your mention of Lipton tea reminds me of Arthur Godfrey and his “Brisk” cup of tea, (That really dates me!)

Frank Levin

I learned about electric kettles when I found that was one in all English hotel rooms. We bought one about ten years ago after getting to love the ability to boil water simply and almost instantly. Our English friend Stuart says that the water for tea must be, "at the boil," to make a proper beverage. If the water is no longer making boiling noises it is not the right temperature for tea. I have lived by this rule for years now since it is made quite easy with the electric kettle. We have now given electric kettles to almost everyone in our circle of friends and family.
Here at home my wife insists on Red Rose brand tea and will accept no substitutes. I like it as well, but am a particular fan of Lapsang Suchong with the robust smokey flavor it presents. I found some,"fill-it-yourself" tea bags which I fill with this smoked tea for less than full pot occasions. In summer I live on iced tea which I make in a gallon glass jug using the solar method. For this I use a blend of teabags and usually toss in a sprig of fresh mint and let it sit in the sun for half a day. Then I add 1/2 cup of sugar per gallon since my trips to your southern homeland have made me a devotee of "sweet tea." What a fascinating and many-faceted subject.

Linda Hollander


Great post! I love my tea, but I am now totally decaffeinated, so here is a tip from the guy at "Teavana", in my Mall (where they have pretty good, but quite expensive, flavored teas):

Whatever type of tea you use, you can decaffeinate it quite easily. Put the tea bag, infuser, strainer, whatever, into the cup, and pour about 1/2 cup of boiling water over it. Wait about a minute,then DUMP the water out! Use the same tea, and refill your cup. If you're using a teapot, same thing...fill the pot about 1/4 full with thee boiling water, wait for about aminute, dump it out and refill. Voila, decaf tea. He says you can do this with cold water as well, by putting your teabag in cold water for about 10 minutes.

I now do this all the time and my one litte teabag is good for 3 cups (mugs)of tea, the last one being in the evening. I never have a problem sleeping.

I have to say I like Yorkshire Gold, but my favorite is Mariage Freres Darjeeling with Bourbon and a tiny little bit of chestnut honey. This is called "The Bear's magic Nighty-Night". The Bear is James Brady, President Reagan's press secretary, and I got that recipe from the Wash...Post more than 30 years ago! Try it before you go to bed, and...sweet dreams!



Oh, horror!, how can you use bags??? I've been a dedicated tea drinker for twenty years ( no coffee, ever) and mail order all my tea from a small importer up in Connecticut. But really, loose tea is the only way to go!
I have an electric kettle and then use a fairly good size mesh tea holder in the top of my mug. As Frank said, those fill it yourself tea bags work well too. Let it sit for 4-5min. (I like it strong) and add , yes, cream and sugar!

Sarah Schultz

Hi Herm

I remember that Arthur Godfrey had sailors having a contest as to who could make the most cups of tea from ONE teabag. I wish I could remember the number of cups made. Maybe someone else will remember.

I love Earl Grey tea and have just been introduced to PG Tips. It is also very good.

thanks for today's topic. Maybe you could do an article on tea cozies.


Lynn, another wonderful post! THANK YOU!!!!!!
I'm a heart patient and can only drink decaf coffee;because of this,I favor herbal tea. An outfit I use here in the US is named Tea Forte.
They have SO many different blends,both loose leaf (which I use,in an infuser) and bags.
Thank you, too, to Herm. I love Mireille Mathieu.We listened to her often in our younger days;the (French) owner of our favorite bistro here told us that he remembers her as a young girl, going around singing anywhere and everywhere to get her name known.
Wow! Time flies but our memories very definitely do not.
What a wonderful way to start off our weekend!


Hello Lynn -- I tend to put the milk in first, as I don't use sugar, and can avoid dirtying a spoon with this method. Sheer laziness, really.

Debbie Ambrous -

I also like Mariage Freres that some of other readers mentioned. My favorite is Bouddha Bleu. For iced tea, I must have Luzianne! I started drinking green tea each day for the health benefits, but now I drink it because I enjoy it and feel better when I do. Lynn, we southern ladies must think alike. I have taken a few pictures, and I had planned to do a blog on tea before I saw your post. Your story was very enjoyable, and I'm interested in trying your brand of green tea. I'll try my hand at a tea blog later after my tea story brews for awhile.
Debbie Ambrous

David Campbell

Hi - I know I don't have a neutral view on tea (or wine) as I'm in both the tea and the wine business. Neither tea nor wine are, or need to be complicated beverages; it is only our rituals that seem daunting. Tea in the East, where it all began, can be a formal affair but mostly taking tea is just what people do when they get together (in the West too.) Tea rituals in the West began in part because tea was so expensive initially that only the aristocracy could enjoy it. The habit of putting milk in tea really took off at the time of industrialization; by then tea had become much more affordable. Industrialists were looking for a strong and powerful beverage that could replace what the workers had been drinking - gin; it tended to have negative effects on productivity. Strong black tea brewed for 5 minutes with boiling water, they hoped, would be just the trick (the Chinese NEVER use boiling water and brew for much shorter times.)Unfortunately the resulting brew was bitter and astringent. Milk and sugar to the rescue. Sugar counterbalanced the bitterness and the casein in the milk softened the astringency. Soon the tea break, which later in the US became the coffee break, was born. Trying to get tea in England without milk added can be a struggle; when I lived in Liverpool I had to ask for "lemon tea, no lemon."

By all means, when in Paris you must visit the Marriage Frères salon in the Marais. For an Eastern experience (with incomparable teas), try La Maison des Trois Thés at Place Monge in the 5ième. And should you ever find yourself in Napa CA, I'd love to welcome you at Tillerman Tea. Cheers.

Suzanne Hurst

A friend gave me a Chinese electric teapot. I don't use it much as I have little counter space, but I do like it, because it doesn't get boiling hot. I'm told the Chinese don't boil their water; green teas are better with the water not at boiling point.
I agree about Luzianne for iced tea, but I don't like "sweet tea."


Lynn, on my first visit to France I fell in love with a green tea (and I'm not usually a fan of green tea), that is the most delightful tea I have ever tasted! It is a blend of Jasmine, strawberry, and grapefruit. No one flavor stands out above the others, but they complement each other perfectly. I am almost out of it - it's a good thing I'll be going back in April! I have tried to find it online, with no luck. My daughter, who lives in Orleans, has tried without success to find some for me there. I am determined, though, to find my treasure!


The most important item re tea making is in the wording of your recipe "pour on boiled water" no no no the water should be boiling not only boiling but on the first boil no switching the kettle on again to come up to temp. The reason being that the first boil releases more gas bubbles from the water and its these bubbles that separate the tea leaves and expose them to the boiling water to extract maximum flavour and of course it goes without saying that loose leaf tea should always be used and of course the pot warmed with boiling water. The first few seconds of making tea are the most crucial.


Lynn....I betcha you have gotten more comments on your Cup of Tea
blog than on anything else ever....right? It is because tea drinkers are more persnickerty about their tea than are coffee, beer, or wine drinkers. And also tea drinkers experiment...they don't always make their tea the same way...and I know some just boil the tea and water in the microwave....but don't tell anybody...they are like closet tea drinkers when no one is looking..and then in company they make their tea with a lot of fan fare.
I sometimes use a tea bag..and sometimes make tea with leaves in my new white tea pot that you gave me..and sometimes I just heat up that Arizona Tea that you buy already made in gal. jars.
I had never bought suger in lumps...til I watched Downton Abbey and it looked so neat to have" one lump or two?" Anyhow I enjoyed reading all the comments about tea...and mention ways to make tea anywhere and you will be inundated with definite, best, and proper ways.


My Cockney grandmother (born within earshot of Bow bells she was) turned up her nose at *any* tea in a bag - "floor sweepings" she called it. I'm not that fussy, and I'm bi-drinkable (tea or coffee depending on time of day, wind direction, etc...)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Anne - Music and Markets Tours

I agree about the popularity of tea - we end up drinking it far more here in Aix than when we're in Virginia. I keep a supply of Earl Grey, Chamomile, and Green Tea here at Ambiance d'Aix, and each time we return, after renters have stayed here, there are more kinds - merci, guests!
Yesterday we had a few friends over "for coffee", but no one drank coffee, only tea!

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