A nice cup of tea

December 04, 2012

You are either a tea drinker or a coffee drinker. Or atleast that is usually the case. There are also persons like me that love both. Well, to be honest, I don't really love coffee (except for a chocolate sprinkled Caffe latte or Cappuchino); I only drink coffee to wake up and avoid a coffee headache in the morning which is caused by a caffeïne addiction that started when I was 17. Without coffee I am unable to wake up in the morning due to heavy medication use for the night - and daytime.

Tea is what I like to drink throughout the day. No sugar but with honey. My favorite tea is chamomile; it combines really well with the honey. Chamomile is a healthy daisy-like plant for the body and mind. It's calming and soothing. Tea made from chamomile and ginger is an excellent remedy to get rid of colds, flu, menstrual cramps, indigestion problems, nervousness and insomnia. A steam bath of chamomile has a purifying effect on the skin. These are some tips that can be found in little booklets our grandparents had about combating diseases and ailments. In short: a box of chamomile tea should not be missing in your household.

Tea was a beverage that many people drank in WWII, even though it was rationed. People drank an extra cup of tea for consolation and also because tea contains stimulants. Tea was the most popular beverage in the Netherlands in the 1930s and '40s. People in the Netherlands drank 200 liter tea per year. That is approximately four cups a day. I think it's needless to say that the UK probably drank more! After the war, the popularity of tea was reduced. In the Netherlands people didn't had much choice between tea brands. In that time there was only loose tea that was sold under different names by tea merchants. Loose tea means that it was only tea leaves. In England Ty-phoo tea was a popular brand.

Tea and tea leaves were a great part of the recycling effort in the second world war. It could be re-used till it was totally worn-out. Hot bread cakes, french toast and summer puddings were not only tasy table dishes to eat as a snack by your tea, but also economical because they used up stale breads.

Tea making tips from the 1940s:
A tea leave is a delicate and sensitive plant. Therefore, it must be stored correctly. There are two reasons for this. Number one is to keep the tea as dry as possible, and number two is to prevent the tea from contaminating. The best storage is an airtight container. This is not always possible, but in any case the tea chest or metal bin must have a lid that fits well. Tea leaves will very quickly absorb all sorts of aroma's. So do not store near to fruit, soap, cheese, spices or disinfectant. So much for storing.

Now for the tea making itself: there are six golden tips to remember in good tea making.

  1. Always use a good quality tea
  2. Always use freshly drawn water. Remember: Stale water means stale tea.
  3. Remember to warm the tea pot. This from preventing loss of temperature.
  4. Make sure the correct proportion of tea is measured for the amount of water in the pot.
  5. The water must just be boiling. Tea with underboiled water will be weak and flavourless where overboiled water will become deaerated and flat.
  6. Last, but by no means least, let the tea infuse properly before serving.
In this order: China, ovenware, electroplated metal and stainless steel teapots are most suitable for making tea. Enamel and tin tea pots are not recommended. The tea has to be kept in a pot for some time, the brew should be poured from a strainer into a second teapot which has previously been warmed. This will prevent the tea from becoming over-infused.

If you have milk in your tea, then remember that you do not pour in the milk too soon. This will cause the tea to deteriorate. There is no secret for making good tea, really, that's a fallacy. If you follow these rules, there will be no good tea spoiled by a bad preparation!


I love to collect tea items from the 1930s or 40s. I have several cups, teapots and sugarpots from that era, and I treasure them all ... but my favorite item is my 1930s tea strainer.

And what is the ticket to a tea party? A pretty 1940s tea dress ofcourse! These are often floral patterned, with a V shaped neck.

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  1. What a nice post. I’m exactly like you, only the other way around – I drink at least 5 cups of green tea in the morning. Every single day, and I love it! There is nothing so gentle and refreshing as green tea in the morning. Later, I move on to coffee, it’s bitterness fits better with the rough business of the day…

    Do you happen to know Lin Yutang’s “The Importance of Living”? It’s a wonderful book, full of ancient Chinese wisdom and detailed instructions in the art of thinking and feeling and making and drinking of tea. There is really no book like it…!

    You can read the book online here: http://archive.org/details/linyutangtheimpo008763mbp

    1. Thanks alot for the recommendation of the book. I love those kind of books. I devour those. I didn't knew the book, but I am definitly giving it a go!

  2. What a gorgeous tea strainer!!! I am a huge tea fan and always have. I have never been able to tolerate coffee, even coffee flavoured things turn me off. But tea...well I currently have about 10 different sorts of loose leaf (my preferred tea) in the cupboard and another 10 different sorts of bagged tea as well as two full china tea sets (an everyday and a fancy), a silver setting (pot, milk & sugar container) and I think another 4-5 teapots. All get used and I go through the tea like it's going out of style.

    Great tips on how to make tea as well.

    1. Wow, you are a real tea fancier I see! My china tea set from the thirties is floral and so fancy. I would love to use it every day, but I am known for being a clumsy person and I am afraid I'll break some of that fragile china.

      So on special occasions it's been taking out of the cupboard!

  3. Leuke post weer. Ik ben zelf ook een thee-leut, maar ik ben bang dat vintage theepotjes ver boven budget zitten. (Ik heb tot nu toe alleen '30s gebaksvorkjes. Ik ben wel heel benieuwd naar die van jou.


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