Lord Devotea's Tea Spouts

"In which life's eternal questions are ignored in favour of a cup of tea."

Author: Robert Godden (Page 1 of 32)

Think Fast: Your Cuppa Needs You!

In over 350 posts, I have often written about situations where it is hard to make a good cup of tea. For example, I once described being stuck in a transit hotel overseas “with two ..teabags, some slightly damp sugar sachets and …creamer” . Or my guide to making endless unauthorised cups of tea on long haul flights.

Today, though, I am gong to discuss a different scenario. One where everything is going for you. You have the tea, and  all the equipment, and yet you inexplicably fail to make a decent cuppa.

This post is really for novices. Not because only novices make mistakes, but because us seasoned professionals have made them so often we can fix them without any stress.

As you care about your tea guests, you taste the tea you are making before you serve it, and sometimes, it’s just not right.

Here are some scenarios I have personally witnessed people fail to cope with.

Accidental Gong Fu: Too much tea and too little water.

This can occur in two ways. The least likely way is that you are tipping dry tea into boiling water, and you slip. Basically, you are doing it wrong. You should always add the water to the tea (except as mentioned in the third scenario).

The most likely way to accidentally Gongfu is to fail to put enough water in your kettle. You’ve added the tea to the pot, you are pouring the water in, and you suddenly come up short. Assuming that the water is high enough for the tea to brew, you have an issue.

Of course, the answer is to boil more water. But by the time that boils, you may have some overly strong tea.

So, if you have enough liquid for a cup for everyone, just use what you have (even if a sneaky change to smaller cups is necessary). Obviously, it needs less brewing time. But how much?

Unless you have a clear teapot, you have to guess. But here’s a trick: guess on the light side. You can pour the tea into a warmed vessel and check it. If it’s under-brewed, just pour it back into the pot for another 30 seconds.

And once you’ve made your tea, you can probably get a second infusion, even if it’s a Darjeeling or other lighter black tea.

Accidental Grandpa: You forgot the filter.

Grandpa-style tea is brewed without a filter or strainer. If that floats your boat, great. But sometimes, you might additionally go down that path. Either your in-pot filter was missing and you didn’t notice because you were kvetching to your significant other about the new OH&S rules at work that cut 45 seconds off of your lunch break, or you were planning on using a tea strainer that is currently missing/in the dishwasher/in the pocket of the coat you left at work.

If you have the pot strainer, great. Just pour the tea through it into the cups. If you have a fine kitchen stainer, that also works. Muslin/cheesecloth can also be used (slowly).

At a pinch, you can pour slowly with a fork over the spout, or only use the top portion of the tea and pretend there aren’t a few leaves in the cup and silently dare your guests to complain. Make it clear that the biggest bits of cake go to the best-behaved guests and you should be OK.

Underwhelming: Your tea is too weak.

You may have bought a special packet of tea, measured the required amount, added water, used your timer and for some reason, it’s just too weak.

At this time, forget all your moral high ground- “but I did everything right, so this is how the tea is supposed to be”. That is not what your guests want to hear when sipping basically tinted water.

Giving it longer is the best option, but keep tasting it to make sure it doesn’t go bitter. Decanting it, adding some more tea to the pot and re-pouring the liquid through is an option. Adding some more leaves when it becomes clear it’s not brewing is workable, but be careful of tipping them in as per “Accidental Gongfu”.

Overwhelming: Your tea is too strong.


Whether you added too much tea or too much time, whether the detailed instructions were wrong or not, you can deal with this by adding more hot water. If you’ve already poured it and milked and/or sugared it, then use a tablespoon to remove some from the cup and replace with hot water.

After all, this is the principle of a samovar.

Faux Pas: You only have teab*gs in the house.

What? WHAT? What is wrong with you? The ONLY reason to have teab*gs anywhere near your house is that some well-meaning but ultimately unsuitable friend/parent/sibling/significant other presented them to you ( as in “You like tea, so I bought you this pack of assorted teab*gs from Target”) and you are waiting a decent interval before ending the relationship via an intervention, emancipation,  the courts or Facebook.

If you find yourself in that dastardly situation, the only thing you can do is break out your credit card, treat all of your guests to a great meal with great tea at somewhere expensive, and never mention the real reason you failed to serve them tea at home.

So, I hope that round-up helps.

Remember, you should always have good tea, good equipment, quality milk and sugar on hand (even if you don’t take them yourself) and be ready to put in the effort to make tea perfectly. And sometimes, it will not be perfect for whatever reason.

If you have to go down the worse case scenario of just making the tea again, the “wrong” tea may have a culinary use. Use instead of water in a savoury dish. Cook rice in it. Make it into a sorbet or a syrup.

Who knows? You might end up making it wrong again… on purpose.



Doke Silver Needle

Man-Bun Theatre

I was all set to write a post on international relations this week, and then a discussion on ABC24 Breakfast TV caught my eye and ear.

I have not managed to find the original source, but apparently, some well-known coffee identity has lashed out at Melbourne’s baristas, suggesting that they are way too laid back, happy to take a long time to carefully craft a coffee while a line stretches around the block.

The discussion soon turned to anecdotes, and it’s fair to say the presenters were also up in arms about this. It’s also fair to say that man-buns, beards and other hipster accoutrements were mentioned with a great frequency. I may have heard a whisper of facial piercings, as well.

As a barista myself, I think that coffee CAN be theatre. It can also be an industrial process, where a skilled operator punches out coffee in an efficient and timely manner*.

In defence of some baristas, there is a time lapse between order and delivery, and if you are shy and have no conversational skills, then that theatre can fill the time. Myself, I have spent those moments where a coffee-seeker and I are in orbit discussing archaeology, theology, Scientology, geology, astrology, biology, zoology, entomology, etymology and cricket, just to name a few of life’s more interesting points. All the while, my hands know what they are doing.

Before I move on from coffee, let me also say that there is less excuse in Melbourne than elsewhere for slow coffee, for in Melbourne, cool is cool. The more expensive and impressive the venue, the colder the coffee. They are just waiting for you to complain, and then you will be patiently lectured to by beardy-man that you are wrong, the coffee is the right temperature and it’s only your ignorance than made you expect it at an adult temperature.

Anyway, let’s move onto an adult beverage: tea.

Tea is always served somewhere between hot and boiling. It requires very little in the way of expensive equipment and training. You could train a spaniel to make tea, assuming it had opposable thumbs and could read a thermometer and use a timer. Well perhaps not a spaniel, but maybe a Kardashian.

Along with a far wider variety of tastes than coffee, it offers a wider range of gaps. Into those gaps you can prepare a scone, start the next order or – and this is the biggie- talk to the customer. After all, they are a tea drinker, so it will be a better experience.

Why? Because their relationship with their beverage is so much more mature and respectful.It’s fair to say that on some mornings, there is little difference between the line at an espresso machine and the line at a methadone clinic.

Tea drinkers (with one notable exception**) are not looking for that savage hit of mind-boosting stimulation. They are looking to incorporate a gentle boost and a sense of well-being into their day. They are not willing to forgive Mr. Skinny-Jeans-And-Cardigan if he feels he should be the centre of attention, because the tea is the centre of meditation.

This is why taking a flask of tea with you is a great idea. No lines. No risk of teab*gs. No Man-Bun Theatre.

Yes, each time you take a flask of your preferred tea anywhere and skip the trendy artisan*** café, you make the world a better place.


*For more information on timely and efficient baristas, look up “women” in the dictionary. It’s a good start.

** I mean you, Mr G. Norman, of Portland, Oregon.

*** In the self-congratulatory beardy weasel sense of the word “artisan”



This is my 320th blog post here on my main tea blog, and of those, 14 contain the word “cricket.”

Given that I have no interest in Pinocchio’s friend Jiminy and his brethren in the Gryllidae family of insects, it’s a fair bet I was talking about the world’s best sport. In fact, on one occasion I explained patiently to those who were unaware exactly why it’s the world’s greatest sport. (you can read it here. Go on, I’ll wait for you.)

On Friday I was present at a cricketing event. Not in my usual guise of dashing batsman, making 200 for Australia against England, or bamboozling the world’s best batsmen with my particular brand of off-spin, but then again, this time I was actually awake, and that is arena in which such things have never happened.

No, I was there for tea.

With the inextricable link between tea and cricket, we at The Devotea had been roped in to provide iced tea to the VIPs, guests and players of an international cricket series between Australia and England. IMG_20160122_094923

In the searing morning heat, we set up large canisters of Ginger and Lemongrass WTC and 1001 Nights, complete with tea icebergs in each made from the same teas. Unsweeteened but with sugar syrup on hand, before you ask.

Our tea was proudly displayed alongside some great product from other South Australian companies.IMAG0089

This included Frog Cakes, which believe me, take some explaining.

Various dignitaries started to assemble: A couple of members of the South Australian Parliament. The Lord Mayor of Adelaide. The Governor of South Australia…as you’d expect of an international cricket contest between the two sides of cricket’s longest and most keenly fought rivalry.

At this point, cricket fans might be a little confused. With tickets in hand to Australia Versus India coming up this week in Adelaide, and knowing that England are currently touring South Africa, they may think that I’ve taken leave of my senses. (Which is not an uncommon reaction to my blog, anyway)

The key point here is that the event was the opening ceremony of the Lord Taverners International Blind Cricket Series.

Normally when you mention “Blind Cricket” it messes with people’s heads. They either have the reaction of “how does that work?” or “isn’t that lovely, blind people getting a bit of recreation” and I don’t think either reaction is unfair, if you’ve not had much to do with the visually impaired.

As I’ve had the privilege of helping a couple of dozen blind people find work, enjoyed great meals from a blind chef, enjoyed a lot of music and other arts from blind people and met a few score guide dogs, I am a little closer to the action than many people.

A quick response to “how does that work?”

  • On each team there are a variety of players from totally blind to partially sighted
  • The ball is bowled up about 100 kilometres per hour – yes, the speed of a car on a country road – and it rattles, which enables totally blind players to hear it and whack it to some corner of the oval lest it thunder painfully into their shins.
  • Players train and compete with all the dedication of their mainstream colleagues, except that they get no payments, virtually no funding and no multi-million-dollar endorsements.

These are not, as you might think, disabled people out for a lark. These are athletes who take time from their lives, their work, and their families to represent their country – a country that is for the most part, blind to Blind Cricket.

We had stirring national anthems. We had team photos, with players beaming with pride to wear the national colours. We had a stirring opening address by Kelly Vincent MLC, a woman with cerebral palsy that has served our State with distinction since being elected to Parliament under the dignity For Disability banner.

After the ceremony, there was the morning tea. I spoke with lots of interesting people, including members of the England team, where I indulged in the usual Australian hobby of frightening them with stories of how hot it would be. They were lovely lads who were representing their country very well.

IMAG0088As both Lady Devotea and I had previously worked in the sector, there were old colleagues to catch up with. Many of the local SA blind cricket contingent are personal friends, and it was great to see three South Australian’s in the national team, including our great friend Michael Zannis. Here he is:

We really must congratulate the tournament Director Cathrin Gill who pulled it all together.

Over the next ten days, the teams will meet in a  variety of formats and establish who really is the greater team, and I am hoping it will be these guys in yellow.

IMAG0102Regardless of the outcome, it is an amazing thing to be even a small part of.

So after the warm words and cheers and ringing anthems, after the pies and pasties and frog cakes and strawberries and fritz-and-sauce sandwiches, and after all the tea was gone, after most of the dignitaries had headed of to the next place to dignify with their presence, after we food and beverage sponsors had packed up our empty canisters and trays, the only thing left was for 22 players, plus officials to give it their all in the first match of the series.

Just then, in midst of an endless summer of hot and burning days, a violent thunderstorm hit and Adelaide was drenched.

No play was possible on the first day.

Test Match, One Day International or T20 format, the one thing that all kinds of cricket have in common is that the weather has the final say. So for that day these guys, superstars all, have to cope with being all dressed up with nowhere to go.

I’m sure they’ll cope.




One Is Highly Unamused

It’s not everyday you turn 90. For most people, it only happens once.

It will happen twice this year for Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, or to provide her official titles, Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, Her… hey, let’s just shorten the rest or we’ll be here all day:  Queen Of Canada, Queen Of Australia, Queen Of New Zealand, Queen Of Jamaica, Queen Of Barbados, Queen Of the Bahamas, Queen Of Grenada, Queen Of Papua New Guinea, Queen Of  The Solomon Islands, Queen Of Tuvalu, Queen Of Saint Lucia, Queen Of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Queen Of Belize, Queen Of Antigua and Barbuda, and Queen Of Saint Kitts and Nevis.

Her first 90th birthday will be held on April 21st this year. That’s her Majesty’s actual birthday, but her official birthday is in June. Whilst this leads to probably the coldest and wettest public holiday where I live in South Australia, it massively increases the chances that HRH’s UK subjects will have a nice day to celebrate this milestone.

I’ve been somewhat of a monarchist most of my life, though I was very unhappy when Prince Charles issued an edict which effectively prevented one of my favourite comedy teams from providing commentary on the last Royal Wedding, which I thought was a bit rich. After all, he may be the world’s oldest apprentice, but some of the things Prince Charles has said during his long and illustrious wait for a job have been nothing short of comedy gold themselves.

In fact, Australia has a bit of a problem now, because for most of my life it’s been generally assumed that whilst we love the Queen, we might as well dispense with the whole royalty thing once Charles gets the job. This is complicated now by the fact that Prince William, Duke of Cornwall and the next in line, is very popular here, and we might stick with the whole thing if we can have him. And of course, the whole thing is complicated further by Her Majesty’s determination to actually live forever.

Anyway, I want to specifically address one aspect of the celebrations: the “Patron’s Lunch”. 10,000 specially invited guests enjoying lunch outside Buckingham Palace next June, being organised in the belief that it won’t rain that day.

Marks and Spencer, a grocer I have a fair bit of time for, are providing a “wicker basket lunch”. Obviously, at $A310 per person, they just can’t call it a picnic, can they?

There’s a bit of controversy as one of Her Majesty’s grandsons seems to be taking a chunk of cash to organise the whole shebang, but to be honest, that’s not bothering me. I’m a great believer in tradition, and what could be more historically accurate than minor semi-royalty leveraging their positions for a spot of cash?

No, I have a problem with one of the items in the wicker basket. Namely, PG Tips teab*gs.

It is to the eternal shame of the once great tea drinking nation of Great Britain that, in the same year as young Princess Elizabeth was crowned, the teab*g was introduced to the UK. Not by the aforementioned PG Tips (Brooke Bond), but by Tetley, their main rival.

In the years that followed, the UK has lost an Empire and a taste for good quality tea, and gained a Commonwealth and a taste for teab*gs.

Nevertheless, I beleive it is completely outrageous for any sort of official celebration to be using teab*gs. They are supposed to be honouring someone for 90 years, and most of that spent in public service. Quite frankly, if it was a quick afternoon tea to celebrate Johnno the apprentice plumber from the next street’s 22nd birthday, teab*gs would be underwhelming, but this really launches us into the stratosphere of offensive.

When the glorious day comes when people say “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH” and decide that they don’t want paper, plastic, plastic pretending to be silk, string, glue, staples or the delightfully named carcinogen 3-MCPD in their tea, there will be much rejoicing. But we know these future citizens will scratch their heads and say “what”?


“You mean they toasted Her Majesty, with all those titles, with a TEAB*G?”

I might humbly suggest that HRH call upon one of her other positions, such as head of The New Zealand Defence Force or Commander-in-chief- of the Canadian Armed Forces, and have entire squadrons of crack commandos storm the event, removing the offending items, piling them up and applying a flame-thrower, whilst proper tea is served to all and sundry. Lock the offending grandson in the Tower for a few weeks for good measure.

I don’t get the UK’s love of PG Tips. It’s owned by Unilever, the same megalith that gives us Liptons, but for some reason it inspires great loyalty from Britons living abroad. I guess taste is an important memory jogger, but for the life of me I can’t get why this particular taste is worth remembering. Then again, one of Manchester’s other great exports is the band Joy Division, so clearly ‘taste’ means something different in Manchester.

So, on The Queen’s Birthday holiday here, June 10th, I shall probably organise a picnic (under cover) somewhere and trot out some decent tea (Queen Adelaide is probably the one), raise a cup to someone who has I think, honestly done the best job of the job that life handed to her for 90 years.

And quietly fume about what is happening on the other side of the globe.





LP 3

Tea: It’s Not Astrology

As we all know, I never criticise anyone or anything*, but I keep seeing stories about “National Hot Tea Month” and I get rather annoyed.

Let’s tackle just some of the issues.

Firstly, in these internetty days, “National” is  a nonsense. Stop using it for “Days”, “Months” or “Weeks”. It gives no context. Use the name of the country instead.  For example, “NATIONAL Don’t Get Bitten By A Lemur Day” makes no sense if you live in New Zealand, whereas if it were called “MADAGASCAN Don’t Get Bitten By A Lemur Day” you can see that the danger of failing to achieve the aims and objectives of the day are more challenging to Madagascans.

Okay, so I may have made that one up, but it’s a valid point. Promulgators of “Days”, “Months” or “Weeks” need to use a country name, or “International”, or nothing.

For example

  • January 13th is INTERNATIONAL Skeptics Day (it really is. Trust me. Or don’t). That works.
  • Today (January 10th) is Houseplant Appreciation Day. That also works.
  • January 12th is National Pharmacists Day. RED ALERT, THEY ARE DOING IT WRONG!. For starters, there is a chain in Australia called “National Pharmacies”. How are they going to feel when half their staff take a day off after misunderstanding a Facebook Post?

You’ll note that my birthday (April 8th, start preparing now) has been known since 2010 as International Lord Devotea Day, so I do practice what I preach.

Let’s move on to the next issue: Awareness/Appreciation Days are more properly saved for life threatening illnesses or major issues. In Australia, here are the weeks we have gazetted nationally:

  • Australian Heritage Week
  • NAIDOC Week (supporting indigenous people and their culture)
  • National (sorry) Science Week
  • National (sorry) Child Protection Week
  • National (sorry) Literacy and Numaracy week
  • National (sorry) Skills Week
  • and as a bonus: “Safe Work Australia Month”

So, are we really elevating the drinking of tea, hot or otherwise, to the same degree of importance as the protection of children?

And while we are at it: a whole month? Kidney Disease gets a week. Diabetes gets a week. The United Nations International  Week of Solidarity with the Peoples Struggling against Racism and Racial Discrimination is only a week! Yet some clowns somewhere – and I think the US Tea Council may be the aforementioned clowns, although I note that the Canadians have also got into the act – have decided “Hot tea” deserves a whole month.

So, having tackled “National” and “Month”, let’s back up to “Hot”.

Who the bloody hell are the US Tea Council to decide that January is the best time for their shabbily-named event? Outside my house, the ambient temperature right now is one that you could brew an oolong at**. And furthermore, I want to live in a world where every man, woman and child can drink tea at whatever temperature they wish, without their choices being questioned.

Brace yourself, people. Brace yourself for a whole slew of articles, selling people on the benefits of drinking tea: You’ll live to 126, you will lose 27% of your body mass, you will win the lottery, you will grow three extra teeth and become irresistible to your preferred gender.

But really, why should we be concerned about people who don’t drink tea? Do we need to proselytise? Are we tea drinkers or some sort of Tea Witnesses? Do we want to knock on people’s doors and share the Good News about Tea?

So, I urge you all to share this: Let’s put the genie back in the box. Let’s acknowledge that there is no month for tea, hot or cold. It’s every day, rain, hail or shine. Do we have a Breathing Week? Do we have a Hydration Month? No. The only thing that I associate months with is astrology, and I’d like to think we want to aim for more credible associations.

EVERY day is Tea Day. Every day you need to consider: Do I have sufficient tea? Have I made enough lovely cups of tea to show my love for those around me? Is there any way I can share the tea love?

Perhaps we could have an “International Tea For The Homeless Week”. Or “Donate Some Tea to The Needy Day”. Or hold afternoon teas to raise money for cancer research.

But “National Hot Tea Month”? They can stick it where the sun don’t shine.

And furthermore, I note that there is a “National Iced tea Month” slated for six months time. You have been warned.

(Note: I am not deriding all those tea vendors, tea bloggers and tea drinkers who are using the alleged ‘National Hot Tea Month’ as a means to promote tea drinking. Far from it. But hey, people, what if we all got together and demanded the declaration of “Universal Millennium For The Consumption of Tea at a Non-Specified temperature”? That’s far more like it)


*I thought I’d start with a joke.

** badly


A Tea Myth is As Good As A Mile

I like to answer questions on Quora and other fora.

Apart from the fact that some questions are bizarre , such as Was Jesus a Psychedelic Mushroom? or “What Kind of desserts Do Hell’s Angels Eat? , there are plenty of just plain dumb questions about tea.

And as someone with a profile concerning tea, I get asked 2-10 questions every day. I try to pick one a day to answer.

However, people ask questions all the time in life, on twitter, at markets, all over the place and I try to give the best information I can.

Yesterday, I came across a question on Facebook from someone I know. In fact, it’s the editor of a magazine who have commissioned stories about tea from me, so I’m surprised she didn’t just ask me rather than address the question generally to her (huge) Facebook stream. Here it is:

“Is there such a thing as caffeine free (traditional) tea? My kids are obsessed with sneaking our tea and it would just be easier to give them their own… Bloody English genes.”

Of course, the simple answer is “yes”. Also of course, my answer is/was “yes, but...” , the two ‘buts’ being my fairly standard ones – “but what if the basis for your question is wrong?” and “but what if the true and correct answer fails to disclose additional information which may be important?”.

For example, what if the question was: I have to go bungee jumping but I am 50Kg over the maximum allowed weight. Might I survive the plunge into the icy, torrential river below?”

Then it follows that the answer is “yes” but I would feel an obligation to ask Who the hells says you ‘have’ to go bungee jumping?’ and provide a more detailed answer, i.e. “yes you might survive, but you may well not, or you might end up in a coma, or drown once you’ve survived the plunge”.

So, as of this moment, about 22 people have engaged with the question. I myself have posted to it about 13 times.

My first answer of course, was to ask why decaf was important, and chuck in some mild sarcasm:

Robert Godden Why do you need a decaf version?

 Kelly Noble Unless you’re gonna babysit I’m not giving my 2 & 4 year olds caffeine…
Robert GoddenFair enough if one of them has had a kidney transplant, or a medically diagnosed caffeine allergy, but the slow release of limited amounts of caffeine on tea is unlikely to have a major effect.
So, what else did others say?
  • One person said she had been given tea by her parents as a child and had turned out alright, although very short. As we know, this is not entirely evidence. In fact, I know her in real life and can confirm that does drink tea and may be short: it’s hard to tell as her partner the forensic scientist/barista/future superhero I wrote about in 2012 and he is enormous, so anyone standing next to him looks petite.
  • Two people jumped on the caffeine bandwagon with, to put it politely*, new age wishy-washy hippy tripe. It’s only a matter of time before Big Pharma gets a mention, but let’s just put them to one side.
  • Eight people suggested herbals (half of them rooibos) which I think was well meant, but essential ignored the question,  which I think made it clear we are taking camellia sinesis. One of those people suggested chamomile (although they couldn’t spell it) which probably contravenes some charter on the right of the child not to be given drinks that taste like crap, but I digress.
    • One of the aforementioned eight however, introduced our first myth: “Herbal teas are divine and caffeine free”. I really don’t need to say much, except that my comment on that one was to point out that not all herbals are caffeine free, not of them are divine and some of them be even downright dangerous. I can’t find that comment now, so either it’s been removed or Facebook’s gone weird, or maybe I’ve been blocked.
  • Five people answered the question by pointing out that there are decaf teas available, and suggest brands from five companies. Good on them, they answered the question. However, I have additional information about those companies:
    • Two are massive multinationals with seriously bad reputations for exploitation of poor workers
    • One is an Australian company that blends all it’s Australian grown tea with Indian tea and then doesn’t disclose what percentage is Australian, which I have an issue with.
    • One is a company that makes outlandish claims (you know, the sort of thing Peter Foster went to prison for in the 1980s, but now seem totally acceptable) and don’t have a decaf tea that I can find, only herbals.
    • One I have no issue with at all, generally, but their claim that they decaffeinate tea “without chemicals” is just not true… at the very least, they’ve used our old friend hydrogen monoxide.
  • One person mentioned ‘naturally decaffeinated tea”. I assume they mean either the Carbon Dioxide method (where the tea is put under pressure with superheated CO2) or the Water method (where the tea is soaked and boiled to extract everything, the caffeine is removed then the leaves resoaked in the liquid. Neither of those options sound ‘natural’ to me, but I guess they are more natural than using Methylene Chloride or Ethyl Acetate**.

But all of these leads me to the two that disturbed me the most. Here they are:

“I worked for a coffee company. I asked Madura Tea Company about decaf tea. They told Me to get Deaf [I assume they mean Decaf]. Put bag in cup pour a little hot water over to cover. Leave for a few second. Tip that water out than use bag to make the tea.”


“I read this yesterday and I was at my local tea shop today and brought a really strong tea. The lady explained to me that decaf tea is actually just normal tea that has been rinsed (which is why it always looks used!). Apparently you can make any tea decaf by adding boiling water. Let it sit for a minute and then tossing out the water – then add water and drink … Apparently it should be decaf”

Let me say that (a) I think both these people posted in good faith and (b) they seem to have been let down by our very own industry.

Whilst you could argue that one sentence in the second one is technically true “Apparently you can make any tea decaf by adding boiling water” it does not go on to add “… assuming you have a laboratory, qualifications in chemistry and a carbon filter” which I think is pretty vital information.

When I first started writing about tea, I saw this myth a few times being debunked, and I honestly thought people were making it up to debunk it. I mean, who actually believes that?

Turns out way to many people do.

The question is, what too do about it?

With regard to Kelly’s question, I think it’s really sad. People should be embracing the like of the Persian Princess Moment with their kids. I still remember specific cups of tea I had as a kid. Important moments shared over a cuppa.

I feel that decaf tea in this instance is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I did add this to the discussion:

Kelly, the things I do for you. I’ve just read 6 entire studies on caffeine in Children, conducted between 1980 and 2013. The amounts of caffeine studied varied between about 1-2 teacups per day levels up to about 12 (because that’s what ‘energy drinks’ have in them). I’d say the studies found equally positive and negative effects, but the overall finding is best summed up by this quote: ” Results suggest that caffeine exerts only small and inconsistent effects on the classroom behavior of kindergarten children. These results cast doubt on the importance of caffeine as a variable controlling the classroom behavior of normal kindergartners.” Only Canada has guidelines that I can find for Caffeine in children, and they set the limit at 45mg, which is more than you might find in a cup of tea, depending on the tea.

And then I added:

And of course, I’d argue that if you do limit to one cup per day, why shilly-shally around with cheap shitty teab*g tea? Get a teapot, get your kids some good stuff and make it a ritual. You will get so much more out of it than any imagined negative health impacts.

Hopefully that helped.

But when it comes to countering the myths of tea – how do we do it?

Answers below, please!

(if Facebook allows it and you want to take a peek at the discussion, it’s here)


*”Politely” is a relative term, obviously

**I am so totally going to use “Ethyl Acetate” as a bogus name somewhere!

Reality is Merely An Illusion

Happy New Year!

This year, I resolve to work on my distractability.

This quote got me thinking:albert_einstein_quote

I spent the last few months of 2015 reading a fair bit, and as usual, I read some fiction, some non-fiction.

But this year, it was the non-fiction that resonated.

In 2015 I read 2.75 books by Tom Holland, whose Persian Fire and Rubicon I read a few years back. Tom is my equal third favourite writer of history/archaeology – equal with Peter Ackroyd who mainly writes about London. (My second favourite is Francis Pryor, because not only are his books interesting but he uses them to settles scores with people/authorities/laws/countries he disagrees with, and my favourite is Paul Blinkhorn, who, though I’ve never read an actual book he’s written, writes a dozen interesting things a week on Facebook.  Paul was also far and away the coolest guy on Time Team, pulling up on a motorbike to look at something that looks like a pebble to you or I, pronounce “yes, a fragment of a Samian-ware pot from the year 499AD give or take six months, probably used to store olive oil and bought to the UK by a one-armed Greek Hoplite called Spiro” before riding off into the gloomy English sunset.

Anyway, back to Mr Holland. This year I read “Millennium”, which is not about partying like it’s 1999, but, as the subtitle suggests (“The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom” ) is about the period 900AD to 1100AD, give or take a bit. A lot of it is about the Investiture Controversy, which really paved the way for the modern concept of the separation of church and state.

Incidentally, in the book he makes the point that followers of Islam never had a similar event, and so the separation concepts is alien in that religion. (Australian ex-Prime Minster Tony Abbot said exactly the same thing later in 2015, and got attacked by the Australian Human Rights commission for being ‘racist’. Tone and The AHRC have never played nicely together, though).

What struck me about that book was how many people met a gruesome end in it. The separation of church and state is a fine ideal, but it was born of much stabbing. It’s a bit like democracy: we have this romantic notion of Ancient Greeks sitting about discussing philosophy, but democracy was also born at the sharp end of a sword.

So, there’s my theme, if you missed it. Read a book and the reality in your head changes.

I also read Holland’s “Dynasty” which covered the five first Roman Emperors (Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero). We all know things about them, most notably that Nero fiddled while Rome burned (not true) whereas there are many more interesting things that are true. (e.g. Caligula got his nickname at a military camp at 4 years old when his parents dressed him as a tiny soldier – Caligula translates as “Military Bootikins”, several female members of the dynasty had a passion for dwarves, Claudius dribbled a lot).

Only my unshakeable belief that Captain James Tiberius Kirk of the USS Enterprise got his middle name from a Roman Emperor remained unscathed.

I’m now onto Holland’s “In The Shadow of The Sword” which challenges the notion that the Qu’ran was created ‘as is’ from nowhere, by showing the other sources it was drawn from. Again, reality is being impinged upon, most notably the history of the Samaritans. Turns out the Samaritans were bloodthirsty terrorists capable of appalling atrocities.  So the biblical parable of the Good Samaritan, which seems to be interpreted these days as implying that Samaritans were lovely guys, is really about a bloke who went against type. Since I know my audience here is tea drinkers, and therefore almost entirely sci-fi fans, I humbly* submit if it was rewritten as “The Good Dalek” it would be a more accurate portrayal of the main points Jesus was reportedly sharing..

Prior to that, I read a book about the origins of Nursery Rhymes, and for me, that really altered my reality. In particular, Humpty Dumpty.

It seems that ever since Lewis Carroll decided to publish just the last verse of the poem within Through The Looking Glass, and his illustrator drew Humpty as an egg, well, Humpty has been an egg. But it seems, that if you read all three verses that’s just plain wrong.

In sixteen hundred and forty-eight
When England suffered pains of state
The Roundheads laid siege to Colchester town
Where the King’s men still fought for the crown.

There one-eyed Thompson stood on the wall
A gunner with the deadliest aim of all
From St Mary’s tower the cannon he fired
Humpty Dumpty was his name.

Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the King’s horses and all the King’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty together again!

Yes, a cannon, not an egg. It got blown off the wall, and with it, King Charlie’s chances.

So, is there a point here? Yes there is:

Reading alters your reality. And little side notes are often the most illuminating.When I read, I often sip tea.

So, if you thought my resolution was to work on my distractability in some vain effort to “fix’ it, think again.

I’m going to embrace distraction in 2016, drink a lot of tea and… look, is that a squirrel?


*’humbly’ is just one of those words writers use. Feel free to snigger when I use it.

The Restive Season

Some random person on Facebook said the other day in my direction: “I guess Christmas Day gives you a break from drinking all that tea”.

What? That’s the most inaccurate thing since Keanu Reeves had “actor” put on his passport!

Christmas Day is about having those people you are closest to around you. It’s not about less tea, it’s about as much tea as you can reasonably consume and still function.

So, for your education and entertainment, here’s my Christmas Day tea audit.

Prior to Christmas Day, we decided to only give actual tea to four people, but another ten got some home-made shortbread which had a Rose Blush flavour profile, and we made some teapot-shaped gingerbreads, so there was a bit of tea-themed giftery.

So, Christmas Day meal tea starts two days out. During that day, we made 4 litres of Fleurs de Provence and iced it down. Due to something happening (which will be detailed in a post in another 4 weeks) we had missed a market we were planning on having our iced tea at, and in the freezer we had significant quantities of frozen Fleurs de Provence. We use that to keep the iced tea cool in the Australian heat – if you use regular ice, it dilutes it.

Given that the forecast was for over 38 degrees (let’s just add that means over 100 if your country happens to use that temperature scale that was popular when Queen Victoria was on the UK throne), iced tea was an essential.

We also believe that when it comes to Christmas, traditional meals are best. So whilst some of my weak, lily-livered, cowardly, spineless countrymen and countrywomen opt for feeble substitutes like salad and seafood, we were committed to doing things properly.

Whilst Lady Devotea is our resident expert in desserts, the pudding is often my responsibility. Usually I make up the pudding well in advance but again due to circumstances I found myself needing to make one on December 23rd. So, first step: dried fruit gets a soaking in some 1910. Then, the recipe calls for some milk, so instead, I made some Aussie Ginger Chai. I followed the golden rule of make twice as much tea as you need and drink the rest.

On Christmas Eve there was a call from one of our guests with a request. In fact is was Devotea Jnr, informing us that he had been bragging about how good our FIZZY Fleurs de Provence iced tea is, and that it was sure to be offered at the table. Great! We have 4 litres of it iced and still, and suddenly it needs to be iced and fizzy. We set about making up some syrup. Luckily we also have a soda maker.

So, with tea already inserted in advance for Christmas Day, let’s move the day itself.

A Lord Petersham was enjoyed upon arising, and an hour later, we opted for a repeat of that whilst exchanging gifts.

Time to glaze the ham. Into the mixture goes apple juice, maple syrup, brown sugar and some left over Lord Petersham. I can say without fear of contradiction that it turned out very well indeed.

The vegetable were par cooked, and then cooled down. After that, they were shaken in a bag with The Devotea Gunpowder and Rosemary Saltea Tea Rub, one of our lesser know products. More of the salt tea rub went into the cornflour mixture that would form the basis of the gravy, once chicken stock and roast turkey juices were added.

So the meal came out, and was duly scoffed, along with copious quantities of iced tea – both still and fizzy.

It would be remiss of me to mention at this point that coffee also made an appearance.

It’s not exactly a secret, it’s just something that hardly ever gets a mention, but we have our own range of coffee blends as well. We do not sell them on line or at markets, instead we use them ourselves if we cater an event, or sell them to the organisers of certain events.

Anyway, Christmas Eve, Lady D created something that was layered like a trifle. It had sponges soaked in a mix she made of our Velvet Kilimanjaro coffee with Kalhua. It had creamy, cream cheese based layers. It had ginger biscuit layers. It had caramel sauce layers. And just before serving, it had fresh peaches dipped in sugar and then grilled added to the top.

It was quite spectacular. By the time it made its appearance, we were virtually comatose, and yet room was found by everyone to pile some onto our suffering digestive systems.

After all that, there was nothing for it but a hot cup of tea, We chose Amba, with its mix of Christmassy spices, dried cherries, black tea and rooibos to finish off.

And yet, after all that, there was still time, between lunch and bed, as a fiery hot day turned into a soothing cool change and bought welcome rain, so steep a few more cups, drink a little more iced tea and try to move as little as possible.

I can’t imagine how much poorer Christmas would have been without tea.

We had only people we wanted at our meal this year as opposed to a cast of thousands, but we could not have everyone we wanted, sadly. So on Boxing Day, we found ourselves inserted Skype-wise into a Canadian Christmas Day, Rose Blush in hand, keeping the Christmas spirit alive.

(Oh, and before you ask, here’s the pudding:)


Pudding 700



12 Days of Tea Pairing

As you all know, I am one of the world’s most knowledgeable tea people, and I am also very generous and willing to share my vast brain with less fortunate beings. The same goes with previous generations of Lord Devotea’s. As an example, the third Lord Devotea** assisted a young lady with some tea pairing around Christmas 1895. He obviously helped a great deal, so I thought I’d share it here.


Dear Lord Devotea

One of my suitors sent me a partridge, the dear chap. So I had Cook knock it on the head, stuff it with some pears from a small tree that was also included and now it’s been roasted a treat. Which tea do you recommend to accompany it?

Yours sincerely,

Miss Amy.

Dear Miss Amy

My felicitations, what a lovely gift! A nice strong black tea is called for. You might even be so bold as to choose a strong, traditional Earl Grey.

Lord Devotea


Dear Lord Devotea

Thank you for yesterday’s advice. The dear man has done it again. This time it was two plump turtle doves, with which Cook has gone for more of a simple sauté, with some wilted greens on the side.

Yours faithfully,

Miss Amy.

Dear Miss Amy

Yesterday’s advice would work again, as the birds are no doubt also quite gamey, but you may want to consider a notch lighter. Perhaps a simple golden tipped Yunnan would be the best choice.

Lord Devotea


Dear Lord Devotea

Once again, I must prevail upon your good wishes. My gentlemen caller has presented three French hens. Our head Gardener has several of his boys knock up a coop, and we now have some lovely fresh eggs. Cook is planning a dish called Akoori that he picked up during his time in India. Sounds a bit foreign to me. What tea would be best?

Yours thankfully,

Miss Amy.

Dear Miss Amy

I am always happy to help. Akoori, you say? I know it well. It’s quite spicy. A plain and refreshing white tea, such as that from Doke in India, will cleanse your palate of the more insistent flavours. It is one of my favourite teas, perhaps we should share a pot sometime.

Lord Devotea.


Dear Lord Devotea

Well, there was quite a racket here today as four calling birds turned up. To be honest, I am a bit fed up with poultry. Nevertheless, Cook quietened the birds down with a few well placed blows and before you know it, has created a calling bird soup, with lovage and celeriac. So far, your recommendations have been spot on, I must say, but I think this one is a bit of a head scratcher.

Yours gratefully,

Miss Amy.

Dear Miss Amy

I think you might head into the realms of green tea today. A simple gunpowder will complement the vegetal tones in that soup. I would be only too happy to assist you in the selection and preparation thereof.

Lord Devotea


Dear Lord Devotea

I suspect you were glad to not get a note from me prevailing upon you yesterday. The fine gentlemen broke with his fowl theme and presented me with five gold rings. Of course I was quite touched, and after I despatched my butler to the jewellers to get them melted down and sold, I had a slap up meal at the Savoy.

However today, I became the proud owner of six geese a-laying. I had the garden lads extend the coop, but one of the French hens must have annoyed the geese who set about it and this led to its demise. Cook has whipped up an excellent goose egg and French hen salmagundi. What are your tea thoughts?

Yours contentedly,

Miss Amy

Dear Miss Amy

You do like to set me a challenge. I usually drink one of my own creations, the excellent 1001 Nights, with salads, particularly salads with mint in them. Salmagundi is, in my opinion, one of the finest salads there are, in that it has more meat, less vegetables than most. I hope you enjoy it. It sounds like the sort of meal one would invite one’s great and helpful friends to.

Lord Devotea


Dear Lord Devotea

I’m pulling my hair out now. Frederic, the dear chap, has gone a bit bonkers and suddenly my small lake is full of swans! Cook did himself a mischief trying to grab one for luncheon, and has been carted off to hospital. Assistant Cook claims to be frightened of swans and has instead simply put some leftover salmagundi from yesterday on white bread sandwiches. Honestly, I don’t know how much more I can take.

Yours frantically,

Miss Amy

Dear Miss Amy

We can take pleasure in the simple things in life from time to time, like plain fare and good company. I suggest you ask for a simple single origin Darjeeling, enjoy your luncheon and then have a nice lie down.

Lord Devotea


Dear Lord Devotea

It’s a shame that one cannot send sound instead of words, for I could share with you a mighty confabulation of metallic and wooden thuds, girlish squeals and bovine lowing that is ringing though the grounds. I was all set for a quiet morning with some of my chums, playing a new game called Sphairistiké*** . All of a sudden, in marched eight maids, with stools and buckets; each leading a cow. They arrayed themselves near the folly and began milking. Soon the kitchen was awash with milk. Cook has made pork roasted in milk, something called ‘arroz con leche’ that he learned to make in a Spanish prison – it looks like rice pudding to me – and we’ll be having sour milk cake for afternoon tea for days. 

I can barely keep up. Please advise.

Miss Amy

Dear Miss Amy

It seems you will have cake for many visitors over the coming days. I myself am in the area tomorrow.

The ideal tea with that cake would be a smooth Keemun. This tea would also complement the other dishes you mention, but I think you might also consider a tea blended with a cassis tisane. They are quite popular. I have just sent one to the Millers in Torquay to celebrate the birthday of their young daughter Agatha****. Lovely people, they invited me over for morning tea next week.

Lord Devotea


Dear Lord Devotea

I had no need to write to you yesterday. Not because this procession of gifts has stopped, but simply that nine ladies danced into the estate and continued to dance for hours. After they started collapsing from exhaustion I had the footmen feed them some sour milk cake, revive them with the Keemun you suggested and billeted them in the old servants wing alongside the milkmaids.

Today, it has taken an even more unusual turn, as I can see from my window that a group of ten men are leaping all over the front gardens. I sent the under-butler out to enquire, and it turns out they are a party of minor Lords from some of the less impressive Northern counties. 

I have never had any Lords to afternoon tea, so I would sincerely welcome your rapid advice as to the best form of tea to sate their noble palates.

Yours worriedly,

Miss Amy

My dear Miss Amy

It’s a shame you have not previously thought to invite a Lord to afternoon tea, or you would know that we Lords, that is Lords such as I, tend to gravitate toward Lord Petersham tea. If you are wanting to rid yourselves of these tiresome Northern Lords, however, there is a Japanese tea substitute called Genmaicha which will cause a sudden urge to vomit in anyone with any taste or refinement whatsoever. In fact if any of them actually drink it, I’d question their peerage.

Meanwhile, I shall avail myself of a Lord Petersham in the peace and quiet of my home and gardens, and consider inviting a treasured friend or two to enjoy the serenity.

Lord Devotea


Dear Lord Devotea

 I am at my wits end. Two days ago I thought the Lords might be the end of it, but yesterday 11 men in kilts with bagpipes turned up. During the afternoon it was quite fun, by watching the dancing ladies caper gracefully to the pipes I could almost ignore the Lords a-leaping. However, there was some consternation as one errant Lord leapt straight through the confines of the hen house, leading an almighty brawl after a milk cow, bitten by an enraged goose, trampled on another Lord’s hat and pushed over a maid. 

On top of that, the whole place reeks of milk and the money I made from selling the gold rings is being rapidly eroded by the need to feed 38 people and 25 head of livestock.

Frederic has now sent a dozen drummers. The whole thing sounds like a military tattoo. I have absolutely had enough. Frederic is  coming over this afternoon, and I plan to put my foot down.

I am too upset for any tea. However, If it is not too forward, I would like to invite myself to morning tea at your estate tomorrow. Please say yes, I shall go mad here with all this noise.

Yours with great affection

Miss Amy

My dear Miss Amy

You are most welcome. I shall send the carriage for you tomorrow at 10. I look forward to our morning tea.

Yours in anticipation

Lord Devotea


My dear Lord Devotea

Thank you for all of your wonderful advice, and forgive me for sending you this note via the carriage you were kind enough to send for me. I am unable to come for morning tea as I have great news: I have agreed to marry Mr Frederic. I did so on the proviso that all the post-geese gift could be returned to him, and he has accepted.

The future Mrs Amy Austin*****


Dear Lord Devotea

Your Lordship, I understand you have provided some excellent advice on tea to my future wife. Tomorrow, an afternoon tea to celebrate our engagement will be held.

I have asked my fiancée to wear the five heirloom gold rings which I sent her and she is refusing to do so.  They have been in our family for generations and  I rather suspect my mother may raise the matter. Should this innocent enquiry increase in stature to the frisson of a disappointed look, the weight of a frosty silence or even the horror of a sharp word or two, I feel the whole event may be sullied. Could you recommend a tea to soothe the mood?

Frederic Austin

My dear Mr Austin.

I am afraid you are asking too much of a tea. My best suggestion to you is to have your staff prepare an excellent pot of your very favourite tea, find a quiet spot before the party, and drink it in a calm and unhurried manner, as though you have not a care in the world. I understand you are a composer, perhaps let a simple melody works its way into your head instead of thinking of those rings.

Then, Sir, simply let your mind drift to that moment over the coming year, every time tension rears its ugly head.

Yours sincerely

Lord Devotea



** This dates from when the 3rd Lord Devotea was a young man and prior to his meeting and falling in love with the 3rd Lady Devotea in the aftermath of the 1901 Ritz Cake Scandal. Even if you are a wholly fictitious character, everyone deserves a backstory.

*** Yes, ‘Sphairistiké’ is the name the guy who invented lawn tennis gave it. Amazing the name didn’t catch on but the sport did!

**** Young Agatha Miller went on to grow up, marry a man called Mr Christie, and write a bunch of books. Quite a lot of them featured a Belgian detective who only drank cassis (blackcurrant) tisane. Co-incidence? Surely not!

***** Sometime in the 1800s, Frederic Austin married a lady called Amy. He is a composer most known for “The Beggar’s Opera”, but also the man who added the weird bit around “five gold rings” to the traditional song “The Twelve Days Of Christmas”. Now you know.

Danger Will Robinson

Hidden Dangers: The 10 Side Effects of Green Tea

I get asked a fair few questions on Quora along the lines of: What are the side effects of Green Tea?

To save wasting my valuable time, I’ve decided to offer one comprehensive answer to the question, and hopefully this means that all those people who apparently can ask questions on Quora but can’t actually just Google something can move on to using their time more productively playing Xbox.

So here it is:

Side Effect 1: You will no longer be thirsty.

Yes, as unlikely as it seems, the water content of the tea will virtually strip away that thirst you’ve been working up. So, if you are truly committed to maintaining a level of thirst, you need to avoid green tea and move to say, a delightful glass of popcorn.

Side Effect 2: You may drink less beer, coffee or water.

This is clearly serious. If you’ve been swilling beer, coffee or water for their respective well-known effects of making you look and act stupid, jittery or boring, then drinking green tea may make you lose some of that hard earned reputation. If vomiting in gutters, talking at 1.5 times normal speed or single-handedly supporting the industry that charges you $2 for 0.00001c worth of water is important to you, step away from that gaiwan.

Side Effect 3: You may enjoy a mild boost in productivity.

You know what it’s like. It’s 3pm, and you feel sleepy at work. Of course, you want to go and lay down on one of the comfortable day beds your workplace has provided so that staff can snooze away the afternoon, but be warned: a cup of green tea may make you alert and function more adroitly.

Side Effect 4: You may spend less money

You’ll no longer be able to boast about the money you waste on cappuccinos or Harvey Wallbangers when you are getting four steeps out of a decent teaspoonful of a good green tea, worth pennies. Oh no, what will people think?

Side Effect 5: You might not care about being a hipster

There’s nothing like a three-quarter roast Mongolian Rumpty-Tumpty bean Peaberry semi-soy half-caf to inflame your desire to grow a beard, wear an ironic teeshirt and ride a bicycle, but green tea can instead place you in a meditative state where you don’t give a tinker’s cuss about what you or the people around you are wearing. You have been warned!

Side Effect 6: You may develop annoyingly good taste buds.

Drink too much good quality green tea, and you might find you can no longer tolerate that dreadful crap that comes in teab*gs. You may find yourself insulting a perfectly respectable restaurant that’s just charged you $4 to slop some chlorine-tasting lukewarm tap water into a coffee cup containing a 2c teab*g they’ve bought from a supermarket. This may embarrass your friends.

Side Effect 7: You may have to get new friends.

See side effect 6 above and work it out for yourself. No doubt you can, you smarty-pants green-tea-swiller!

Side Effect 8: You might be mistaken for a super-villain

We all know from movies that the darkest hearted, most ruthless super-villains are always sipping tea just before pressing the button on their world-destroying ray gun, right? So it’s only natural that law enforcement, in the absence of any actual evidence, will just arrest anyone found with a quarter kilo bag of Long Jing. Makes sense, and it’s nice to know they are keeping us safe.

Side Effect 9: Unwelcome prattle

Following several decades of research that shows that many ingredients in green tea have mild therapeutic benefits, as a regular green tea drinker you will be deluged by comments from half-wits who have read articles written by half-wits, who will be keen to remind you that just one cup of green tea cures cancer, herpes, haemorrhoids, death and the hole in the ozone layer.

Side Effect 10: You might suddenly become a communist

Drinking Green tea means you might learn phrases like “Bi Lo Chun”, “Pai Mu Tan” and “Dong Ding”. Before you know it, you’re translating these for your friends. And who speaks Chinese? Commies do, that’s who! Best to stick to good, wholesome English words like “cappuccino”, “lager” and “sauvignon blanc”

That all makes you think, eh?

I hope you appreciate this article on the dangers of green tea. It’s not too late to share it and get the word out. I’m sure the Big Tea conspiracy will shut me down, but in the meanwhile, let’s share, share, share and try to educate the poor, ignorant masses.

Oh, and one final point: like virtually every other article you’ve ever read on green tea, all of the above actually applies to black, oolong and white teas as well. Sorry if that’s confusing, but blame the aforementioned half-wits.

Danger Will Robinson

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