A Nice(r) Cup of (Jam) Tea

I’m English and this means that from my tenderest of years I have been socially engineered to drink tea. I have been conditioned from birth to understand that the offer of a ‘nice cup of tea’ is generally regarded as the definitive answer to all of lifes crises.

On the day that that someone is diagnosed with a life-threatening condition, the inevitable reaction to the news from grandmothers across the length of Britain is likely to be “I’ll put the kettle on, I’m sure you’d like a cup of tea”. Right at that moment there are probably few things that you desire less than a cup of tea, but you probably don’t have the heart to say so.

It may well be a national stereotype and a horrible cliché, but the strange fact is that the vast majority of the British populous will freely tell you that it really is hard to think of many things that are as calming, as satisfying, and as easily affordable as a good cuppa.

This leaves me a bit adrift because, despite my place of birth, the reality is that I really don’t like tea at all.

A “good cuppa”

Perhaps, herein lies the first problem, whilst a good cup of tea may (and I would debate this) be a wonderful thing, I have also been socially conditioned to never actually drink a good cup of tea.

With the exceptions of India and Kenya, wherever I travel, the tea that I am offered invariably comes from a tea bag, which is full of a dust that gives itself up easily when submerged in water, but really doesn’t taste of anything much at all.

Despite the fact that they proudly proclaim themselves as a nation of tea lovers, the inhabitants of the United Kingdom are the worst of all. Supermarket teabags generally bought because they are the cheapest are usually the order of the day, and they often taste like something that has just been swept up from the floor.

Apparently, the population of the UK drank more than 200,000,000 cups of tea a day last year, and just in case you miscounted the zeros, that is 200 million cups. That’s a hell of a lot of tea, and I really wonder how much of it is actually worth drinking. Approximately 3% of the tea sold in the UK is loose leaf, which apparently is the only way to make a really decent cup, which means that the vast majority of people settle for tasteless and uninspiring crap.

Now, I have during my travels had some very good, or so I am told, tea passing over my tastebuds and I still didn’t like it much, so my personal problem isn’t with teabags, so that little rant was all a bit of an aside really.

NO to all of the colours and herbalnesses of the rainbow

So, we have established that I don’t like black tea, I don’t like it from a bag or a pile of leaves, with or without milk and the amount of sugar you do or don’t put in it makes no difference.

I also don’t like white, red or green tea and am unlikely to like any other colour of tea that may exist that I don’t know about.

Then there are all of the herbal and fruit ‘teas’, which firstly piss me off a bit by the very fact that they are called teas when they contain no tea, these are herbal and fruit infusions, they are not teas. Apart from my issues with their naming, I generally find that most of them don’t taste of very much and the ones that do, I don’t’ really like the taste of.

Jam Tea (which is also not a tea)

Yes, I have just in two words completely undermined my own argument about why fruit teas shouldn’t be called teas and I apologise for it, what I mean of course is jam infusions.

This is a Rima thing, and I thought it was a very weird idea at first, but I’ve come to realise that it really is my favourite kind of ‘tea’ or infusion by a long way.

Let’s not overcomplicate this, it’s a couple of spoons of jam, your favourite shop bought or homemade jam, plonked into a cup with boiling water poured over it and given a good stir. Anything goes here really, but please avoid strawberry because for some reason it always seems to be a disappointment, oh and anything with ginger in it is a winner.

I’m sure you have some kind of jam around your kitchen somewhere and some way to boil water, so why not give it a try. You just might like it, whether you are a tea lover or not!