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Dec 17 / Jonathan

What Orwell overlooked

About making tea, that is. A year or so ago I posted George Orwell’s guide to brewing tea (by way of Hitchens, I notice; peace to his memory), and I’m compelled, on reflection and experience, to suggest that he missed perhaps the most important rule.

Make tea with good water.

Spend some time on the road, brewing tea in strange places, and you’ll find that from time to time your morning cup is nearly undrinkable, and that the only difference is the quality of the local water. What quality? I don’t really know. Search the web for tea scum and you’ll find a collection of theories, the predominant one implicating calcium carbonate, along with a suggestion to neutralize it with lemon.

So, I guess, carry a jug of good water with you, use it when the local water’s bad, and refill it when it’s good. Not, of course, if you have to get the jug past the TSA, but if you’re driving, you’ll find it makes a bigger difference than taking the teapot to the kettle.

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