Tales of Tea –Tea bags & Margaret Thatcher

I was surprised and delighted recently to hear from an old friend and collector of Stone Street Press books: she was arranging a special get-together for a large number of her tea-aficionada friends, and wanted to present each one with a signed copy of…you guessed it… my “How to Make A Decent Cup of Tea”.
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I made up the books and sent them off to J. by Express Mail. She emailed to tell me they had arrived one day ahead!
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I wrote her:
“Wow! I’m very impressed with USPS, who beat their estimate by a whole day! Well done, guys.
And thanks so much, J!
Tea’s up!
Malachi

A COUPLE OF TEA-TALES FOR YOU!

PS: By the way, tea-bag tea is really quite OK. I used to work (in London) for J.Lyons & Co. Ltd –they of the famous Lyons Teashops, and caterers by appointment to the Crown. Among many other things, they were tea-importers. The tea came in from China and India in those big tea-chests, lined with that gold-silver tea-chest paper.
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Lyons blended and packaged the loose tea from the tea-chests, and the fine tea “dust” that was left –called “fannings”– they eventually figured out to package in tea-bags and sell. (They may indeed have been the inventors of the tea bag: there are many claimants.)
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So –it was the same tea, only “finer”. Although some experts do disagree with that: they hold that the “unfurling” of the whole leaf in the boiling water (the so-called “agony of the leaves”) was detectable in the flavor of the brew.
(Sounds a little too much like waterboarding to me!)
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Another brief little Tea story.
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I worked for JLyons as a systems analyst, in their HQ in Hammersmith called Cadby Hall. Just down the corridor from me was the food-testing laboratory, in which a young biochemist, a woman, worked –name of Margaret Thatcher!
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Yes –the same Maggie T!
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In the morning at 11 am, and in the afternoon, at 3 pm, the same tea-trolley came round to our offices to give us both –and all the others– our tea.
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We supped from the same saucer. Almost.
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And neither of us ever looked back!


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