Cake Tea And Biscuits
September 5, 2005 6:22 PM   Subscribe

posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:26 PM on September 5, 2005

Marvelous. Neat calming find, Silune. Thanks.
posted by mediareport at 6:28 PM on September 5, 2005

Don't hate, monju; dig in the archives a bit. It's a great concept, pulled off well.
posted by mediareport at 6:29 PM on September 5, 2005

All hail the giant teapot!

posted by peacay at 6:39 PM on September 5, 2005

Awesome. In college, I was in public speaking class, and we had to do a "speech to teach." I chose to teach the class on how to make a proper cup of tea, or "cuppa". It always drives me nuts that "hot tea" in the US means a crappy old Lipton tea bag, luke warm water in a tin pot, a slice of lemon, and cream instead of milk. I'd grown up drinking what I know now to be Canadian/British version, and in my not so humble opinion, it is much better. I can't stomach most cuppa teas down here. I love unsweetened ice tea in the US now (impossible to find in Canada), but the hot version down here is just unpalatable. I resort to drinking vast amounts of PG tips at home, and sticking to coffee when out. Oh, and one other tea-snob thing: I, too, have an obsession with tea biscuits. These Milk Chocolate digestives are simply a fact of growing up in Britain or many commonwealth countries with British parents/grandparents. To this day, milky tea with chocolate biscuits make me breathe a little deeper, relax in my chair a little further, and brings me back home in an instant. I've bought a domain that I think would be awesome for a tea-rating and tea paraphernalia site, but haven't had the time to get it off the ground. Now I see something like this site and just throw my hands up in deference.
posted by barnone at 6:42 PM on September 5, 2005

Best. Review. Ever.

"A complete one off, the Garibaldi biscuit is unlike any other, and as such commands a unique position in the biscuit world.

Where do I begin, its got more currents in it than even a fruit shortcake. They come in big slabs with little marks where you are supposed to break them up. Its almost like they are shipping in kit form, and it requires a little extra bit of engagement from the biscuit eater.

They seem somehow flatter than other biscuits and their glaze gives them a high specular index.

Affectionately known as dead fly biscuits, yet again the sheer fact they have a nick name marks them out from their other biscuit brethren."

posted by barnone at 6:46 PM on September 5, 2005

Oh my god. I haven't had a Garibaldi in decades. I'd forgotten about them! Must google for suppliers.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:49 PM on September 5, 2005

Aahh. Thanks. We needed that.

Another biscuit?
posted by Miko at 6:50 PM on September 5, 2005

upton tea imports very good
posted by nervousfritz at 6:50 PM on September 5, 2005

I keep hearing about PG Tips. Can you get it in Canada? Is it marketed under another brand name here?
posted by fleetmouse at 6:54 PM on September 5, 2005

Harney & Sons

The Republic of Tea

Tao of Tea
posted by ericb at 6:56 PM on September 5, 2005

the tricky to read for some, orange on orange
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:07 PM on September 5, 2005

To accompany that teapot, here's cookie MONSTER! [photos]
posted by cenoxo at 7:10 PM on September 5, 2005

It's Cake Jim, but not as we know it (scroll down):

So what is 'Universal Cake Theory'? Well its my theory that cakes must be universal. Where there is intelligent life in the universe they probably make and eat some kind of cake. It's obvious really...

Now I know what your all going to say, 'What about silicon based life forms Nicey! Or beings composed of pure energy or those who inhabit places where the laws of physics preclude the formation of cake, or even flapjack?'. Well, the silicon based life forms probably would be quite at home with Iced Gems, or maybe an assorted selection of Spanish biscuits, which whilst not cakes are quite similar to rocks. As for those beings composed of pure energy, they probably would have something a bit like a cross between a Swiss roll and Duracell battery. The folks that live where the laws of physics preclude the formation of cake, they want to get with the plot and move house.

Again, bravo.
posted by mediareport at 7:11 PM on September 5, 2005

"I keep hearing about PG Tips. Can you get it in Canada? Is it marketed under another brand name here?"

My ex-boss sent me some from England.

I know that doesn't answer your question, I just wanted to link to that picture.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:15 PM on September 5, 2005

It's the same name, I believe. It's also all over the web, and at the random tea/coffee suppliers (and Safeway) all over the place. Apparently Unilever markets it. I'm all for specialty and international teas, but there definitely is something about a plain cup of tea. PG Tips fits that bill for me and just about every other tea-drinking Brit.
posted by barnone at 7:17 PM on September 5, 2005

Those Garibaldis sound delicious. I'm going to keep my eye out for them. I'd like to call for a moratorium on the exclusive sale of Republic of Tea and Tazo. They seem to be all that's available at many cafes, and (to me at least) they mostly taste like crap.

Shameless plug for family tea company:
Ahmad Tea of London

Exceptionally good tea, and some of the prettiest packaging of any tea I've seen.

posted by blendor at 7:25 PM on September 5, 2005

Oops, 'prettiest packaging' link messed up. Click the 'London' link in the menu for the artwork. Sorry if the site's a tad wonky.
posted by blendor at 7:27 PM on September 5, 2005

One of the authors of the site is Rob Manuel's lady, if I remember correctly. He would be the head of B3ta.
posted by oflinkey at 7:32 PM on September 5, 2005

Oh, whoops, no, maybe not. But the Nice Cup Of Tea people are are friends of B3ta.
posted by oflinkey at 7:37 PM on September 5, 2005

OMG. Sit down, indeed.
posted by barnone at 7:41 PM on September 5, 2005

I'm very disappointed that they haven't reviewed the plain chocolate digestive, which goes very nicely with a glass of red wine.
posted by alfhild at 7:44 PM on September 5, 2005

This is AWESOME.

But then I have an autographed copy of "Tea and Scones--AND SO MUCH MORE!" by Sir Aubrey himself so I'm probably biased.
posted by WolfDaddy at 7:47 PM on September 5, 2005

"Sensible pants"
"Skimpy pants"

Haha - brilliant!
posted by blendor at 7:54 PM on September 5, 2005

Hot tea is too anemic for me. If I'm going to drink a hot beverage, it's going to be black coffee. If I want to quench my thirst, then it's sweetened iced tea (black tea) or Japanese green tea (also iced). Iced oolong's not bad, either.
posted by zardoz at 8:10 PM on September 5, 2005

Lovely! Thanks.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 8:14 PM on September 5, 2005

sigh. i am a tea junky. the preparatory ritual and almost everything else about it captivates me.

ericb - Harney & Sons, yum. i am particularly in love with their lavender tea, and i usually shy away from herbals. it's that good. their russian caravan is also excellent.

and thanks, blendor - Ahmad Tea is next on my list.
posted by soi-disant at 8:24 PM on September 5, 2005

As long as we're shilling for corporations, Stash can be good.
posted by davy at 8:35 PM on September 5, 2005

You can get PG Tips teabags at most major supermarkets in Toronto (Dominion, Loblaws, Sobeys) and it's my cheap and cheerful tea of choice. However, when I visited my brother in Colorado, his stash of PG Tips teabags had a much brighter, more assertive flavour, probably because his box incouded a foil liner. I inhaled several pots while I was there and have been looking for just that packaging in Toronto, but all I get is the same basic cardboard box.

zardoz, if hot tea seems anemic to you, you may be drinking shite supermarket brands or, worse yet, that Twinings crap. I find that the expensive supermarket teas have almost no flavour at all compared to PG Tips or a decent Assam. You haven't experienced tea if you haven't had a big, ballsy, malty Assam.
posted by maudlin at 8:38 PM on September 5, 2005

As a British person who's just moved to America I find it very strange. There's about twenty different kinds of teabag in the kitchen cupboard at my place of work, and you know what, not a single one of them produces anything even remotely drinkable.
posted by Artw at 8:39 PM on September 5, 2005

alfhild writes " I'm very disappointed that they haven't reviewed the plain chocolate digestive, which goes very nicely with a glass of red wine."

Is this not the chocolate digestive to which you refer?

And yes, I agree on the general distaste of Tazo, The Republic of Tea, the random grocery store bits, anything that has zero zing. Artw, let me guess: there are raspberry zingers, lemon twists, bits of orange zest, and one or two "english breakfasts" or "earl grey" which taste nothing even remotely like the real thing. Likely they've been hiding in that damp cupboard for generations of workers!
posted by barnone at 8:42 PM on September 5, 2005

maudlin, thanks. I'll give Assam a try (if I can find it).
posted by zardoz at 11:00 PM on September 5, 2005

The "english breakfasts" and "earl grey" are basically cardboard flavoured.

Fortunately I've found a place that imports PG Tips and taken matters into my own hands.
posted by Artw at 11:10 PM on September 5, 2005

Good assam can also be found in any South Asian grocery. For a nice bracing cup of tea, I use Taj Mahal. Tea bags for self, and Tata tea, loose CTC leaf, usually found in plastic baggie packaging for company.

For real chai, not the Starbucks crap, boil water with an inch of ginger pounded flat and milk, as it boils (doesn't work well on an electric) put in loose tea leaves (rule of thumb a teaspoon for each plus one for the pot), switch the flame off immediately and cover. Strain into mugs with sugar.

posted by infini at 11:32 PM on September 5, 2005

Sounds good.
posted by thecollegefear at 12:15 AM on September 6, 2005

they're friends of Mr Scruff
posted by 13twelve at 2:22 AM on September 6, 2005

Is this not the chocolate digestive to which you refer?

The object of alfhild's fondness needs to be parsed as "(plain chocolate) digestive" rather than as "plain (chocolate digestive)" - and what Brits call "plain chocolate" is what is referred to as "dark chocolate" in the US, so, in fact, the linked biscuit, although very nice indeed, is not quite what alfhild had in mind.

It's also worth pointing out that the "digestive" part of the biscuit name refers to the stoneground wholewheat flour that is used, and the resulting cookie or biscuit is pretty much cognate with the North American "Graham" cracker.

I myself am a great fan of the plain chocolate digestive, much more so than the milk chocolate variety, but in fact when it comes to milk chocolate semi-coated biscuits, I'm a Hob-Nob man myself.

There also exist fully-coated plain chocolate digestives, usually only seen as part of assorted biscuit collections if I recall correctly, but they're almost too much of a good thing in my estimation. YMMV.
posted by kcds at 2:25 AM on September 6, 2005

Hot tea is too anemic for me

Then travel, immediately, to the North of England, where the tea is darkest brown.

And what the fuck is all this love for PG Tips about? Aside from the fact that any tea in a bag does not, quite frankly, deserve to be called tea, PG Tips is one of the worst of the grisly prepackaged brands.

George Orwell, writing in the Evening Standard in 1946, has wise words on the subject of tea. I don't adhere to all of his 11 golden rules of tea preparation myself, but his points on sugar - don't put it anywhere near tea, it's disgusting! - and the importance of making strong tea, from loose leaves in a china pot, with boiling water, are indisputable. And I will fight anyone who says otherwise. Or at least admonish them gently from my comfy chair.
posted by jack_mo at 2:28 AM on September 6, 2005

Oh, and regarding biscuits - the ascetic, self-denying pleasures of a Rich Tea can't be beat. And they stack nicely in my Dunk mug (which has a little shelf beneath the main vessel for storing biscuits, though not chocolate-covered ones, which tend to melt, and are, in any case, suspiciously decadent.)
posted by jack_mo at 2:34 AM on September 6, 2005

You should drink only loose leaf tea: anything that goes into a teabag is inferior quality - warehouse sweepings, dust, etc. If you can't be bothered with a pot, get one of those little baskets that sits in a mug which you lift out when it's done. Try an English breakfast blend or assam in the morning and darjeeling (no milk) in the afternoon. Oh, and if you like tea, you really should visit Darjeeling. Best tea in the world.
posted by rhymer at 6:13 AM on September 6, 2005

Wow, I clicked expecting a ton of DOUBLE POST snark, and yet it seems that this has never been posted! I haven't been a b3ta regular for ooh, three years? and I remember this (and Nicey and Wifey) back then. Lovely people.

I'm English, I love tea, even if I do use teabags and take it with sugar. Yay tea.
posted by corvine at 6:16 AM on September 6, 2005

All this complaining about tea bags being inferior is about as useful as complaining that digestives aren't as good as real butter shortbread or that jaffa cakes aren't as good as sacher torte.

An everyday mug of tea with a biscuit is a small pleasure. It's a little bit crap but that's how we like it.
posted by Summer at 7:06 AM on September 6, 2005

The trick with weak American tea is to drink a lot of it. Three pints usually starts off my day.
posted by warbaby at 7:53 AM on September 6, 2005

Red Rose is not bad. I'm with you, barnone, tea in the US is crap - they give you a styrofoam cup of not very hot water, tea bag on the side. No, no no. The boiling water goes on top of the tea. And it must be milk not those nasty sealed cups of hyperpasteurized half&half. I have to have milk with coffee, as well. Can't stand those nasty things. And styrofoam cups give a bad flavor to tea and coffee. Must go have a nice proper cuppa, right now.
posted by theora55 at 4:46 PM on September 6, 2005

"Cakes.....usually easily distinguished from biscuits by their sheer size however individual cakes can be a bit tricker"

Surely cakes and biscuits are distinguished by how they go stale? Biscuits when left out go soft and cakes go hard.

Bitching aside though I feel a sudden need for a cuppa.
posted by slixtream at 1:25 AM on September 7, 2005

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