Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Top Tea # 10: It’s My Bag, Man

It's 3.00p.m London time. Teatime…

Adam writes… 

Okay, I’m going to upset the purists here – and I’m probably going to have to hide around corners when I see Kim coming – but this is a blog on tea made… with a bag on a string.

I take my life in my hands, I know…

But allow me to draw your attention to the complete phrase “A nice sit down and a cup of tea”: is not the sitting down bit important too?

It certainly is at the Crypt in St Martins-in-the-Fields by Trafalgar Square. An underground café with a great selection of solids on offer all through the day, it recently won Les Routier’s Café of the Year 2012 award.

The surroundings –  18th century vaults – seem many miles away from busy Trafalgar Square just outside. The prices are a surprise, too, a welcome blend of affordability and quality in what is all-too-often a happy hunting ground for those bandits who would prey on tourists.

Damned fine cup o’ tea, too IMHO. I would describe it as a tea kit: we are given a tray, a pot of boiling water, a jug of milk, a cup turned upside down with a teabag on top. I went for the Earl Grey. (The Earl Grey didn’t seem to mind.)

This serving arrangement proves to be a versatile one. If you are an unfussy type – my companion falls firmly into this category – you can pop the bag, the water, the milk, and all straight into the cup, mash it up with a spoon and down it. Bish bash bosh. The overall effect – one of feeling “wiser, braver or more optimistic”, as George Orwell put it – my companion assured me was the same as loose leaf, and the surroundings help in no small measure.

If you are a fussy type such as I (“fussy” was not the word my companion used to describe me, but this is a family blog) then the bag can go into the pot and the tea can then infuse in its own good time.

Milk in first? I’m not getting into it, I’m already in too much trouble with the teabag-on-a-string business. If you have any thoughts on the matter, drop us a line at the usual address.

Café in the Crypt
St Martin-in-the-Fields
Trafalgar Square
London WC2N 4JJ


A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.

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