1 teabag for 5 cups

There are those (maybe you’re one of them?) who frequently share their teabags, or even reuse them for a second cup some time after the first, and perhaps I’m a little greedy when it comes to teabags but I do like to have a whole teabag to myself for each cup of tea I consume.

That’s not to say I’m against teapots, far from it, but if I’m using teabags to make tea for two, I put 2 teabags in the pot, 3 for three, and so on. I’m prepared to admit that this might be a failing on my part, but up till now I think it’s served me quite well as a tea making method.

Well, my eyes were opened today when I visited a certain tearoom in Perth, which is part tearoom, part gift shop (another of these perfect partnerships – see previous post).

This is where gift shop meets tearoom:

And where the tearoom comes into its own:

The tearoom features two large light shades, which I think are possibly made out of paper, suspended from the ceiling. They reminded me of daisies. When I suggested this to my botanically minded mother, she pointed out that they resembled not daisies, but dead dandelion heads. I bow to her superior knowledge on the subject, but I can’t help feeling that her more correct comparison seems a little bleak for such beautiful light fittings:

I was visiting this tearoom in the company of both of my parents, and since it was a cold day and he had come out without his own hat, my dad had borrowed one of mine:

My mum ordered coffee, my dad and I ordered tea, and it was “luxury fruit scones” all round (I gather the ‘luxury’ was a reference to the large proportion of glace cherries contained therein, and jolly nice they were, too).

The amount of crockery involved in this order required two waitresses, each with a trayful of goodies, and when the first waitress laid down the (rather full) teapot on the table, tea gushed out of the spout and straight onto my pink woollen hat, which I had unwittingly put bang in the line of fire:

Before I had time to do anything about it myself (and my hand was moving towards the hat almost instantly), the second waitress had whipped the hat off the table and begun rushing down the stairs calling in her wake that she must get the stain out.

Waitress one was very apologetic and a little distressed at the turn events had taken, but I assured her that it was fine and not to worry, and I felt very confident about saying this because of the lightning quick reactions of waitress two (whom, I should perhaps add for greater effect, was almost certainly in receipt of a free bus pass*).

Immediately after the hat incident, I remembered that I had been planning to visit the facilities when we came in, and so I made my way down the stairs (at a considerably slower pace than waitress two) towards the toilets, and caught a glimpse of waitress two with a colleague in the kitchen next to the bathroom washing my pink hat and discussing the success of having got the stain out.

When I was back upstairs again, enjoying my tea and scone, waitress two reappeared and explained that the hat was all right but a little damp, and so she was going to put it on the radiator to dry out for me. Waitress one was still apologising profusely whenever she passed our table, so I explained to them both that despite the seeming tragedy of the situation, I was still in fact the owner of one dry hat, the one my dad had borrowed. He was going straight back to his car and home after our refreshments, and so I could wear my dry hat while I did a bit of shopping after my tea. As it happened, when we left the tearoom my pink hat was still sodden, it having obviously been washed through very thoroughly, so I was extremely glad of the dry one.

But I digress. To get back to the teabags, this was the teapot our tea for two came in:

As you can see, taking into account the distorting effects of perspective, the teacup is of a fairly standard size, as compared with the size of the scone and the normal sized human hand on another scone in the background. I can tell you that this teapot contained 5 of these teacupfuls of tea.

Now here’s a view from the other side, showing the sole teabag content of the pot (to make quite sure, I did look inside the pot and prod the teabag about to see if any others were hiding alongside it, and I’m entirely satisfied that there was only one teabag present):

This is the fact of the matter: tea was served to us in a teapot containing five cupfuls, with only one teabag to share out amongst all 5 cups. But here’s the amazing truth, and I’m afraid to say I don’t know anything about Lichfields other than that they provide various items to the catering trade, but the tea in that pot was really good, and strong the way I like it when I have it with milk.

This experience has revolutionised my view of teabag sharing. I would never have believed it if I hadn’t witnessed it for myself, but we got 5 cups out of that pot, and they were 5 cups of very good, strong tasting, flavourful tea.

*national bus passes, allowing free travel within Scotland, are issued to any citizens who have managed to stay alive to the ripe old age of 60. If you like a wee joke against the Scots (who have a reputation for heavy drinking, deplorable diets and a subsequently short life expectancy) this scheme makes politicians look caring while costing them virtually nothing.


12 thoughts on “1 teabag for 5 cups

  1. Some non-Scot would make some comment about mean Scots people here 🙂 Only using one tea bag for five cups. I would call it being thrifty.

    I am so enjoying your blog.

  2. As the consumer of two of the cups of tea so nicely described in this post, I am happy to confirm the absolute verity of the details given. I look forward to more visits to the cafe with the splendid ceiling light shades and the luxurious fruit scones.

    • Thank you for the verification Bernard, and thank you for kindly going hatless back to your car; I was very glad of a dry hat to wander round Perth in. Another trip to the tearoom would certainly be in order.

  3. I’m a one-tea-bag-per-cup consumer myself – much to the horror of certain family members who snatch up my tea bag and set it aside for later use. But Perth tearoom obviously knows a thing or two about steeping tea – as well as cleaning hats! What an efficient bunch! Hard to find service like that these days.

  4. You’re quite right, very efficient service, not to mention courteous and helpful. After my teabag experience I’m beginning to wonder if, like other members of your family, there isn’t something to be said for sharing teabags. I’m not completely convinced yet, but certainly open to the idea of it now in a way I wasn’t before yesterday.

  5. I also believe in one bag per cup but mainly because we rarely drink proper tea and so only have a small, one person teapot. In the days when we used to make Sunday tea for the whole family we would often use 2 teabags for 4 cups…I guess this just takes it a little further but proves that it is all down to the quality of the tea!

    • I couldn’t agree more, the quality of the tea is absolutely paramount. I was in a tearoom yesterday that served tea in a tiny teapot with 3 teabags in it – from one extreme to the other! They did also provide a pot of hot water though, and I like a good strong cup of tea so I thought it was excellent.

  6. It’s a little late for a comment on this post, but reading this reminded me of something. I once went on a date with a very “frugal” (to be polite) Scotsman from Edinburgh. He bought me a cup of tea. A bit later, he asked me if I’d like another, and I said I would. He brought me another pot of hot water!!!!!!!

    • It’s never too late for a comment from you, especially one that amuses me so much! Are you sure your chap wasn’t from Aberdeen? They have a reputation for being, shall we say, economical up there (I’m just trying to protect my home city of Edinburgh). I take it you didn’t go on another date after that? I wouldn’t blame you. It reminds me of a fellow I went out with for a while. He was Welsh and he was the tightest person I’ve ever met. We went on a weekend break and he had deliberately run his mobile phone battery down so that he could recharge it at the hotel’s expense! Unlikely, but 100% true.

  7. Ha ha ha!!! I believe you, especiallly after the Edinburgh fellow, and I’m sure he was from Edinburgh. He said his father was a history professor at the University of Edinburgh, and I knew his brother also.

    We were supposed to go to a movie, but when we arrived at the place we had tea, he looked at the paper and said it was too late, so he spent the evening reading his own poetry (which he had bound in a spiral) aloud.

    • That’s hilarious! And awful at the same time! It sounds like a deliberate ploy to me, too late for the movie indeed, and such a lucky coincidence that he happened to have his poetry with him. Ha ha, as a date story that really is a cracker!

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