Preparing the Builder’s Brew
The Builder’s Brew is an informal term for a strong cup of tea. At least this is pretty much the definition that everyone can agree on. If we were to get into the details of how this tea is specifically prepared, we may get some naysayers. We’ll keep our definition broad since it’s a pretty broad term anyway.
The term builder’s brew became popular in Great Britain sometime in the 1970s during a time when the manufacturing industry was thriving. These ‘Blue Collar Workers’ would often take breaks to brew up a fresh cup of tea and the tea of choice was generally a strong and revitalizing cup of Black Tea. Everyone liked their tea a bit differently, but one thing seemed the same. The tea had to be strong.
In 1946, George Orwell, the English Novelist, wrote an article for the Evening Standard entitled “A Nice Cup of Tea”. Here he describes his own version of what might have laid the foundation for the ‘builder’s brew’. In the article he gives his own 11 rules for brewing the perfect cup with controversial opinions concerning the use of sugar and the priority of milk, should it be added to the cup first or last. Of course, not all of these rules can be achieved especially at the worksite. Again, the only definition we have offered for the builder’s brew is a strong cup of black tea.
“I maintain that one strong cup of Tea is better
than twenty weak ones.”
Here we paraphrase George Orwell’s 11 rules for brewing a proper cup.
- Use Indian or Ceylonese tea. Tea from China is not stimulating enough.
- Tea should be made in smaller quantities such as in a teapot made of porcelain.
- The pot should be warmed beforehand by placing directly in heat.
- The tea should be strong and generally a bit stronger with each year that passes.
- The tea should be put into the pot without strainers or other devices that constraint the tea leaves.
- The water should be boiling when poured into the teapot.
- Swirl the teapot after brewing. Don’t let the tea settle.
- Should be drunk out of a deep breakfast cup to keep it hot.
- No creamy milk.
- The tea should be poured into the cup first and then the milk to maintain the proper ratio.
- No sugar added.
The Real Way to Make Builder’s Brew
You may agree with Orwell’s rules for making a strong cup of tea or you may disagree. Tea should never be so totalitarian and the only proper way to make a strong cup of tea is to make it however you like. If you like sugar in your tea, go for it. If you prefer tea poured into your milk then do it.
We won’t offer our way of brewing a strong cup here, but for more resources on brewing the perfect cup check out our Tea 101 page or our other blog posts
Below we have a list of some of our most popular strong teas perfect for the Builder’s Brew…
English Breakfast Black Tea
This bright, bold Indian Black Tea is brisk and invigorating, rich with a deep malty flavor. It is the perfect tea for a builder’s brew, kilometers above your ordinary English Breakfast teabags. English Breakfast Tea was traditionally made with teas from India and Sri Lanka. Today many English Breakfast blends add other inferior teas. Our English Breakfast Tea is made entirely of organic tea from India.
Irish Breakfast Black Tea
This robust, full-bodied blend is a mixture of organic Indian and Chinese Black Tea. It is bold, earthy, and slightly malty making for a dark and delightfully invigorating cup of tea. Despite the name, it can be enjoyed any time of day. Ireland is one of the biggest consumers of tea worldwide and is known for its love of strong tea often with a touch of milk.
Assam Black Tea
Assam teas are known for their powerful strength and malty boldness. Our Assam tea comes from the Mokalbari Estate in India which gives the tea its own unique flavor profile including a bittersweet, maltiness balanced with a hint of spice and fruit. The tannins in this tea offer a briskness worthy of a builder’s brew.
Ceylon Black Tea
This hearty black tea is one of the boldest black teas we offer, but unlike the other teas, it offers a rich more complex flavor reminiscent of dark red wine. Its malty, fruity, and verifiably assertive in its strength. It originates from Sri Lanka, the teardrop island off the coast of India, formally known as Ceylon which is where it gets its name
For other Black Tea options, click here
Reference: The Orwell Foundation