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Once again, the answer to a short question has turned into a post.

I hope you mean two or three fingers on the side. There's probably a law against mixing Penderyn with tea. As a young boy, I was served tea with half-n-half and sugar, because that's how my grandmother drank it. Once home, I drank it black, because that's how we did things. My grandfather took his with milk, milk and sugar, or sometimes black. He was fond of drinking it in a manner thought very low class. The process of making tea involved rinsing the pot with boiling water. The pot was generally full of dead tea leaves, so the rinsing did two things: it heated the pot and got rid of the leaves. There was a very large and rather peculiar jade plant at the back door of my grandmother's kitchen that was covered in tea leaves. She poured hot water into the pot, swished it around carefully as she walked toward the back door and then rather indiscriminately dumped the water with tea leaves to her right. It wasn't clear if the jade plant appreciated this or not. On the other hand, it was very large.

I've heard lots of theories about how tea should be measured, or how much to use. My grandmother had a small collection of tea scoops, shallow disc-like spoons with stubby handles. They had pictures of Welsh women in costume, castles and the names of cities she had visited. They were something like National Park mementos. One of them had a picture of Queen Elizabeth and commemorated her coronation. They travelled home to coincide with it, and stood along the way with great enthusiasm to see her golden coach clop by. But the scoops were banished from the kitchen. She measured, my relatives measured and I for years measured tea by the pinch. A pinch uses the tips of all five fingers to bunch up as much tea as will easily stay. It's an art, really, because the saying One pinch per person and one for the pot is a very elastic saying. The Welsh were rather heavy handed with their tea and liked the strongest variety available. Today, Welsh tea is grown mainly in Africa. The Jewel Tea Company, which went door to door, made an Iced Tea Blend that was perfect. Presumably, it had to be strong and black enough to stand up to the ice cubes.

Then, boiling water — the kettle was left boiling until the pot was rinsed — a tea cosy and a short wait, which made for strong, black, very hot tea.

You may have noticed — maybe it's no longer true — that the saucers for tea cups are rather deep. Even after making the tea just right (adding milk and sugar, or just milk) it should still be too hot to drink. What my grandfather did was to allow the tea to dribble down the side of his cup into the saucer and then slurped it up from there. Eventually, it was cool enough to drink, so he drank the rest from the cup. I remember most of my relatives doing this from time to time. I also remember learning how low class it was. I'd be punished if I did that myself. Of course, as perhaps you've already guessed, I learned that from my mother.

I'm going to switch to another locale for a moment. When I was eighteen, I spent a summer in Denmark. I won't go into the details of it, which could fill a book, but one particular memory applies here. After my first dinner at the summerhouse on Fanø, my girlfriend and her mother went the very short distance to the kitchen to make tea. It warmed my heart. Another country that appreciates tea, I thought. Her father, who was proud of his ability to mimmic Americans, this time gave his best imitation of an Englishman. "Oh, wonderful," he said, "Let's have a spot of tea with the ladies." I was troubled by the irony in his voice. Then he added in his Coals to Newcastle voice, "Such a shame we will not be able to have cognac or Cuban cigars with our coffee." I learned almost instantly to love coffee.

So, to answer your question, black tea is perfectly fine. I've learned, however, that the tannins in tea like to be neutralized by milk. I say that I've learned that, but now that I type it, it seems like I'm making it up. A number of years ago I forced myself to add milk. The sugar is for drinking it alone, not by oneself but without biscuits. Once you've got the hang of milk, the sugar in the biscuit completely transforms the taste of the tea. As for whisky, especially a good whisky, among the very best I hear, if you really need fortifying on a damp but beautiful afternoon, I think you should look for coffee and, if you can find one, maybe a cigarette.
 
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