I just watched “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” on cable last night. In it Evelyn Greenslade is talking with Sunaina’s brother and mentions builder’s tea. She says they use it to dunk with and goes on to say something like dunk means lowering the biscuit into the tea and letting it soak in there trying to calculate the exact moment before the biscuit dissolves, when you whip it up into your mouth and enjoy the blissful union of biscuits and tea combined. It’s more relaxing than it sounds.
Here in the US I remember the fun of dunking graham crackers in my tea as a child and getting them into my mouth before the cracker folded in half and plopped back into the tea. But does anyone know what builder’s tea is?
Builders tea refers to anything that is strong and black. Some companies do make and name blends after builders tea (I know Nothing But Tea has one) but really it’s just anything strong and black to be taken with milk and sugar.
And yes dunking refers to biscuits (digestive, chocolate, custard creams etc). There is a knack to it, if you leave it too long in the tea then it breaks down and you are left with soggy biscuit lumps in the tea which sink to the bottom and ruin your tea. Yuck!
LOL, I remember those wet, soggy pieces of graham cracker crumbs falling to the bottom of my teacup and staying there for the rest of my snack time until there was no practically no tea left and I finally had to drink them down.
So… does builders refer somehow to the knack of being able to keep your biscuit “building” standing up, even when wet?
Builders tea refers more to being a workers drink. Something strong to get them through the day (caffeine and sugar), sort of to start building up the day for the working class in Britain.
I’m not sure how long the terminology has been used but with my friends, family and local society that is what it means anyway. :)
Cost Plus World Market sells one of the brands marketed as builder’s tea:
Builder’s tea doesn’t actually, as far as I know, have anything to do with biscuits other than you can have it with them. It’s just tea so strong that you could nearly balance a teaspoon in its tip in it. Husband’s sister prefers her tea as builder’s tea and steeps her bags to kingdom come. It can be dangerous taking tea from her, because she doesn’t always remember to stop the steeping sooner for other people.
Yes, I have heard that term, such as, “oh don’t go to any trouble, builder’s tea is fine for me” suggesting that a “fancy” blend is not needed, something simple, such as maybe PG Tips. A good strong, simple tea that construction workers might drink on break.
YES I used to dunk cookies in my tea as a child! I still do it now if totally alone! >_