I need a few pots of this, made extra-strong, this morning to balance all the wine, turkey, roast spuds, gravy, and christmas-pudding-with-brandy-sauce from yesterday.

Brewed very strong, this pours a deep, burnished-copper colour that goes to midnight-red in the mug, with a dark, sweetly metal-edged taste to match.

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 7 OZ / 200 ML

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The argument had raged for months and years; he would say something hurtful and cruel, and then I would shoot back a likewise response. The good cups and a beautiful clay teapot were in shards all over the kitchen floor; tomato ketchup dripped from the balustrades, and the cat, named in honour of the great Richard ‘Kinky’ Friedman, was making a mew of distaste. And so, after wrestling with the mathematics of it for many, many sleepless nights, I realised that no-one would, in fact, be able to qualify or quantify the difference between an 87-rated tea and an 86, so I stopped rating tea.



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