I always drink my tea with milk, and among friends and family, the style has become known as tea "the English way." That's how the requests come in when I have guests at home: "Can I have a cup of tea, the English way, please?" they ask. Of course, I am happy to oblige, digging into my vast reserves of tea — some varieties imported from England, some joyfully discovered in Concord, and others growing stale for lack of use due to a disappointing flavor or inconsistent brewing behavior.
At cafes and coffee shops, I order an English breakfast tea in the mornings and Earl Grey in the afternoons, "with room for milk." The staff at Panama Red know to give me the over-sized tea mug, and not to be offended when I douse the brew with the white stuff.
Recently, after attempts to duplicate my tea-style had failed, I was asked what my "secret ingredient" is when I make tea at home. The answer is simple: love. Tea is not simply something to drink, it is something to make. The process itself is the secret ingredient. It requires meditation, care and relaxed breathing, preferably while pondering a particularly beautiful view — such as that out of my kitchen window.
After experimenting, the staff at Panama Red have come up with "The Henry" — hot, sweetened black tea with vanilla almond milk. It comes highly recommended by this tea drinker and blushingly proud namesake. Try it for $2.75, and feel free to use honey or sugar instead of Splenda, or to test out different milk varieties. My style is usually a short steep of one to two minutes — as black tea becomes bitter if steeped too long — and a generous spash of low fat or two percent milk and, of course, lots of love.
Let me know what you think! Leave a review of "The Henry" in the comments.