A Conversation for Ways of Making a Good Cup of Tea
Caveman, Evil Unix Sysadmin, betting shop operative, and SuDoku addict (Its an odd mix, but someone has to do it) Started conversation Jan 29, 2003
For those not familiar with the British Standards Institute, they create and public standards specifications for all sorts of odd things.
For instance, BS 1363 is the standard for the standard british mains plug. BS 1362 is the standard for the fuses which fit within those plugs.
How is this relevant?
BS 6008 is a six page document entitled 'Tea Specification'
This document won the 1999 Ignobel prize for literature. The ignobel prizes are handed out each year by the Annals of Improbable Research to commemorate research that could not, or should not be reproduced.
A recording of the acceptance speech, made by Reginald Blake (manager of regulatory affairs at the BSI) can be found in the american National Public Radio "Science Friday" programme at http://www.sciencefriday.com/pages/1999/Nov/hour1_112699.html
If you don't want listen to the whole programme (which includes an award to Dr. Len Fisher of Bath for calculating the optimal way to dunk a biscuit, and Jean-Marc Van den Broek University of East Anglia for developing a teapot spout that does not drip) fast forward to 23:30 in the programme. (You have to start listening to the entire programme, as most of the highlight clips have been deleted).
In it, he said:
My name is Blake, Reg Blake
As the english king Henty VIII said to his six wives in turn, I will not keep you long.
It has only taken us five thousand years to develop a standard for making hot tea, so don't expect to see a cold tea or ice tea one until the year seven thousand.
By the way, we brits have concluded that the Boston tea party was simply the first attempt to make iced tea on a grand scale
How do you make a cup of tea?
Very simply, you put two grammes mass of tea per 100ml of water (I'm not going to the conversion for you guys) fill the pot to within four to six mm of the rim, put on the lid and brew for six minutes, pout 5ml of milk into a cup, and pour in the burnt tea.
Had you been able to see Mr. Blake, you sould have seen him wearing a bowler hat, upon which was mounted a teapot and two union jacks, with cups dangling from the brim.
Unfortunately, BS6008 costs money to obtain, but Mr. Blake has probably given us sufficient details in the above quote. Thanks Reg!
Oberon2001 (Scout) Posted Jan 30, 2003
Could've done with you in Peer Review. It would've been nice to include a para about the British Standard.
I'd have replied 15 minutes ago, but the proxy server went kaboom (it runs on windows, and such behaviour is probably expected).
If you happened to check my user page (U30753) you'd have discovered why I wasn't around at the time. I've not been here since June 27th 2000, which is rather too long. I only happened by last night because I got extremely bored trying to grok what was going wrong in the parsing code I was working on (which you really, really, do not want to know about. It looks like assembley language mixed with random punctuation, but it is, in fact, written in C).
Anyhow, after having written all that stuff, I'll probably write up on the Ignobel prizes tonight. There's a lot of interesting science out there, only some of which people see. (Remember Troy Hurtubise, the guy who invented the grizzly-bear-proof suit of armour)? He won an Ignobel prize in 1998. All the prizes are awarded firstly to make you laugh, and then to make you think. If they achieve that, they have achieved their goal. Wander by http://www.improbable.com for more information if you're interested.
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