This week at the Irish Ploughing Championships a world record has been broken. A very important world record, mind you.
The Guinness Book of Records for the Most Cups of Tea Poured in an Hour now rests with the Irish. A fitting home for such a prestigious honor. As you know, we Irish love our cuppa tea.
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The Irish Ploughing Championships
This week the Irish National Ploughing Championships are in full swing.
I'd love to attend this event, and don my fanciest wellies to mingle the highways and byways of the exhibit tents, learning all about the agricultural wonders of the country of my birth.
Dear American readers, please forgive my Irish spelling of the word "ploughing". I know American farmers do the "plowing", but I just can't bring myself to type it so when referring to "The Ploughing", as this festival is lovingly referred to in Ireland.
Despite growing up in Dublin's Fair City, I hail from two rural Cork families. Farming is in my blood, and I think I'd be in my element at this fantastic festival of Irish farming. Someday I'm going to get there.
Back To The Tea
This year the Tea Pouring World Record caught my attention. You can't beat an ingenious, quirky world record attempt as the basis for a good story.
An expert team of 12 tea-pourers from Lidl supermarket smashed the previous record of 1,608 cups set last April in London.
The Irish tea team poured and poured, until they filled no less than 1,848 cuppas in just 60 minutes. Now that's a lot of tea, 240 cups more than the previous record.
Tea, the beloved beverage of my homeland, must be made in teapotfuls, kettlefuls, nay bucketfuls, to quench the thirst of parched farmers at a ploughing championship.
But wait, all that tea just went to waste. Health and safety regulations dictated it was not fit for consumption.
Well I'll be. Why on God's good earth could fine cups of Irish tea not be enjoyed?
Oh let me think over my granny's rules of Irish tea making ....
Fully Boil The Water
Perhaps the water wasn't quite at boiling point.
For a real Irish cuppa the kettle must be hopping off the stove before even attempting to make the tay.
There were no American style singing kettles in my granny's kitchen. But I remember the black kettle hanging on the hook above the lapping flames. It bubbled and spewed steam for a few minutes before the water was deemed "ready for the tay."
Scald The Pot
And what about scalding the pot?
There's no way to properly scald the pot before making 1,848 cups of tea, and we Irish all know from our mammies and grannies that scalding the pot is a prerequisite for a good pot of tea.
Brew The Tea For At Least 3 Minutes
Churning out barrels of tea in an hour could mean the minimum required 3-minute brewing time was probably not adhered to.
Did the Guinness judges test the strength of each and every one of those 1,848 cups of tea, because my granny's tea had to be a perfect shade of mahogany brown?
Black Tea or Milky Tea?
How do you set the rules and standards for a good cup of Irish tea?
- Do you want a milky brew?- Very Irish
- A cuppa with a slice of lemon?- Not so Irish
- How about a dash of milk and a spoon or two, or three of sugar? - Some like it sweet, you know.
- How about a dash of the good stuff? - A little whiskey and honey goes a long way for a sore throat....
The options are endless. I understand fully why the Guinness judges settled on a black brew of plain tea.
Congratulations To The Tea Makers
And so I say well done to all the brave tea pourers at "The Ploughing".
Congratulations on such an outstanding achievement, working together to celebrate one of our favorite Irish pastimes, drinking tea.
And don't mind what health and safety say ... if I was there I'd have enjoyed a cup or two of your expertly poured brew.
I hope everyone had fun breaking this tea pouring record. And a big thank you to the good folks from Lidl who organized this event.
Wishing everyone the peace and relaxation of drinking a nice cuppa tea, and not having to worry about pouring another two thousand cups.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Mairéad -Irish American Mom
Pronunciation - slawn ah-gus ban-ock-th
Mairéad - rhymes with parade