The deadliest, jelliest site ever. Brought to you by Niamh Shaw

Couldn’t tell you. Tea. The stuff turns me cold. I’ve never understood why companies would manufacture a product that tastes the same as boiling a dirty twig for three weeks and straining the result through a mouldy jock-strap – and even less why customers would choose to BUY it.

This antipathy likely stems from a childhood trauma when, innocent and impressionable, I was preyed upon by a great aunt who offered me a cup of Earl Grey.

The bitch.

My mother has always complained that I am incapable of making a decent cup of tea, which is hardly surprising given how I feel about the stuff. (I’m not a fan, in case you were wondering.) Personally, I’m not sure how you can make a ‘bad’ cup of tea – I mean, we’re only talking about degrees of foulness here.

Now, it has recently come to my attention that Husband cannot make coffee. Unlike me, there is no valid rationale for this failing, because Husband is pretty partial to a delectable cup of rich, warm, velvety coffee-flavoured scrumptiousness.

Instead, Husband prepares a menacing slop of scorched darkness, its oily surface simmering as if from the movement of tiny, stunted eels writhing in agony beneath. It is either so weak that the caffeine flavour is imperceptible, or so strong as to pop the eyeballs out of your head if you blink too suddenly. It makes milk curdle spontaneously. At times, I am driven to wonder whether Husband has mistaken salt for the sugar – or maybe rotten garlic, mouse droppings or arsenic.

In short, Husband’s coffee tastes like fear and rage and sweaty loathing in liquid form. Although he presents the coffee lovingly, drinking it makes me doubt his feelings for me, to the extent of suspecting he despises me and secretly plots my murder, the first step of his diabolical plan being to blitz my immune system with his vile concoction.

So coffee duty has reverted back to me indefinitely i.e for all time


Comments on: "How to make the perfect cup of tea" (8)

  1. I have an image of your larder now, with “Salt” and “Sugar” beside one another in little jars, so turned that only the “S…” of each label is visible. Beside them are jars of rotten garlic, mouse poo and arsenic.

    Makes me wonder what sort of recipe books you have.

  2. deadlyjelly said:

    Not recipebooks; SPELLBOOKS. Mousedroppings is the main ingredient for casting out werewolves from underground cavities.


  3. Goodness Niamh you tell some porkies.

    Sure – there was that time you made me a cuppa and I was throwing up for 24 hours straight.
    But now after a “Shaw special” I’m usually right by lunchtime the next day.

    Incapable my arse (no pun intended) 🙂

  4. deadlyjelly said:

    Well, thank you! But it sounds as if your judgement does not adhere to rigorous Irish standards. Since it’s the national drink (along with Guinness, although not taken together), the Irish get pretty stroppy about their tea.


  5. Cian said:

    Firstly, I had shock that you could not tell us how to make the perfect cup of tea.

    Secondly, I had horror at your description of tea comparing it to ‘boiling a dirty twig for three weeks and straining the result through a mouldy jock-strap’.

    But thirdly I felt understanding, compassion and horror again at the child abuse you endured by the (Not so) Great Aunt. Earl Grey is wrong – it is just plain wrong and to serve it to an Irish person is just cruel and mean and it just scars them for life. Please tell me she was English! (Note to readers – this is not a racist comment – the English are far more adventurous with their tea. [90% of Irish drink one of two types of tea – Lyons or Barrys – tea in Ireland is normally classified according to brand]. The English are far more broadminded and we love to hate them anyway so having love and hate in the ame sentence balances it out really.)

    And here is a link for you. I think it will save you from losing your Irish Passport. My fave tip has to be “You can also heat water on the hob using a pan…” – OMG No Sh%t you can heat water on a hob. Can you? Really? Well you learn something new every day – and today I learned how thick somebody is that they needed to share that tip with us.

    Guinness was never the National drink in the ‘Republic of Cork’ (hate that phrase) – It’s Murphys boy…

  6. i too suffered through the preditory actions of an adult throughout my childhood, youth and beyond. it took me nearly 4 decades to come to grips with the truth of those matters. i have chronicled those events in the first of three true novels by Eloquent Books entitled Euclid Avenue, Our scars mean something. the press release can be seen at the book is also available at barnes & noble, books & co, books-a-million, borders, select hallmark stores and

  7. Luke said:

    Very well written.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

    Just for the record, there is a good overview of how to make the perfect cup of tea, at

    It caters more for the specialty loose-leaf teas, however.

  8. deadlyjelly said:

    Ta, Luke! Glad you enjoyed the post. I will check out The Tea Company’s website for some top tea tips 😀


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