I am sitting at my computer, enjoying a cup of mate (argentine tea.) I have also just made black tea for Christine and tea with sugar for Assaf. We are now fighting about what makes a proper cup of tea.
If you are in Argentina, a proper mate is not cocido (in a tea bag). First you start with cold water, put the kettle on and almost boil the water. Don’t completely boil it, but almost boil it. In a matecito (little cup) put the yerba. Shake out the dust and put the bombilla in along the side of the mate. Then carefully pour the almost boiled water along the bombilla and pass to your first guest. They drink all of the water and then return it to the server. Then the pour and pass evening or afternoon begins. No sugar, unless you are new to mate or a child. Gauchos drink their mate bitter.
In England, my understanding of a proper tea is with milk and sugar. I don’t take mine with milk, but I can handle 2 sugars. Christine does not take hers with milk or sugar, which is what started the debate. Assaf just with sugar. Part of the reason may be because we rarely keep milk at the office for the tea, but we keep plenty of sugar. And then somehow–a nice cup of tea is different than a proper cup of tea. I’m just not sure what the different is.