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What is ‘Billy-tea' ?

Early Australian settlers brewed their tea in a billy. They made it this way out of necessity - Australians today do it simply because they love it.

A billy is a metal can with a wire handle. This is filled with water and suspended over a fire. When the water boils, it is removed from the fire, and a handful of tea leaves are added. This is then left to brew for a few minutes.

The next part requires some level of caution and skill. In order to get the tea leaves to sink to the bottom, the billy is swung back and forth at arm's length. This requires a purposeful swing, any hesitant action would therefore result in a painful scalding.

Finally, the tea is poured into metal mugs, with milk and sugar added, although it's unlikely the early settlers would have had access to either.

A variation of this is to add a few scented eucalyptus leaves with the tea. is an initiative of Stichting Food-Info, The Netherlands

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