The width of the slice is important.

Cut the bread too thin and it'll lose all moisture quickly and be nothing but crunch. Too thick and the edges will blacken before the centre is cooked. 1cm is just right.

The butter should be room temperature. If it's straight from the fridge you'll wreck the toast trying to spread it and this is a stressful thing. You want it bright yellow and glossy. Once you've slid that measured slice into the toaster flick the kettle on, but don't ignore that bread! Among the most obdurate of appliances, a toaster will go to lengths to ruin your snack; even if the timer is indeed pointing at 3 it will char whatever it clamps its hot filaments onto if unchecked. A pedant might even aim lower and pop it down twice rather than aim for a perfect toasting in one try.

Pour boiling water into a mug and let the lovely leaves swirl around and gradually dye the clear liquid a rich, deep red ochre.

Once the edges of the bread are dark brown there are only a few more seconds until it's time to rescue your toast. A dusting of brown in the centre means it's time to get it out. With a good knob of slick butter on your knife, spread, making sure to reach the crusts. Oh, the crusts!

Don't bother with a plate.

Remove the tea bag. It should stay in the cup for as long as is possible without a skin congealing on the surface. Add a splash of milk and only a splash; it should be in no way pale.

The beauteous simplicity of a perfect slice of hot toast and a cup of tea can reduce all else to quiet. For a couple of minutes, anyway.

This ReadWave has travelled through…

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  • Athens - Greece 1 read
  • Nottingham - United Kingdom 2 reads
  • Kilkenny - Ireland 1 read
  • Sheffield - United Kingdom 1 read
  • Palo Alto - United States 13 reads
  • Brantford - Canada 1 read
  • Topeka - United States 1 read
  • Providence - United States 1 read
  • Redding - United States 1 read
  • Port Melbourne - Australia 1 read
  • Managua - Nicaragua 1 read
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  • Male - Maldives 2 reads
  • Cambridge - United States 2 reads
  • Varna - Bulgaria 1 read
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  • Seongnam - Korea, Republic of 1 read
  • College Park - United States 1 read
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  • Hudson - United States 1 read
  • El Cajon - United States 1 read
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  • Gurnee - United States 1 read
  • Fayetteville - United States 1 read
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  • Drummondville - Canada 1 read
  • Everett - United States 1 read
  • San Luis Obispo - United States 1 read
  • Munich - Germany 1 read
  • Rancho Cucamonga - United States 1 read
  • New York - United States 2 reads
  • Oulu - Finland 1 read
  • Piotrków Trybunalski - Poland 1 read
  • Alabaster - United States 1 read
  • Chicago - United States 3 reads
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  • Bristol - United Kingdom 1 read
  • Princeton - United States 2 reads
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  • Stockach - Germany 1 read
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  • Bridgetown - Barbados 1 read
  • Morgantown - United States 1 read
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  • Beijing - China 1 read
  • - United States 1 read
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