Billy Tea

February 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Billy Tea, Smokos' Snacks and Hangovers

Making Billy Tea is one of those legendary pastimes where every bushy has his own method and style and fiercely disputes the quality of any tea made by any other bushy. The main thing with billy tea is to remember that it doesn’t matter what it tastes like, you have to look real good making it. So with this being the accepted rules of billy tea making, it is no wonder we have a whole craft made up of forked sticks, jam pots tied with wire, gum leaves and bearded bushies swirling boiling water round their heads. It has become acceptable behaviour to threaten the safety of anyone foolish enough to be still standing that close to the campsite after the antics started.

What you need

  • Tea, Australian grown of course
  • Sugar as needed
  • Milk as needed
  • Water
  • “Billy Can”, make your own or buy one
  • Forked stick
  • Fire

What you do

Drag some coals out of the fire and put the billy on. When boiling, throw in a single fistful of tea for each person and then throw one in for the pot. Leave on heat for another minute then pull away from coals using the forked stick on the handle to lift.

This is where the rot sets in.

Grab billy handle with hat or other suitable insulator and swing quickly around in a full circle three times bringing it back up past your knee then back over your shoulder and so completing a full circle each time. The reason for doing this is to sink the tea leaves to the bottom of the pot so you can pour a drink without filling the cup with tea leaves.

However if you just let it sit for a minute or two and then pour carefully you still get a good cuppa without risking life and limb.

Tricks & Tips

Some people apparently use tea strainers.


Nothing like a good tin mug of billy tea to start the day, and for smoko drink with a slab of damper in the other hand.