There are only two things you really have to know about brewing the ideal cup of tea. The first is to bring the water to a rolling boil. And the second is to add the water to the tea and not the other way around. Everything else is a derivation of these two points.
Many Americans feel unskilled at the art of making tea. Even though tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world, Americans tend to shy away from anything other than the store bought tea bag in the microwave.
Here’s how to do it right. Start with fresh water. If you use purified or filtered water, that’s best. But many a good cup of tea has been made using tap water.
Next, select your vessel. You should use a tea pot and not a single cup to brew your tea. The water needs room to boil and boiling it in a microwave in a single cup doesn’t allow much room.
Fill a tea kettle ¾ of the way with tap or filtered cold water. Then place it on the burner. It needs to rise to a rolling boil, not a mild, tepid temperature. That’s what the whistle on the tea kettle is for. It’s supposed to alert you when it’s the right time to take it off the burner.
Have a tea pot ready. It should be ceramic so it will hold the heat. If you have a tea cozy to cover it, so much the better. But it’s not necessary. Pour the loose tea leaves into the pot before you pour the water in. Don’t do it the other way around. The tea always goes into the pot first. It you’re using tea bags, same thing. Add them first, and then the boiling water.
Allow the tea to steep, covered by the tea pot’s lid for about two minutes. If you want stronger tea, leave it longer. You’ll need to strain the loose tea over a small tea mesh or you need to have used a tea ball. A tea ball holds the loose leaves so you just have to fish it out and not bother with straining the leaves.
Next, pour the tea into your tea cup. Add milk or sugar if you like. But try it just as it is first. You may decide that the pure taste of tea has grown on you.
There are many kinds of teas from green, to black, to red, to Oolong and Assam. Buy a tea gift basket to try them all to see which ones you like best. And there’s no reason you can’t make the perfect cup of tea daily.
Purists and tea enthusiasts will tell you that tea bags are not really tea. They consider them nothing more than scraps left over after the best tea leaves have been used. So, try loose teas to see if you taste a difference. Chances are that you will. And you’ll never go back to tea bags again.
Tea is such a delightful and welcome refuge from the busyness of daily life. Grab a cup and slip away for a few minutes of refreshment and replenishment. Have a cookie, or as the English say, a biscuit, to go with it and you’ve got yourself a little tea break.
Pinkchic18 is a writer with a special interest in foods, family and party planning. She regularly contributes articles to the All About Gifts & Baskets Blog, run by aagiftsandbaskets.com.