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How to properly brew a British Tea
Why tea-making is important
Being raised in a British household, I have been taught how to properly brew a pot of tea since a very young age. In my family, tea is the solver-of-all-problems and the medication of choice for any type of stress. But, tea must be made properly, or it is not tea at all. I have lost count of the number of times people have served “tea”” with the tea bag beside the cup, or some other atrocity. Finally, it is time to speak out against tea abuse and describe the proper, respectful, treatment for a pot of tea.
Step 1: Warm Up the Pot
First, you must fill up the pot with hot water. The sole purpose of this is to warm up the pot. A warm pot ensures your tea stays warm longer. It also ensures a better tasting cup of tea.
Step 2: Boil water
Second, you put the kettle on high and leave it until it is boiling. When making tea, the water must be boiling before use. (Note: In this article, I am speaking of black tea such as Orange pekoe, or English breakfast. Other types of tea require different treatment. For example, you don’t want to use boiling water on green tea.)
Step 3: Place tea bags in pot
Once the kettle is boiling, you empty out the hot water from the pot, and add the tea. If you are using tea bags, check the recommended cup-per-bag ratio. Most tea bags are rated for two cups per bag. If you are using loose leaf tea, then the general rule is a teaspoon per cup.
Step 4:Pour Boiling water into Pot
When the tea bags or leaves are safely within the pot, then, you pour the boiling water on top of the tea. Note that the water must still be boiling when you pour it into the pot. Then allow the tea to steep for three to five minutes. Steeping time depends on how strong you like your tea. Largely, this is a matter for personal preference.
Step 5: (optional) the tea cozy
A tea cozy, which is essentially a blanket bag for your tea pot, is a wonderful tool to use. You place the tea cozy over the tea pot while it is steeping, and also whenever you are not pouring the tea. A tea cozy keeps the tea hot for an extended period of time. A tea cozy is not a requirement but it is a nice luxury.
Step 7: Enjoy
Once the tea is steeped, pour the tea into cups, and serve as per personal preference. If you invite a new person over for tea, it can be wise to ask them how they prefer their tea as many different combinations exist. Some people prefer milk and/or sugar while others prefer lemon or honey.
Different mugs for different folks
Finally, be aware that different types of cups can change your experience of your cup of tea. Many people prefer using a china cup. Others prefer larger mugs for a more relaxed experience. Following these few steps will ensure a perfect cup of tea. Try different steeping times and combinations until you find the tea experience that is right for you.