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Brewing the Perfect Cup of Black Tea
After water, Tea is the most consumed beverage in the world. An agricultural product of leaves, leaf buds and inter nodes, of the Theaceae family, white tea, yellow tea, green tea, oolong, pu-erh tea and black tea are all harvested from this Chinese species.
Scientific evidence shows that the polyphenols and other antioxidants in tea may reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and other afflictions. However there is a huge gap between the perception that tea consumption is healthy and the actual amount of the healthful nutrients. The black tea's ability to keep disease away is limited to home-brewed teas. The popular varieties of black (red) tea include Assam tea, Nepal tea, Darjeeling tea, Nilgiri tea and Ceylon Tea. So how do we actually make this ritual befitting to our health –
Step 1 : Just about the most common fault while preparing black tea is to use water at too low a temperature. Many of the active substances in black tea do not mature at temperatures lower than 90°C (195°F). The water for black teas should be added near boiling point 99 °C (210 °F) as the temperature will have as large an effect on the final flavour as the type of tea used.
Step 2 : It is also recommended that the teapot be warmed before preparing tea. I personally keep the pot over the lid of the boiling water, adding the tea leaves with other spices till the water is done. A whiff of ginger, crushed fennel seeds or holy basil can be added for aromatic flavors. For delicate chinaware, it can be easily done by adding a small amount of boiling water to the pot, swirling briefly, before discarding.
Step 3: When the tea has brewed long enough to suit the taste of the drinker, it should be strained while serving. A tea cozy used as a cover for the teapot, keeps it insulated and warm. Usually four to five minutes is enough for the brewing process, but the precise time depends on a number of factors such as type of tea, weather or water quality.
This delicious beverage can now be had with milk or simply black !