Thursday, March 31, 2011

brewing a perfect pot of tea

I'm a solid coffee drinker first thing in the morning, but I love a cup of tea (or two) later in the day, particularly on a chilly wet day. I restocked my supply earlier this week, and clarified some of the finer points of tea brewing with the friendly staff at Teacup.

Start with fresh cold water. Fill your kettle, and begin heating the water.

Just before the water comes to a boil, warm your teapot by swirling around a little of the hot water and then pouring it out. This helps maintain the temperature of the tea.

Measure out 1 level teaspoon per 8 ounce cup, and one additional teaspoon for the pot (so, for a four cup teapot I add five teaspoons of tea leaves).

Heat the water just to the boiling point, then remove from the burner. Pour the hot water over the tea leaves. Leaves can be loose in a pot, or contained in an infuser. I love the teapot I have, with a built-in infuser and press-plunger that instantly stops the brewing process when the desired strength has been reached.

Brewing time varies based on tea leaves, and taste. Fine leaves should brew for three minutes, medium leaves for 4-5 minutes, and large leaves 6 minutes.

While the tea is brewing, rinse your teacup with hot water.

If you're brewing the tea leaves loose in a pot, stir before pouring, and then hold a small tea strainer over each individual cup to catch the leaves as the tea is poured.

If you're going to use milk or cream, add this to your cup before the tea. If you'll be adding sugar and lemon, add the sugar before the lemon. Lemon can be added after the tea is poured.

Do you have a favorite tea? I'd love to hear about it.


The Search for J Street said...

Great post. I love tea, and now I am going to ask for a pot with a press plunger! I have been stuck on Lady Grey for ages, but when I go out to nice coffee houses, I always try something new.

Emily M. said...

I get my tea from Upton Tea Imports online. not sure about a favorite--I always love jasmine, but lately seems like I've been liking their melange de chamonix more. it's a flavored black tea with spices and even some chocolate (which I can't taste).

Francesca said...

making a "cuppa" is a nice ritual.

A Day That is Dessert said...

Thanks for your input! Have a wonderful weekend. xo

RW said...

we are drinking a moroccan mint green tea these days. we don't need to add anything - it is soothing and calm.

Emma said...

Such good advice. I love love love tea! I drink around 3-4 cups a day, have always, my whole adult life anyway.

I love a good vanilla tea, monk pear or chai tea and really like making proper tea in a teapot with one of my many teacups :):)

Emily Vanessa said...

Tea is my staple and I couldn't survive without it. I love coffee too but only very milky and late morning. I love classic English breakfast and Earl Grey but I bought some lucky green tea from Frères Mariage in Paris which is also delicious. Great post and thanks for the tips.

Christina said...

what an interesting post. like you, i begin my day with coffee, but later in the day, a cup of tea soothes me.
my aunt sends me a red, rushi tea from jamaica. i really enjoy it.
... i really want to taste this french breakfast tea you speak of. sounds amazing.
happy day, lecia.

moly said...

My mom works right next door to the Teacup (in the ribbon room, at Nancy's Sewing Basket). We've stopped by for many a cup of tea, over the years. They do make a fine pot.

KPiep said...

As you know, coffee is sadly on my no-no list. I can't tell you what a great day it was when I found out that green and white tea are allowed, though! I can do anything so long as I had a hot cup of something whenever I need it/want it.

We don't have a dedicated tea shop here in town, but I've already told Mom that I want to go to hers in KC the next time I'm home. I'm super-limited because I am only allowed plain green or white, but there is a wide variety of flavor. Besides, right now I'm stuck with tea bags (can't complain...I use high quality tea bags, and they are actually quite good), but I would prefer to move to loose tea.

And because of all of this I'm trying to also turn a cup of tea into something special. To that end, I've started looking for just the right teakettle and tea pot. After all, this is one of my few remaining food joys and so I might as well make it something special!

Nicola (Which Name?) said...

Great post! I love tea. If I had to choose, I would choose tea drinker without missing a beat. Although, I do love a good cup of coffee...
I start my day with tea, though, so that clinches it, I think.