Let's Have Tea
||"Starting well, ends well."
So let's begin with the obvious:
*A clean teapot, without chips or cracks
*A good quality tea
*A good quality water
*Consistent brewing time
So let's begin with the Teapot. I know some of you have a favorite.
My theory is as long as the cracks or chips are not is the spout or
bowl it's okay for tea. A ding in the lid isn't an issue. Make sure
the inside of your teapot is clean from the residue of the last pot
of tea before you begin a new brew.
Good quality Tea does not always mean the most expensive. A Tea
Shop owner who "knows tea" will be able to guide you to the
best tea for your budget. Now that I've mentioned budget, you tea will
taste better longer is you store it in an air tight container. Tea Tins are not only beautiful, they are functional as well. Storing
tea in an air tight container helps maintain its freshness. This
means loose leaf tea as well as tea bags that are not in hermetically sealed
individual envelopes Each loose leaf tea should be in its own
container, not mixed in a jumble of paper sacks in one large tea
tin. Never store tea in
a sunny location. Keep tea cool and dry - not cold, never frozen. If
properly stored your loose leaf tea will stay fresh for up to four
years. If you don't have Tea Tins, use zip bags.
Water is equal in its importance to The Tea but may be the trickier
of the two for some of us - especially if you are a green tea drinker and have no need to
bring the water to a rapid boil. Always start with fresh (as pure
as possible) cold water,
either from your tap, bottled or from a filtering gizmo. Please don't use pre-boiled
water that was left in the kettle. However if you'd like to use that
to "Hot the Pot" instead of watering your plants, go right ahead.
Consistent Measuring insures you will have a wonderful tea experience time after time. I always use my Plantation
spoon when making tea. It has a big bowl that equals 5 teaspoons for
the pot and at the other end a small bowl that equals one teaspoon
for a cup. You can find something of this sort at a tea shop or you you can
tuck aside and use a measuring spoon from a set or a flat mouthed teaspoon. The usual measurement is one teaspoon of tea per cup.
The exception to the rule is Gunpowder Tea. Because this tea is so
earthy-strong, use a pinch of tea per cup.
Brewing Time varies with the variety of tea you've chosen. If
you look at the packaging of your tea you will find suggested
times. Black teas brew for 4-6 minutes, Oolong teas 5-8
minutes, Green Teas for 2-4 minutes and White teas for 4-6 minutes.
The range of brew time allows you to determine what's best for you.
Knowing how to properly brew each kind of tea will enhance your enjoyment of whichever you are drinking.
However, most tea preparation begins with 'Hotting the Pot' which simply means pouring hot
(not boiling hot) water into the pot
to warm the porcelain/pottery/metal before beginning. You will pour out this water before you put in your tea leaves.
Avoid Bitter Tea: If you are using a Tea Sac or an infuser, remove it from the
pot once the tea has reached its brew point. If you have made your
tea by measuring
loose tea into the pot, my suggestion is to always pour/strain this tea into a
fancy "Hot Pot" for serving to your guests once is it
Tea Too Strong?: Consider having a Hot Water Pot
ready for those who like their tea weaker that your brew.
Tea Cozies & Trivets: Heat from the pot will move from the pot to a
cooler place such as your counter or table. Trivets (metal or cloth)
will slow down the heat from the pot sinking into a surface. A Tea
Cozy will keep the pot warmer longer. When used in combination your
brew will be enjoyed longer without getting cold sooner. By the way... if
you are using a cozy you may find the handle stays hot. Use a napkin
or a pot holder when pouring. Ouch! It's a bit hot!