5 Steps to Making the Perfect Cuppa
It has been a while since I have mentioned tea here, and I'm so excited to talk about it this week!! (And didn't my babe do an amazing job with the photography? He's a keeper...)
I'll admit, sometimes I'm in such a hurry I just steep my tea in a tall mug with a saucer or potholder over the top. But when I have time on a quiet afternoon, this comforting ritual is totally worth the extra effort. The warm pot in my hands, the dainty art on the teacup and saucer, and the flickering tealight in the warmer always make me relax and slow down.
So here goes - the 5 steps to making a perfect cup of tea.
1. Use freshly boiled water. The more oxygen in the water the better for tea, so fresh water is important. And I mean a rollicking boil, not a feeble steaming - if you're using a real stove-top tea kettle, make sure it's properly squealing!
2. If using a teapot, pour a bit of boiling water in, put the lid on, and slosh it around to warm the pot and fill it with steam.
3. Pour out the water, and add your tea. Purists swear by loose leaf tea, but tea bags are definitely easier. The warm, steamy pot will help the dried tea leaves uncurl and give their best flavor. (If I'm in a hurry, sometimes I'll skip this step, though...)
4. Fill the teapot with hot water and let the tea steep. People disagree on this step - some say the water should be boiling, some say to let it cool a bit so it doesn't scald the tea leaves. If you let your kettle sit while doing the last two steps, the water should be the perfect temperature. Anyway, 3-5 minutes is the most common brew time for black tea, but some white teas take less time and some herbals take longer, especially those with health benefits. Just adjust according to the tea brand's instructions.
5. Now for the best part - remove the tea leaves from the pot and pour yourself a well-earned cuppa! The British take milk in their tea, and the proper way, I have learned, is to pour in the milk first, then the tea. I know, I know - I did it backwards in the picture below, but it was prettier this way. :) Sweeten to taste.
Note: I love that my Dutch teapot came with a warmer stand. You light the candle inside, set the pot on top, and it stays just the right temperature for you to enjoy the whole pot.
Did you know that it's best to use only milk in tea, never cream? Coffee-lovers, beware! While we love our coffee as rich and creamy as possible (not talking to you, black-coffee-breed!), the heavy fattiness of cream actually interferes with the flavor of the tea.
So, pinkies out - JUST KIDDING, that's a myth - and enjoy your cuppa! The tea I am using in this post is Harney's Chocolate tea. I love this one! It's full-bodied and mellow, with hints of fruitiness and rich bass notes of chocolate.