The tea needs to be drank piping hot and made with boiling water. I have witnessed some crazy tea making antics since being here in the US, such as water being heated in the microwave or a 'hot' water function of a coffee machine! NO no no my American friends, this just can not do! Tea must be brought to life with the addition of boiling water, this doesn't mean a cup of water with a tea bag on the side, and the expectation that I am supposed to brew this tea myself by dunking the tea bag in and out on the end of a string. The only thing that should be dunked, really are the biscuits (more on that later).
Some will add their milk in first and some after the water gets poured in. This can cause a little bit of debate as people can be pretty adamant that their method is the correct method. I don't have too much to say on this as I flip flop between the two - controversial. Apparently the 'milk in first' rule is about protecting the china from the sudden introduction of boiling water but the milk in after rule is about getting the tea leaves introduced to boiling water to get the most flavour.
- if you're using a teapot make sure it is clean, and warm the pot first by swirling round some of your boiling water
- the general rule of thumb is one teaspoon of loose tea per person and one for the pot, teabags can be one between two people or one per person depending on how strong you like it
- loose leaf tea gets brewed for 4 - 7 minutes, think the larger the leaf, the longer you brew. Teabags will not take as long
- you can remove the teabags after 5+ minutes to avoid over brewing - this will make your tea taste bitter, or leave them in to 'top up the pot' with more boiling water for extended tea drinking
- tea cosies can be used to help keep the pot warm
- place you teabag in the mug and boil your water
- decide whether you are going milk in first or after
- after the addition of your boiling water you can use a teaspoon to stir the tea and even gently press it against the side of the mug to extract stronger tea
- remove the teabag
That said, get the kettle on and lets have a nice cuppa tea.