How to brew a pot of tea

From my earliest memories, I recall performing I’m a little teapot for my mother and siblings.

I’m a little teapot, short and stout,

Here is my handle, here is my spout,

When I get all steamed up, then I shout,

Just tip me over, and pour me out!

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Well it’s pretty much that easy and who doesn’t like to sit down with a pot of freshly brewed tea, especially during the winter months? This is one of my favourite ways of relaxing while getting warm and cozy on the sofa.

I have never been much of a coffee drinker, so tea was my beverage of choice. I have many lovely tea cups that I inherited from my mother and grandmother, so I try to use them along with my silver tea spoons and my matching sugar and creamer from a trip to London.

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How to make tea may seem like a no-brainer, if you are used to heating up your kettle , pouring a cup of boiled water and throwing your tea bag in. If this is how you make a cup of “tea” you are not alone, but tea making is actually a bit of an art form and one that is easily mastered.

To this end, I have been doing a bit of research, and consulted expert Charles McPherson’s handbook on such matters as stylish entertaining, setting a proper table and brewing a pot of tea-British style.

Charles is in the know, so who am I to argue?

For your reading pleasure here are 2 methods…

Tea bag Method

  1. Warm the teapot with a little hot water.
  2. Swirl the water to heat the teapot.
  3. Pour out the hot water through the spout.
  4. Add to the teapot-1 tea bag per 2-3 cups of water. Make sure that the tea bag tag is hanging out to identify the type of tea. ( I always rip this off, but no longer!)
  5. Pour freshly boiled ( not boiling) water over the tea bag.
  6. Place the lid back on the teapot and allow the tea to steep 3-5 minutes, depending on the type. Then remove the bag, so that the tea does not become bitter and serve immediately.

Loose Leaf Method ( my favourite way)

  1. Using a tea infuser, add a loose blend tea and set aside. (One teaspoon of loose tea per cup of water.)
  2. Warm the teapot with a little hot water.
  3. Swirl the water to heat the teapot.
  4. Pour out the hot water through the spout.
  5. Set the tea infuser into the pot.
  6. Pour freshly boiled ( not boiling) water over the loose tea.
  7. Place the lid back on the teapot and allow to brew 3-5 minutes, depending on the type of tea. Either remove the tea infuser or serve immediately after steeping.

A common question  that some tea drinkers ask is, when do I add the milk? If you like milk with your tea, it is perfectly fine to do so after the cup has been poured. Putting the milk in last was considered to be the ‘correct’ thing to do in refined social circles, but the reason for this is often forgotten. In the early days of tea-drinking, poor-quality cups were inclined to crack when hot tea was poured into them, and putting the milk in first helped to prevent this.

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Did you Know that scientists now say that that drop of milk can completely negate all the benefits tea can have on our health?

Tea has many active ingredients that affect our health. It is particularly rich in antioxidants and vitamins. It is found to improve our immune system, to control blood sugar levels, reduce damage to cells and prevent cardiovascular diseases. However, adding milk, even soy negates all these benefits.Researchers believe that the most likely explanation is that the caseins, proteins found in milk, form complexes with catechins in tea, its most important flavonoids.

So, if you want the benefits, try adding a sweetener such as a bit of honey or lemon with your tea, or drink green tea. But if adding a few drops of milk helps you to relax, then that probably benefits you more than those few drops of milk will take away.

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