How to Prepare a Lovely Cup of Tea

kettle-on

I love my newfound tea ritual.  What is the best approach to all things love?  Sharing, of course!

My Tea Background

I’ve enjoyed green tea for years, matcha being the most recent — and most amazing — discovery.  I’ve had herbal and black teas off and on during this time. I keep forgetting that I’m not too crazy about herbal teas and most of my peers don’t care for green tea (especially matcha).

For maximum fun distribution we’ll focus on black teas today. You know, the kind that go well with a splash of milk or twist of lemon and particularly delicious when served with finger sandwiches or crumpets.

Despite the origins of tea, I’m writing from a Western perspective. I should mention that I am a Non British Person.  Also, not English, Welsh, and I won’t even mention Scottish or Irish.  (How quickly things politicize!)  For all you Western tea purists:  I’m from one of the New Countries.  Cheeky, I know.

Keep Calm and Carry On

Now that we’ve got that out of the way…lately I’ve been enjoying Orange Pekoe and Earl Grey in particular.  A former colleague (hailing from one of those Old Countries) went through Orange Pekoe as fast as tea clippers could ship replenishments.  I was mildly curious but the orange in the name Orange Pekoe did nothing to tantalize me into trying it.  Now, I understand.

Preparation Instructions

The best teas are strong teas so I add extra tea to the tea-to-water ratio.  I also recently discovered “double bergamot Earl Grey”.  Bergamot is the oil that gives Earl Grey its distinctive flavor.  It’s wonderful!  If you’re new to black teas I recommend popular brands such as PG Tips or Red Rose.  Without further ado:

Step 1:  Bring water to a full rolling boil.

Step 2:  Warm teapot or cup with boiling water. Discard water.

Step 3:  Place tea in teapot or cup.  Loose-leaf or bagged, as you prefer.  (I recommend loose-leaf to avoid compounds in the teabags but that’s a topic for another post.)

Step 4:  Add boiling (not boiled) water.  Cover.

Step 5:  Let steep to desired strength.  The longer the brewing time the stronger the flavors.  Gently stir or jiggle the tea leaves or bag to allow for most thorough brewing.

Step 6:  Remove tea leaves or bag, otherwise there is a risk of bitterness.

Step 7:  Cover teapot with cozy to keep warm.  If you don’t have a tea cozy, simply cover with a towel or cloth tucking the ends under the teapot.

Step 8:  If you’re using a teapot, warm your cup before pouring.

Step 9:  (Optional) Add milk, cream, sweetener or lemon to taste.*  If you use sweetener, add it first.  The milk or cream will cool the tea and sweeteners dissolve best in the hottest liquids.

Step 10:  Sip, it’s hot!  Your pinky finger will naturally extend.

Savor the Benefits

You’ll notice the benefits of your tea ritual. The tea has soothing effects, both physiological and psychological. The ritual itself is calming and relaxing; taking a few minutes to do something for yourself is a form of self-care.

Enjoy. 🙂

 

_________
*You may substitute non-dairy options but do so sparingly until you’ve adjusted to taste.  Some of these substitutes can quickly overtake the tea flavor.

***

37 thoughts on “How to Prepare a Lovely Cup of Tea

  1. Lovely post, Danica. Perhaps my brain isn’t functioning properly today, but Step 2 is confusing me. Why are we discarding the water? Perhaps this is a part of the tea-steeping process of which I’m unfamiliar. As you know from a previous discussion, I’m a tea drinker (don’t like coffee) but I try to avoid caffeine, so my tea choices are usually herbal, decaffeinated or sometimes green or white tea. My preference is loose tea but bags/sachets work for me as well.

    Are you familiar with the song “T.U.S.A.” by Masters Of Reality? It was sung & co-written by their drummer on this particular album, the legendary Ginger Baker, and plays in my head every time I make a pot or cup of tea. Here are the lyrics, and I’m including a YouTube link in case you’re curious. I think you’ll get a kick out of it.

    “Now this is serious!

    One thing in this country that really bothers me
    Is the inability of Yanks to make a good cup of tea
    Instructions are printed on the teabag
    But they either can’t read
    Or they think it’s a gag

    I mean, pour boiling water over the tea
    How simple and clear can instructions be?

    They bring you a cup with a lemon slice
    And an unopened tea bag beside it (how nice)
    And a pot of water and it may be hot
    But boiling it isn’t so tea you have not

    Why can’t we
    Get our tea
    We need tea
    To set us free

    It’s boiling water that brings out tea’s flavor
    With a dash of milk you’ve a real brew to savor
    They drink luke warm brown water that looks like gnats pee
    And it’s got nothing to do with a good cup of tea

    Pour boiling water over the tea
    How simple and clear can instructions be?

    Pour boiling water over the tea
    Pour boiling water over the tea”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Rich. Step 2 refers to discarding the water used to warm the teapot or cup only. Fresh water should be used to actually brew the tea. Boiling, of course. 🙂 I’ll have to review and revise the steps and instructions.
      Yes, I remember that you’re a tea drinker and caffeine avoider! 🙂 Those are healthy choices. I agree that loose tea is best, but the sachets made without bleach and other residue-leaving-agents are fine too.

      I love that song! Ginger Baker is even more awesome than I thought. I hadn’t heard this song before, so thank you for including it here. I shall never forget that boiled water is *not* boiling water. A Brit pointed this out to me many moons ago and I still remember. Yanks. *Le sigh*. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I practice American tea all winter long, coffee otherwise. Theirs nothing better than a High Noon Tea with sandwich wedges. I stayed in England for two weeks and the hotel had tea in the conservatory. A dream. The Regis in New York does a great High Noon Tea.
    I’m to lazy to make cucumber sandwiches and scones.
    M

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Baby sandwiches with no crust, always a couple of scones? Don’t know why there quite unless the English have in down. The cucumber sandwiches are great. I could eat that for much. It was a great trip. My ex had the company book me in 5 star. Bring me tea to room in morning. Asking what I’d like for dinner if he worked late. I loved the freedom to discover a new country, mostly by walking.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. I loved it, the grounds of hotel had Rose Garden, Pond with ducks including baby ducks and best of all space to walk and clear head. I was not the best trip for our relationship. I had family long hair and in London decide time for a change, cut my hair real short. He didn’t talk to me for three day. Why I stayed and went on to marry is beyond me.
            🙂

            Liked by 1 person

                  1. The hotel is like a mini castle. As it turned out Simon of Simon’s Planet grew right by where I stayed. I’ve asked him to write a blog describing what it was like as a boy.
                    The two is very small and Romans ruins are everywhere. I love Roman history so it was a treasure chest. I was walking are and found an almost complete amphitheater. I sat for a long time think what it must have been like. I’m glad England respects the Roman history. As the town grows if Roman ruins are found they won’t build over. Wise decision. I’ll see if the photo challenge will work. 🙂

                    Liked by 1 person

  3. The song that jumped into my head was Great Big Sea’s ‘Have a cuppa tea’ – so I believe Danica & Great Big Sea’s advice is a case of great minds thinking alike!
    I quite like the loose leaf tea ritual, we don’t do it as often in the summer, but over the next few months I’ll likely enjoy many a steeped tea, nice post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, a great selection, Geoff! The loose leaf ritual is the best but takes a bit more time. The results are worth it though. Let me know how the fall selections progress… I’m always happy to learn new options and approaches. Thanks very much! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Now here’s a funny thing. Your post on tea comes just as I’ve stopped drinking coffee. Don’t know why, haven’t consulted a doctor, just stopped wanting a coffee. Which leaves tea (tee-he). Currently English Breakfast tea-bags, but I might have to up my game if I’m to hang around this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You too! I stopped drinking coffee a while ago, also simply for experimental purposes. The funniest thing was that I didn’t miss it — and still don’t. And I *loved* coffee! Let me know how coffee-free goes. Leaves tea… lol. 🙂 English Breakfast is lovely. I recommend the double bergamot, it’s quite delicious. Let me know if you make any new discoveries. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Would b splendid to have a cuppa and a chat w u sometime in that charming lil “New Country” of yours, Danica!
    PG Tips r what we swear by @ Brad Manor

    Kudos to th fella who included that classic Ginger Baker classic.
    Personally, this comes to mind:

    “Do u take sugar?”
    “Nah thanks, lov, I’m sweet enough” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It would be splendid, indeed, Brad! 🙂

      PG Tips is a most excellent choice. Brad Manor is well-equipped.

      Yes, that Ginger Baker classis is a great one. Love your selection, Brad! Thanks so much for including it here!

      Liked by 1 person

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