There is nothing like a good cup of tea. I like tea, no that’s not quite right, I love tea. It gets me up in the morning, warms hands, heart and stomach when I need a bit of comfort and keeps me going a bit like petrol in the car. Although I like a good cappuccino and a nice black coffee they are not the nitty gritty and the stuff that keeps me going.
My Mum was always a Tea Jenny as they call it here in Scotland. Everything looked better with a cup of tea in your hand was her standpoint. I think she was right.
Whether you like a good old fashioned strong Builders Tea beverage, a light cup of Assam, a delicate dance with the Earl Grey or something more on the Gunpowder range, tea is quite a personal thing really. We all have our favourites and some brews suit different times and occasions.
Just now my favourite is Twinings Everyday Tea. It is strong enough to give good taste but doesn’t throw you out the room by being overpowering.
How we make tea can make a difference to the taste. I like the whole concept of making a bit of an effort with tea (just think of Japanese Tea Ceremonies, though you don’t quite have to go as far as wearing a kimono and sitting on the floor) and when I’m in the mood I will take down one of my favourite pots and brew up in style. I’ll take the time to enjoy the whole process and savour every minute. Other times, like just now when it is more convenient for my sofa bound existance I make do with a tea bag in a mug – same type of tea, just quick and easy. But oh it does lose that certain something that I get from my own little tea ceremony.
Here are my Top Ten Tips For How To Make The Perfect Cup Of Tea
1. Use a proper teapot, china or porcelain and dig out your favourite china cups. I have such a selection of cups, I adore old china and can’t pass a charity shop without checking it out for possible additions to my collection.
2. Boil the kettle and hane the teapot ready as you should not leave the water boiling for ages. Pour a little into the pot and swirl it around to warm the pot and then pour it out.
3. Place a good teaspoon (I love those proper old tea caddy spoons that you can pick up for pennies, they are just the right size and have a bit of history too) of your chosen leaves (yes leaves girls not bags for a real cuppa!) into the warmed pot. Use one spoonful per person and add ‘one for the pot’ if you want quite a strong brew.
4. Stir things up a bit, the leaves will infuse better.
5. Let the tea to brew at least for 4 minutes, or a little while longer if you like your tea stronger. This is the time to whip out your favourite tea cozy and cover the pot to keep it wam while all that brewing magic happens inside.
6. Warm your tea cups before you use them, especially if they are very fine and old porcelain and then pour the tea through a strainer into each cup. Now add your milk or lemon or just drink it black. If you want it sweetened try honey instead of your usual sugar, it has a more delicate flavour. Stir, sip and savour.
7. Remember the tea cosy I mentioned before? This is when it really comes into play, keeping that second cup warm for you to enjoy after you’ve enjoyed this one.
8. Serve your tea with something tasty. You don’t have to think in terms of a fancy tea party spread of cakes and sandwiches, we’re talking ‘cup of tea’ here not Alice in Wonderland. A plain digestive biscuit (Graham crackers in USA), gorgeous homemade shortbread or a simple cracker is just perfect.
9. Don’t just toss out this batch of tea leaves right away. If you fancy another cuppa just add more boiling water to the same leaves. This isn’t just a scrimpers tip, it actually tastes even better than the first cup. Maturity ladies, that’s the name of the game!
10. At the end of the day, well the end of your little tea ceremony, don’t chuck the well used leaves in the bin. Put them in your compost or just sprinkle on any plants, they’ll love you for it and bloom even better.
I’m off for a cuppa now, cheers!