Use the time it takes to make tea to relax and unwind. Turn tea making into a ritual and enjoy the experience.
Always fill the kettle with freshly drawn cold water. Never re-boil water in the kettle as tea needs sufficient amounts of oxygen in order to infuse properly. If water is left to cool and then re-boiled, it will lose oxygen and make tea taste stale.
Use a teapot that is suitably sized for the amount of cups you are making. When water is near boiling, pour a small amount into the teapot, place the lid on pot, swill the water around to warm the pot. You only need to warm china or earthenware pots – make sure you never warm a glass teapot. Some tea experts recommend warming the tea cups before pouring the tea, but it is time consuming, not really necessary.
While the water is boiling, add the tea leaves to the pot – working on the basis of one teaspoon of loose tea or one tea bag per cup, although this depends on personal preference.
Oolong tea is the exception and for the best results, allow two teaspoons per person when adding loose leaves to the teapot. To ensure freshness, tea should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from damp and direct sunlight. If you are not using an electric kettle, do not allow the kettle to boil for too long, as it reduces the amount of oxygen in the water, which is vital for the perfect brew. pour the boiling water into the teapot, stir and then place the lid on the teapot. You can also use a modern felt tea cosy to help retain the heat. Leave to steep for the required time, according to your chosen tea.
While the tea is brewing, pour milk into the cups. There is still great debate over whether you should add milk before or after adding the tea.
Traditionalists believe in pouring the milk first. Always allow tea to steep for the required time. If left for too long, tea can taste bitter and harsh, and if tea is not left to infuse sufficiently, it will lack flavour and taste insipid. when tea has brewed to its perfect strength and flavour, it was traditionally poured through a tea strainer into another warmed teapot, to avoid leaving the tea with the leaves for too long, which would create a bitter- tasting brew. For an easier alternative, pour tea into the cups through a strainer, then top the teapot up with some boiled water. Do not worry if you do not have a strainer as the leaves will eventually sink to the bottom of the cup.
Sip and enjoy
Relax and take time out to drink your tea. Inhale the aroma, savour the taste and enjoy the overall experience. Use tea making time as a means to de-stress, put life in perspective and refocus.
Look at tea as a tonic to salvage both the mind and body. Do not rush the ritual as you will only compromise the end result. Retreat to your favourite place to drink your tea. If you are alone, use this quiet time for mental respite. relax, put your feet up and sip your tea slowly. To heighten the pleasure, indulge in cakes or biscuits with your cup of tea, or take tea with friends and loved ones. Most importantly, relish the moment. Time is at a premium in today’s society, so take this precious time to reflect on life and remember: the past is history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift – that is why it is called the present.