RECIPE FOR MAKING TRADITIONAL BRITISH TEA
1. Assemble supplies:
2. Fill tea kettle and bring water to a boil.
3. While water is heating, rinse out teapot with cold water. (“Rinsing the pot.”)
One obviously wants a clean pot!
4. When water reaches a boil, turn it off immediately.
The longer water boils, the less oxygen it contains, and this will adversely affect the tea’s taste.
5. Pour some water into the teapot and swill it around, then pour it out. (“Warming the pot.”)
A warm teapot will allow the tea water, which will soon be added, to stay warm for a longer length of time.
6. Place tea leaves (or tea bags) into the teapot. Alternatively, you may put the leaves into an infuser, which is then dropped into the pot.
The proportion of tea leaves to water varies, depending on personal preference. If you are new to tea making, trail-and-error will be necessary, initially, to determine how strong you like your tea. Generally speaking, a rounded teaspoon of leaves per every 6 oz. of water should work, plus add one additional teaspoon of leaves “for the pot.”
7. Fill the teapot with the amount of water you intend to use.
As stated above, approximately 6 oz. of water for every teaspoon of tea.
8. Let tea steep.
Most tea should steep for 3-5 minutes. Tastes vary, however; so again, you will have a period of trail-and-error. Some delicate teas may need only 2 minutes to steep. Under all circumstances, 10 minutes is too long a steep time and will make any tea taste bitter.
9. Pour tea into a teacup using a tea strainer to keep the leaves out of the cup. Or, if using a tea ball or other type infuser, remove it from the water.
If using a tea strainer, the leaves will remain in the pot, and, consequently, the remaining tea will become stronger--but this can be perfectly fine. If you have prepared, say, three cups to drink, each cup will be stronger than the previous one, and this variety can be pleasurable. Perhaps the first cup will be light and require no condiments or only a little milk, but by the last cup, the strength of the tea will require quite a lot of milk and sugar.
If, on the other hand, you have used an infuser to hold the leaves, then after steeping, when you remove the infuser, the strength of tea will be uniform. This is perfectly fine, too. It’s simply a matter of preference.
10. Add milk, sugar, and/or lemon to taste.
Some Brits insist upon putting milk into the teacup first, then adding the tea.
Note: Tea leaves should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
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