With the weather getting colder, the first thing I do most days when I get to work is make a cup of tea. I’m not the biggest coffee fan in the world, but I love my tea. I’m particular about how I steep it. Call me a snob. I took a trip to London in the early 1990’s and was schooled by a waiter at the hotel we stayed in on how to brew a cup of tea so that I didn’t look like an American. I was amazed at how much better the tea tasted – so I get a little crazy about making my tea now.
First, you need to use fresh cold water to start. I know – seems crazy, but it make a huge difference. I have an electric kettle but a tea kettle on your stovetop works just as well. Then, bring the water to a full rolling boil – that’s why I love the electric kettle; it gets the water to that full rolling boil pretty fast.
The next step is steeping the tea – but oddly, I open the top of the kettle and wait until the water has cooled just enough to stop showing bubbles before I pour the water in my cup. If the water is too hot, it scorches the tea leaves (especially green or white teas). So pour the water and then put the tea bag or loose tea holder down in the water.
While the tea is steeping – DON’T TOUCH THE TEA! That’s the key according to my helpful London waiter friend. Most Americans “bounce” the tea bag up and down in the water which really just allows more sediment to come out of the bag and into your tea. You get much better flavor from your tea if you just let it sit. The Republic of Tea recommends these steeping times – and remember, if you want strong tea it’s better to add more tea (or less water) than more steeping time:
I generally take my tea without sweetener – and I can’t even wrap my head around why anyone puts milk or cream in their tea. In the winter or when I feel a cold coming on, I think there are very few things more comforting than a cup of hot tea with honey and lemon. You decide what you like to add and run with it.
So now you’re all set to brew yourself a great cup of tea – may I suggest Bigelow’s Constant Comment black tea or if you like green tea, how about a cup of Tazo’s Zen tea. Enjoy!