Making a Perfect Cup or Pot of Tea

"From "Victorian Tea Party". Afternoon and High tea were daily events in Victorian society in England and ladies tea parties were very popular. The table was beautifully set with the household's best bone china, beautifully prepared sandwiches and treats were served and tea was carefully brewed to ensure the very best flavor. In 1880, Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management was published - here is what she had to say about making tea the proper way: "There is very little art in making good tea; if the water is boiling, and there is no sparing of the fragrant leaf, the beverage will almost invariably be good. The old-fashioned plan of allowing a teaspoonful to each person, and one over, is still practised. Warm the teapot with boiling water; let it remain for two or three minutes for the vessel to become thoroughly hot, then pour it away. Put in the tea, pour in from 1/2 to 3/4 pint of boiling water, close the lid, and let it stand for the tea to draw from 5 to 10 minutes; then fill up the pot with water. The tea will be quite spoiled unless made with water that is actually ‘boiling’, as the leaves will not open, and the flavour not be extracted from them; the beverage will consequently be colourless and tasteless,—in fact, nothing but tepid water. Where there is a very large party to make tea for, it is a good plan to have two teapots instead of putting a large quantity of tea into one pot; the tea, besides, will go farther. When the infusion has been once completed, the addition of fresh tea adds very little to the strength; so, when more is required, have the pot emptied of the old leaves, scalded, and fresh tea made in the usual manner. Economists say that a few grains of carbonate of soda, added before the boiling water is poured on the tea, assist to draw out the goodness: if the water is very hard, perhaps it is a good plan, as the soda softens it; but care must be taken to use this ingredient sparingly, as it is liable to give the tea a soapy taste if added in too large a quantity. For mixed tea, the usual proportion is four spoonfuls of black to one of green; more of the latter when the flavour is very much liked; but strong green tea is highly pernicious, and should never be partaken of too freely.""
photo by BecR2400 photo by BecR2400
photo by BecR2400
photo by BecR2400 photo by BecR2400
photo by BecR2400 photo by BecR2400
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  • Steps to Make Proper Cup of Tea:

  • Bring enough water to fill your teapot twice to a full, rolling boil in a kettle.
  • Bring the teapot to the kettle and fill it with the boiling water. Put the kettle back on the stove and bring it back to a full boil.
  • Let the teapot sit with the hot water in it for a moment or two to warm it up, then pour out the water.
  • Add one teaspoon of tea per cup of tea to the teapot, plus one for the pot.
  • Add the boiling water to the teapot, put the lid on and cover the teapot with a tea cozy.
  • Let the tea steep for three to five minutes.
  • Pour the tea into each cup using a tea strainer.
  • Offer guests sugar cubes (or honey) and a slice of lemon or a small serving of milk.
  • Tips for Making the "Perfect" Tea.
  • * A teapot doesn't have to be expensive, but it should be made of china or earthenware.
  • * When you pour the water over the tea in the teapot, make sure it is at a full boil.
  • * If you are using very fragile bone china, add a bit of milk to the bottom of each tea cup before pouring to reduce the shock of the heat on the fine china. In that case, don't offer lemon slices!
  • * Do not use cream in tea, always use milk.
  • * Choose fermented teas, not Asian style green teas. Some popular teas are:

  • o English Breakfast Tea (may be too strong for an afternoon tea).
  • o Earl Grey Tea, which is flavored with the rind of bergamots.
  • o Darjeeling Tea (full-bodied).
  • o Ceylon Tea (very popular).
  • o Lapsang Souchong Tea (distinctive, smoky flavor).
  • o Chamomile Tea (not caffeinated).

Questions & Replies

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  1. Thank you for posting this! I had an uncle who would never drink tea brewed properly. He always poured boiling water into a cup and then sunk a teabag in it. I tried to tell him to pour the water over the bag and he said, nope - it will float. He didn't understand about aerating the tea. I hope more people try this method and then they, too, will start loving tea. I use a cobalt porcelain pot to brew my tea and prefer china cups but still love my huge mugs! Thanks BecR! ;)
  2. Thanks for your helpful insights! I'll try some of these later today.


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