January 22, 2012 • Posted by Jean at Delightful Repast
Coffee drinkers have it made. There’s a place to get a good cup of coffee on nearly every corner. It is nearly impossible to get a proper cup of tea in the US without making it yourself. Most restaurants give you a tiny stainless steel pot of water that has been warmed, not boiled, on one of the burners of their coffee maker, along with a teabag of uncertain quality for you to dunk into the tepid water. The result is so insipid that people who have never had properly made tea think they don't like tea.
Though I enjoy many types of herbal infusions, they are not tea; they are tisanes. I sometimes enjoy a green tea or oolong or some of the specialty teas that have recently come to the fore. But when I say "a proper cup of tea," that means a good black tea, such as Darjeeling, Earl Grey or English breakfast--organic, if possible.
You will need a tea kettle and a ceramic teapot, both of a capacity to make the quantity you desire, and fresh tea leaves or high-quality teabags.
To make a proper pot of black tea, just before a kettle of freshly drawn water comes to the boil, warm the teapot with hot water, empty it, add one teaspoon of tea leaves (or one teabag) for each 8 ounces of water. Immediately pour in the freshly boiling water, let it stand for 5 minutes, stir, and then strain into cups. If you prefer to use a tea ball, be sure it is large enough to allow the tea leaves to unfurl. Serve with sugar or sugar cubes, thin slices (not wedges) of lemon and a small pitcher of milk (never cream).