As a Brit I thought—out of the goodness of my heart—I would pass along tips on how to make a “proper” cup of tea. (For those who are British and/or already know all this, please excuse.)
The reason I love making a cup of tea is that it is a ceremony. It’s all about slowing down, lingering, savouring.
HOW TO MAKE THE PERFECT CUP OF TEA
I am sorry to have to break this to you, but I haven’t encountered many good cups of tea this side of the pond. So… we are going to have a tea party! Although that doesn’t mean we are going to throw tea in the Boston Harbor. By the way—who thought throwing tea away was a good idea? Oh yes. Americans.
Moving on quickly.
I’ve collected everything you’ll need in my Amazon Store.
- Awesome water
- Tea pot (ideally a Brown Betty)
- Tea cozy
- Tea strainer
- Lots of hot water (a kettle is helpful)
- Nice tea cup (or mug). Bone china is ideal.
- Highest quality leaf tea (most important). I suggest Harney and Sons or Yorkshire Gold (or if you’re in the UK, Fortnum & Mason or PG Tips!)
- Something yummy to eat (some dunk but you probably shouldn’t. Not if you’re being proper). (I suggest Chocolate Digestives or Chocolate Hobnobs.)
- Treat the water kindly: Boil it only once so the oxygen levels stays high (oxygen in water helps the flavor)
- Warm the pot: Tea likes hot water, and a chilly teapot cools it. So boil water and swill it around the empty pot, then discard. (They did this in the olden days because the old country houses in the UK were freezing. China teapots were so cold that if you added boiling water, they would crack.) But it still is a good idea to warm the pot—even if you live in a hot house.
- Add tea to the pot. For every cup, add one teaspoon of loose tea and one for the pot (or teabags, if you’re using tea bags, but leaf tea is best!)
- Add the water. Ideally just below boiling is best.
- Cover the teapot with the cozy to keep it warm
- Wait patiently: Steep for 4-5 mins (time it—if you steep too long, it’ll stew)
- Put strainer over the cup and pour
- Milk first or not? Up to you. (If it’s a lighter tea—you might want to just have lemon with it. But if it’s strong, then milk. At least that’s what I think.)
PRO TIP: Keeping boiling water handy—you can add hot water to the pot once you’ve poured your first cup and put the cozy back on and you’ll get a second cup.
INSIDER TIP: What you must never do
And what goes best with a proper cup of tea? I think a book does. (Unless it’s a chocolate hobnob —but why not have both?) Don’t miss my top book picks for fall—because is there a better fall activity than reading a book while enjoying your tea? I can’t think of one.
You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me. – C.S. Lewis
(More to come, including tea quotes and tea slang!)