Tea Time

Dear Constant Reader,

I’ve mentioned before my great love of tea. Let’s talk a little about that favorite topic today, particularly some on the items one needs to make tea.
These are both tea. On the left is tea from a Lipton tea bag — I don’t drink it, I merely keep it on hand for tea-dying. It’s basically dust. On the left is some good quality loose tea. In this case, Earl Grey from MEM Teas (sponsor of my tea party last year at The Expo). Look at those lovely large leaves. That’s the one I want in my pot.

This is a tea kettle. It’s used for boiling water. And the water should be boiling for black tea. There are different guidelines for green teas and for herbal infusions (they’re not tea, but that’s an epistle for another time). This particular kettle whistles, which is nice & cheery.

This is a tea pot. It’s where the tea is brewed. This pot is ceramic, which I prefer over metal. I do have a silver tea service, but that may be a story for another time. Warm the pot first by swishing a little hot water around it and then pouring it out. Add your tea. Pour the boiling water on top of the tea and let steep for a few minutes (how long depends on the type of tea). Some say to use one spoonful of tea per cup and one for the pot. I find this makes a very strong brew and prefer less tea in my pot.

This is a tea pot wearing a tea cozy to keep the contents warm. My mother knit the cozy for me. Isn’t it charming? This is called a bachelor tea cozy, because one does not have to remove the cozy to pour. Apparently Victorian bachelors were lazy. Other tea cozies look like quilted hats and cover the entire pot. There are some mighty whimsical tea cozies out there too.

These are all ways of getting the tea in the pot, while keeping the leaves out of your teeth. From left to right:

A tea filter or sachet. It’s like making your own teapot-sized tea bag. Scoop the loose tea into the bag and seal it shut. Easy!

A tea spoon. Excellent for making a single cup. Fill with tea, close and stir into a cup of hot (and by hot, I mean boiling) water. There are also tea balls. Similar to the tea spoon, only it holds more tea. Use a little tea for one cup or a lot for a pot. Mine appears to be camera shy.

A tea strainer. I love this one. Put the tea loose in the pot. Set the strainer across the mouth of a cup and pour through it. It will catch the leaves, leaving you with a clear cup with just enough tea leaves to read later. And the tea left in the pot doesn’t get bitter sitting on the leaves.

Tea can be drunk with sugar and milk (never cream) or lemon. Never milk and lemon or you get a nasty curdled mess in your cup. Personally, I like just lemon, no sugar, which is why I prefer a lighter brew.

I’ll be throwing a tea party again Sunday afternoon at The Expo. We’re still finalizing the details, but it looks like Jacqueline Hyde will be sponsoring the party and providing the tea!


Published in: on 21 January 2013 at 12:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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