Quick Recipes and Easy

Making Tea 1 – How to Brew a Great Cuppa

It is incredible how few people know how to brew the kind of refreshing, invigorating tea loved by the English-speaking world for a couple of centuries. This is by far the best way for strong black teas such as Assam from India, Ceylon from Sri Lanka and blends like English Breakfast.

These teas are dark in colour with a strong tea aroma and are made up of small pieces of broken leaf. They have been withered and air-dried to develop the distinctive colour and flavour, which gives them a high content of the stimulants theophylline and caffeine. They must be infused with really boiling water for a small time, and develop a very unpleasant bitter or stewed flavour if brewed too long.

The critical factors are quality equipment and materials, cleanliness and maximum flavour extraction. That means you must have really hot water and stir the pot! The method given here is simple and reliable, but can always be varied to suit individual tastes.

You will need:

Excellent quality, fresh strong black tea

Heavy china teapot with a excellent spout

Fresh, clean, soft water

Kettle, electric preferred

Tea strainer, stainless steel with fine mesh preferred

China cups or mugs, preferably 200ml or larger

Skim or low stout milk (optional)

Tea cosy to keep teapot warm (optional).

I have not mentioned lemon, sugar or teaspoons since these are all quite unnecessary to delight in excellent tea. The teapot, kettle and strainer must be clean as any residues from previous use will affect the flavour.

How to proceed:

Place the water on to boil: about 1 cup (250ml) per person, plus 1.

Pre-heat the teapot by pouring a small very hot water in it from the kettle, just before the water boils. The teapot should feel very hot to the touch.

As the water reaches the boil, pour the hot water out of the teapot.

Add tea to pot: one excellent, heaped teaspoonful (about 4g) per person, plus one “for the pot”.

Pour the boiling water directly onto the tea.

Stir vigorously with a spoon. Most of the flavour is extracted during these first few seconds, so this step is crucial.

Leave to stand for 3-4 minutes. Any longer and the tannins will start to be extracted, giving the tea that woody or stewed flavour. Cover teapot with tea cosy if room is cold or draughty.

Pour a small quantity of skim milk into each cup (if liked). About 1 tablespoon or 20ml is enough. If there is only full cream milk, use less.

Pour the tea into each cup using the strainer to catch leaves (there should be a few).

All the tea should be poured at once, leaving a small in the pot. Second cups are never as excellent as the first, so aim to make that first cup large enough!

The tea as poured should be a deep coppery brown, and even with milk added should be a rich coppery brown rather than milky white. The tea in the cup (or mug) should be drinkable for 20 minutes or so, and this time can be extended by covering the cup with a lid.

For a variation, use twice the amount of tea and an even shorter brewing time. This stuff has a real kick!
Delight in!

teatime.polyomino.com/2007/03/making-tea-1-how-to-brew-a-fantastic-cuppa/ teatime.polyomino.com/2007/03/making-tea-1-how-to-brew-a-fantastic-cuppa/

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