No gimmicks – this is my Mothers’ Day Special, and I really am going to tell you how to make the perfect cup of tea!
Firstly, for the best product, you need the best raw ingredient: Dilmah Single Origin Pure Ceylon Tea. Make sure you get Loose Tea, not teabags, although it is a little harder to find on the supermarket shelves. You also need the correct equipment – a teapot, a tea cosy if the weather is cool, and a tea strainer or little sieve. Find out how many cups of water the teapot holds so that you will know how much to fill it up.
Secondly, set the table or tea tray. If there’s a special occasion, get out your best cups and saucers, fill the milk jug and sugar bowl, and assemble all the other teatime paraphernalia you can muster. If there isn’t a special occasion – create one!
Thirdly, make the tea, following these steps:
1) Empty your kettle or electric jug completely, and fill with fresh, cold, preferably filtered, water. The water for making tea should only be boiled once. Put on to boil.
2) Warm the teapot. I usually do this by rinsing it out with some of the water that is coming to the boil, although strict purists insist on having the pot clean and dry, and warm it on the back of the stove. If you like your tea really hot, fill the teapot with boiling water and leave it to heat while you boil more water for the tea.
3) Measure the loose tea into the warmed, empty pot. The old rule is one rounded teaspoonful for each person and one extra “for the pot”. However, this makes very strong tea, and can safely be considered the upper limit.
4) Just as the water comes to the boil, pour the amount you need into the teapot. Replace the lid, put on the tea cosy if using, and leave the tea to brew, or “steep”, for 3 – 5 minutes.
5) Pour milk, if desired, into the cups, then pour the tea through the tea strainer to eliminate the leaves. Add sugar, if desired, afterwards. If you prefer tea with lemon juice, this should also be added afterwards.
6) Sit back and enjoy the perfect cup of tea. Ahhhhh……
A Few Handy Tips About Tea
* It is courteous to consult the wishes of your guests when serving tea. For instance, people who take tea without milk or sugar often like it weak, and may prefer the “first cup”, which is always the weakest.
* Tea that has been left in the pot for too long can develop a bitter taste and is said to be “stewed”. Re-boiling the water for tea de-oxygenates it and can give it a stewed taste even if it’s poured promptly.
* Teapots should be rinsed out, but not washed with soap. Over the years they will build up a slight residuum which can improve the taste of the tea. If the taste gets too strong, however, the pot may need to be scrubbed out with a brush and warm water, or soaked overnight with a little baking soda.
* You can make tea without a teapot, but you will find it very inconvenient. The only really good substitute is a coffee plunger that has never been used for coffee.
* Milk is added to the cup before pouring the tea – after pouring for coffee.
* But if you really must make tea in a mug with a teabag, never, EVER add the milk first! If you do, not only will it cool down the water and interfere with the brewing, but it will clog the pores in the teabag and eliminate what little taste might otherwise have escaped.
Well, there you have it. Happy Mothers’ Day to all those wonderful mothers out there, and may your cups of tea be absolutely perfect.