If you’ve known me for any length of time you know of my
obsession passion for tea. From that first taste as a 6 month old when my grandmother gave it to me when I was ill, I’ve been a fan. One of my fondest childhood memories is sipping sweet, milky Lipton’s tea from one of grandma’s Melmac cups and saucers. In Grandma’s later years I would go visit her at least once a week and we often drank tea together as we chatted.
I passed along this heritage to my own children. My son likes tea and my daughter is equally as obsessed as I. We both order organic Earl Grey by the case.
I know there are people who say they don’t like hot tea but I always wonder if they’ve never had a “properly made” cuppa. I mean, it just boggles my mind and makes me feel sorry for them. I can’t imagine a more comforting drink and to think there are those missing out on the experience of sipping a steaming hot cup of tea on a chilly morning makes me sad.
So it occurred to me that I might be doing the world a service by explaining how to brew that perfect cup of tea. Or at least, how *I* do it.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
Here’s the basic “recipe”:
- freshly drawn water brought to a full boil
- good quality tea (I like Earl Grey)
- sugar (I prefer organic)
- milk or half and half
- Bring water to a full boil.
- Place sugar and loose leaf tea in tea ball or tea bag in cup
- Pour boiling water over tea.
- Let steep 3-5 minutes (use a timer)
- Remove tea ball or tea bag.
- Add milk or half and half.
- Stir and sip slowly.
Now for a few of my special tips:
- First of all, there is no question that a high quality loose leaf tea makes the best cuppa. And I do use loose leaf sometimes. But in the interest of honesty I have to admit that most of the time I use a tea bag. Part of the reason is simply one of convenience, although it really isn’t that much harder to use loose leaf. The other reason has been that I prefer to use organic, Fair Trade tea. I tried a lot of teas and ultimately settled on Choice Organic. I buy it through Amazon by the case and they didn’t use to have a loose leaf version. However, while researching for this post I see they DO have it in loose leaf now. It has now been added to my cart.
- I like my tea very hot but I’m a slow sipper. If I make my tea in a mug, it’s cold by the time I’m a little more than half way through. For awhile I tried placing my mug on a candle warmer in between sips and that helps, although it still wasn’t super hot. Then I discovered insulated Klean Kanteens and a whole new world opened up for me. I now brew my tea in one of these and then pour small amounts at a time into a proper china tea cup and saucer. It stays steaming hot to the last drop and I get to use a pretty tea cup.
- The whole thing has developed into a ritual of sorts. I boil the water in my electric tea kettle:
- While it’s coming to a boil I put the tea and sugar in my Klean Kanteen and select a cup and saucer:
- If it’s not quite boiling yet I do some small kitchen task such as emptying the dishwasher. As soon as it comes to a boil I pour the water into my prepared Klean Kanteen and set the timer for 3 minutes:
- If there’s a pressing chore I’ll tackle that but often I’ll use those three minutes to play the piano:
- When the timer goes off I remove the tea ball or bag, add milk or 1/2 and 1/2, screw on the lid and then take my perfectly brewed tea to the library. I pour some into my cup and then curl up in my chair and enjoy one of life’s simple pleasures.
This post is linked up on Throwback Thursday at Tornadough Alli.
I’m a big tea lover, too, although I prefer iced to hot. I drink iced tea year round. I brew using fair trade, loose leaf tea – a combination of black tea, green tea, and rooibos. In the winter I add hot tea and love Earl Grey but drink other herbal teas, as well. One thing I love about England is when you go to hotels, they have tea kettles and tea bags available in the rooms instead of coffee makers. I don’t drink coffee so I often feel left out in American hotels and various events where the only option is coffee. FYI, I noticed you have Elegance by Kathleen Tessaro on your bookshelf. It’s one of my favorites – one of my husband’s clients introduced me to it years ago. I’d love to find a similar novel to read.
Deanna Piercy says
When we were in London last fall we arrived at our hotel very late. I was dying for some tea so I went down to the bar to ask if I could get some. In the U.S. I know they would have looked at me like I was nuts but the bartender didn’t bat an eye. He fixed up a nice little tray with a tea pot, cup and saucer, sugar and milk for me to take back to my room.
As for the Tessaro novel, take a look at the categories under my header. Hover over French Inspiration and then click on “French Links”. Scroll down (I think it’s the second post) and you’ll see links for all sorts of French-themed things including books. You may find something there you would enjoy.
Melanie Riley says
I always have a big cup of coffee in the morning, but in the winter, I love a cup of tea in the afternoon to warm up. My husband is a big tea drinker (he doesn’t like coffee). We both love Earl Grey, too. I also love jasmine green. And before bed in the winter or when I’m sick, an herbal bedtime tea. I don’t eat sugar and I don’t need a lot of sweetness in my tea, so I use just a teeny bit of organic stevia in my tea. I also love iced tea in the summer – black and herbal – but don’t need that sweetened at all.
Deanna Piercy says
I love iced tea, too. I grew up drinking my grandmother’s super sweet tea but when I got married and started making it myself I began gradually cutting back the sugar. Now I use perhaps 1/4 cup in pitcher of tea. Although when I drink it in restaurants I order it unsweetened. I like it both ways.
I love tea… Regular or herbal; both works for me!
I don’t like to boil my regular tea as long as you do; I find it a bit too strong that way. I give my herbal teas a good few minutes to brew though.
I’m a slow sipper with tea too, so I recently brought a thermal mug. I’ve tried a few different ones in the past, without much luck (many leak when you’re trying to drink). I had one recommended to me though, and it’s doing great so far. I’ve only had it around two months, but I know for a fact the person who recommended it to me has been using the same one daily for a lot longer… I’m sure she’s had it more than a year…
This post was super helpful! I love tea (Earl Grey is my fave too) so I enjoyed reading. Will totally explore the rest of your blog 🙂
Deanna Piercy says
I’m so happy you found it useful. I just took a peek at your blog. I grew up in California and my first degree was in English with a minor in journalism. Perhaps we have something in common. 🙂 I’m always looking for people to guest post for me. If you are ever interested in doing so, let me know.
Frugal Hausfrau says
I’ve gotten out of the tea habit, but still love the post! Thanks for bringing this by Throwback Thursday! We hope to see you next week, and be sure to follow our Pinterest!
Deanna Piercy says
Thanks for visiting. I’m pretty sure I’m following on Pinterest but will double check. 🙂
Mrs. Laura Lane says
Hi I found your blog this week. I cannot even remember how. I’ve read several of your posts, and I’ll be spending more time here.
I loved this post! Especially your tips on using your extra minutes.
I’m writing about the tools.
I looked at the Kanteen on Amazon. Lots of negative reviews because of taste that the lid imparts.
Did you notice any trouble with this?
I looked at the tea kettle. How long have you had yours? Any troubles with cracking, rusting, etc?
Thanks for taking time to answer my questions. I would truly appreciate it if you could email your
answers to me. email@example.com
Thanks so much!
Harvest Lane Cottage
Lover of Fall and Winter and all things cozy!
Deanna Piercy says
Hello and welcome! That’s interesting about the lid. I’ve had mine for many years and haven’t had an issue. I do, however, hand wash them very carefully. As for the kettle, I’ve had it many years, too. It still works perfectly with no cracking or rusting. We have very hard water here so I do have to occasionally run some vinegar through it. I’m answering your questions here in case anyone else has the same questions but I’ll go ahead and email this to you as well.