The perfect pot of English tea leads to the perfect cup of English tea! I know this is NOT a recipe, but it is amazing how many people do not know how to make a PROPER POT of tea! We always make a pot of tea at home - even if there is only one of us here, we just use a smaller pot! I also prefer loose tea to tea-bags, but we do use good quality tea-bags as well. This is my method for making a perfect pot of tea, and therefore a perfect cuppa. This has been posted due to a request from my daughter, who obviously has FAR more sophisticated tastes as a university student than I did when I was one!! Plus, what can be nicer then baking a cake, inviting a couple of friends over and having a natter with a cuppa? It puts the world to rights! Quantities are listed for a pot of tea for two.....you can increase or decrease the amounts to suit.The following extract is from Mrs Beeton's book of Household Management printed in 1880; here she suggests the method for a "perfect" cup of tea, using loose tea of course and NOT tea bags! "There is very little art in making good tea; if the water is boiling, and there is no sparing of the fragrant leaf, the beverage will almost invariably be good. The old-fashioned plan of allowing a teaspoonful to each person, and one over, is still practised. Warm the teapot with boiling water; let it remain for two or three minutes for the vessel to become thoroughly hot, then pour it away. Put in the tea, pour in from 1/2 to 3/4 pint of boiling water, close the lid, and let it stand for the tea to draw from 5 to 10 minutes; then fill up the pot with water. The tea will be quite spoiled unless made with water that is actually ‘boiling’, as the leaves will not open, and the flavour not be extracted from them; the beverage will consequently be colourless and tasteless,—in fact, nothing but tepid water. Where there is a very large party to make tea for, it is a good plan to have two teapots instead of putting a large quantity of tea into one pot; the tea, besides, will go farther. When the infusion has been once completed, the addition of fresh tea adds very little to the strength; so, when more is required, have the pot emptied of the old leaves, scalded, and fresh tea made in the usual manner."
3 teaspoons loose tea, such as Assam tea or Darjeeling tea or English Breakfast tea or Orange Pekoe tea or Earl Grey tea or Ceylon tea
freshly drawn water
granulated sugar or white sugar cubes
Use any loose tea or tea bags that suits your requirements - the teas that are listed are just suggestions.
Only use freshly drawn cold water, ensure that kettles or water boilers are de-scaled regularly and that teapots are spotlessly clean. Teapots should be warmed with hot water, which is then poured away.
Use the recommended number of tea bags or one teaspoon of loose tea per cup, AND one teaspoon for the pot. (For one person use a 10oz tea pot, for two persons a 20oz tea pot is recommended)
Water should always be freshly boiled and boiling when added to tea. Leave to brew for 3 to 5 minutes before serving, or longer depending on strength that is desired. I leave mine for 6 to 7 minutes to brew. Stir before serving.
Pour a little milk into each cup before pouring the tea through a strainer if necessary, and sweeten with sugar as required. You can omit the milk and serve the tea with lemon slices if you wish. The tea pot can be refreshed or "topped up" with hot water if more cups or tea or a weaker brew is needed.