A visit to a tea shop is sure to delight the senses. Seeing gallon jars filled with tea leaves and herbs of all colors, shapes, and sizes instantly brings delight! The fragrance of a multitude of tea leaves melds together to create a pungent, earthy smell. And the taste buds are awakened with sips and samples of specialty teas that most dedicated tea shops offer. It's fun to peruse the shelves of tea, making choices of this or that. Chatting with the shopkeeper as they measure out an ounce or two of tea is interesting, as they usually have some point of interest to say about each selection. Of course tea can be purchased by the pound as well, but with such a plethora of choices, I have a hard time settling for just one or two, preferring to try a dab of this or that. Although it might seem easier to buy tea in a box or bag, loose leaf tea is preferable because the tea leaves are just that, bits of whole or broken leaves, rather than the tea leaf tidbits and powder that usually frequent a tea bag. Sometimes the consumer is not sure "how" to create a perfect cup of tea from loose leaf tea (actual or herbal) and so they tend to choose the safe, familiar option of a tea bag. In celebration of National Hot Tea Month, let's review the steps to making a perfect cup of tea! A pot of perfect, loose leaf tea is easy to make and can be pure perfection.
You will need:
~ a teapot ~
~ a teakettle ~
~ a teaspoon ~
~ a tea strainer ~
~ and loose leaf tea ~
Start by emptying the tea kettle of water that may be sitting in it. Fill with fresh, cool water and place on a heat source. Bring the water to a gentle boil, removing from the heat just as a first rolling boil is achieved.
While the water is coming to a boil, rinse a ceramic teapot with hot water from the sink. This warms the teapot. Then add 1 tsp. of tea (actual or herbal) for each cup of water to the teapot. Add one extra teaspoon for good measure. They call this "one for the pot".
Pour the boiling water into the teapot and allow the tea leaves to brew for 4 - 6 minutes. The smaller the tea leaf, the less time is required for brewing. Then gently stir the tea.
Pour the tea through a strainer into individual teacups (or into a second teapot).
Enjoy with a touch of lemon, a spoonful of sweetener, or a splash of your favorite kind of milk.
Take time to calmly enjoy a delicious cup of tea. It's great, either alone or with a friend or family member. Tea slows the pace of life for a few minutes and helps one focus on what is important in the day.
Photo: Market Spice Shop at Pike Street Market.