So you thought you could just chuck a teabag in a cup, add boiling water and milk and that’s it?
Well, of course you could do that and plenty of people do just that every day, but if you really want to savour your tea and enjoy its flavours there are plenty of other ways to brew the perfect cuppa.
Let’s have a look at the best of the best…
Tea in a pot
This is easy, it just demands some good quality loose leaf tea and a few moments of your time.
Place three heaped teaspoons of tea per pot if it’s for one – in a warmed ceramic teapot.
The best clay teapots are still made in England, (for many the home of tea, even if no tea is actually grown on the sceptred isle…) where pottery pots are made with local clay said to be ideal for retaining heat – and the Brits should know, they’ve been making them for a hundred years.
A good teapot doesn’t need to be fancy, it should just be simple, allowing the tea to brew softly for around three to four minutes.
And when you’ve finished, tip the used cooled tea leaves on your garden – they make a great compost addition to soil.
Tetsubin is hot
A tetsubin is a traditional Japanese cast iron teapot which its makers claim retains heat much better than any other serving method. They may have a point – tea in a tetsubin can retain the tea’s heat for up to an hour.
Many tetsubin fans also use tea light stands to keep the tea hot until it’s all been drunk, allowing for leisurely tea times mixed with a little bit of typical Japanese ceremony.
For those bitten by the tetsubin bug, there are even small cast iron cups to compliment the pots.
Grandpa style never goes out of fashion
So named because it is the common style of drinking tea for grandpas, apparently, and perhaps the easiest way of savouring the taste of tea. There’s nothing grand or fancy about this – you simply fill a big cup with hot water and add tea leaves. No infuser required, no need to worry about the steeping time. When the cup is half full top off the water. It does pay to wait a while for the flavour to form though. Large loose-leaf teas are the best for this brewing method because small ones can turn bitter.
Cold brewed hits the spot
Cold tea has long had a loyal following, especially in countries where the summer heat can be oppressive. There is nothing better than a crisp, clean, cold tea in hot weather, and even in cold climates it has its fans. There are tea bags touted as specifically for cold tea but honestly, any kind of loose-leaf blend or tea bag is fine. To make, take one teaspoon of tea leaves or one teabag per one litre of water. Fill a pitcher with water and add tea leaves or the bag and refrigerate overnight, and voila, it’s done.
By Tony Bosworth (www.tonybosworth.com)