Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thankful for tea.

I am thankful for tea.

Tea warms you up.

Tea can settle your stomach, calm your nerves, soothe a sore throat or gently wake you up in the morning.

Tea is especially nice when the weather turns cold, a steaming cup transferring heat to your clutching fingers as the liquid warms your insides through and through.

There is a right way and a wrong way to serve tea.

I have a pet peeve about restaurants that do not know how to serve tea properly, which (in the USA) is most of them.  It is particularly annoying when they are the type of restaurants that put on airs.  If the entrees are over $20 per plate, they ought to know how to serve tea.

In restaurants, it is usually my bad luck to order tea and receive the following:
  1. A 12 oz. mug made of heavy white ceramic.
  2. An 8 oz. pot made of stainless steel with a loosely hinged lid and a tiny spout.  This is filled with "hot" water which ranges from lukewarm to maybe almost hot enough to make a cup of tea.
  3. A teabag.  Usually this is placed, wrapped, in the white mug.  Fancy restaurants sometimes give you a collection of teabags, which is baffling.  What do I do with five teabags and 8 oz. of tepid water?

This scenario always catches me off-guard.  My auto-pilot breaks, and I proceed incorrectly (which is my fault, I own that), unwrapping the tea bag, placing it back in the mug, and pouring the meager water from the stainless pot over it.  This is the wrong way to do it.  It does not produce a satisfying result.

The right way to make tea is not difficult.  No!  Not difficult at all!

First, you heat some water in a tea kettle.

This is a tea kettle:
A tea kettle is made to sit on the stove, over a burner, and heat water.  If you don't have a tea kettle, you can easily use a sauce pan.  It's just that a tea kettle has a spout, and often it whistles to let you know when the water has come to a boil.  Serious tea connoisseurs do not like their water to come to a rolling boil; they like to catch it at that fizzly point right before the kettle would start to sing.   Although that's ideal, it doesn't make me crazy if the water comes to a full boil.  To me, a full boil is much better than lukewarm.

You may pour your hot water over a tea bag in a mug, but the nicest way to do it is this: pour the hot water over a tea bag or two in a teapot.  Yes, a teapot!

The blue flowered pot near the center of the picture is a teapot.  If you look closely, you can see a label from a teabag, hanging out from under the lid.  I only used one teabag because I only made a half a pot of tea (for a whole pot, I use two).  Tea steeps in the teapot, gaining strength and balanced flavor, until it is ready to be served.

When the tea has steeped, preferably 3-5 minutes, you pour it from the teapot into teacups.

Depending on what kind of tea you have, you might like to add cream, sugar, honey, or even lemon.  Never add both cream and lemon to the same cup.  You will be mighty sorry!

Enjoy your tea.  Relax, get warm, breathe the steam, thaw your hands, savor the flavor.

I am thankful for tea.  And I am thankful that I can make it at home, just the way I like it!


Shannon said...

let's have lots of tea when I am home for Christmas!!

ruth said...

Yes! Let's!