TIFFANY'S PERFECT CUP OF TEA
Fall weather is always the time I start drinking more hot tea. I started drinking tea with my grandma when I was a little girl, probably around 4 or 5. She taught me a lot about how to make a perfect cup of tea and why it is important to drink tea out of a "pretty cup". The best cup choice is always bone China. China has the smoothest surface inside the mug which allows the natural tannins in the tea not to stick to the inside of the mug. This is why you should NEVER drink tea out of a styrofoam, plastic or paper cup. The tea will just taste like styrofoam, plastic or paper. Your next best choice is a porcelain mug that I'm sure you have at home. It still won't taste nearly as good as the bone China cup but most of us aren't using our China for tea every day.
Now that you understand why you have to drink tea from a pretty cup I'm going to tell you how to make a perfect cup of tea.
1. Use filtered water. Be sure to use the best filtered water you can find to end up with great tea.
2. Set the correct water temperature. Different types of tea require different water temperatures. I use an electric tea kettle so I can set the temperature for the flavor of tea I am having. It will tell you on the tea box the correct temperature the water should be before steeping.
3. Steep for the correct amount of time. If you over steep your tea it will have a bitter taste. Most teas should steep right around the 4-minute mark but check your tea to be sure and don't go over.
4. Use loose tea. Teabags are convenient for most of us but when you want good tea use loose tea. Teabags are basically leftovers from real tea leaves and don't have nearly the flavor of loose tea.
5. Warm the teapot. Most people don't do this but it's a game-changer. Heating the teapot helps brew the tea properly and it keeps the water hot. To heat, fill the teapot 3/4 full of hot water and swirl around the pot for a minute or two, then throw the water out.
6. Use a tea infuser so the loose leaves don't go into the water. Setting the infuser over the teapot and pouring the water over the tea leaves gets you maximum flavor and doesn't make a mess.
7. Add honey. You can of course add a little milk, sugar, or whatever you'd like, but I think all tea tastes better with a little dollop of honey. It adds just the right amount of sweetness to tea without changing the taste. My grandma LOVED her some honey so I probably add a little more than most but that just makes me feel like my grandma is still with me while I am having my tea party.