Tuesday, August 13, 2013

How to Brew Tea in a Tea Pot

Hello again! Today I’m going to continue my previous post about tea to talk about brewing tea in a teapot. While tea in a mug is a very basic morning time deal for me, when I break out the tea pot the brewing gets serious. Firstly, I never use tea bags, only loose leaf tea.
Currently, it is not hard at all to find loose leaf tea. Every grocery store has at least one brand of loose leaf (usually Twinings) and stores like Wegman’s and Target sell dozens of different types.  A favorite of mine is Twinings on London’s Prince of Wales. This is sometimes more difficult to find than their basic breakfast and earl grey but in my opinion it is worth it.  
To brew tea in a tea pot a few specialized tools are needed the most obvious being the tea pot. Tea pots are not extremely hard to find; they can be found at most major department and housewares stores such as Macy’s and Bed, Bath, and Beyond. They can start at about ten dollars and go up well past $100 if you want some Royal Albert China. The tea can also be poured into a matching tea cup, with saucer of course, but if you are brewing in a pot for a more refined taste only and not appearance, you can pour the tea directly into a mug. Also some sort of instrument must be used to strain out the tea leaves from the brew since a bag is not being used. Both miniature strainers that are set on top of the mug are available but seem to be rare to find in person; I have never found one. This is good at letting the leaves breathe and spread throughout the hot water while brewing. A more common tool and the one I use is a tea ball. Tea balls are very common and can be found at most grocery, department, and food ware stores.  To use a tea ball, simply spoon in the desired amount of tea, close (some use a hooking mechanism, other springs) and add to the pot. There is a truly innumerable amount of additional wares for tea sets which can be explored on various tea websites, catalogs, and in stores.
The amount of tea to be used is not already measured out as in tea bags so you must do it yourself. A standard measurement is one teaspoon to tea for every cup plus one. Loose leaf tea is often not as strong and subtler and takes longer to brew so you want to make sure you use enough.
After the water is boiled (I discussed methods in my previous post) add a small amount to the pot, swirl it around, then dump it before adding the tea and the rest of boiling water. Having an electric kettle would make this easier. The point of this exercise is to warm up the pot so the water isn’t shocked to a lower temperature so the tea can brew properly. The tea should then be steeped for a longer amount of time than bagged; I brew mine for 5-8 minutes. To check doneness, pour out a small amount into a cup or into a spoon to check color.
Of course, extra additions or welcome such as sugar, milk, and lemon, to taste but I like to keep my additions to pot brewed tea minimal to truly enjoy the fragrant tea’s natural taste and smell. Since I do not usually add anything I am careful not to over brew my tea which would make it bitter.

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed it.

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