Friday, July 25, 2008

Serving English tea

Photo by SixyBeast

Writing about guests in my previous posts, also got me thinking about brewing tea... since living in England I have joined in the custom of drinking a cup of tea at every occasion. I love that everyone in England offers a cup of tea as you walk through their door. You may of course have coffee, juice or water, but they will always ask "Can I get you a cup of tea". Now, the English certainly know how to make a decent cup of tea and I'm afraid it does also have to do with the quality of everyday tea here which seems to be much stronger than 'normal' tea elsewhere around the world. If you would like the equivalent to an English brew, get the tea marketed as 'English breakfast tea'.

Making the 'perfect' tea, also boils down to the use of a teapot. Of course you can use teabags in a mug, but everyone knows how to do this, I'm talking about tea that's good enough for the queen (or your guests of course). Most people agree that loose tea leaves are best, but if you can't get hold of them don't fret, unless your guests actually are the royal family, I'm sure they wont notice the difference.

You'll need:

A teapot, loose tea leaves or tea bags, thin slices of lemon, white sugar in a sugar bowl with a sugar spoon (brown sugar tastes great in coffee, not so great in tea), tea cups and saucers, teaspoons and a milk jug with fresh non-UHT milk (no cream).

This is how you do it:

  • Fill an empty kettle with fresh cold water and bring to the boil.
  • Whilst the water is boiling, warm up the teapot with hot water from the tap to prevent the teapot cracking when boiling water is poured in.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of loose tea leaves per cup and an extra teaspoon for the pot, to the pot. If you are using teabags, just us one per cup
  • As soon as the water starts to boil, remove the kettle from the heat. Add the water to the pot, and steep the tea for no longer than 6 minutes.
  • Before pouring the tea, add milk to the cups for those who wish to have milk, but not the lemon just yet.
  • Now slowly pour the tea, if using tea leaves, pour through a tea strainer.
    Add sugar to those who wish to have it, and only once the sugar has been stirred should you add the lemon slices for those who aren't taking milk. Adding the lemon first will prevent the sugar from dissolving.
  • If there is tea left in the pot that you wish to use, remove tea bags, or in the case of tea leaves, pour the through the tea strainer into a clean warmed up pot. Use a tea cosy to keep the tea warm. Leaving teabags or leaves in the pot to steep will cause the tea to taste bitter.

Some of the information above is from what I have been taught by my English husband and family, and the rest of the details is from the very informative The Tea Table website. This is not how I make tea on a daily basis, but it's nice to do it this way for special occasions.

Below are some practical and not so practical inspirations and finds.

I would like to add that the things I feature, are completely by my own choice, I do not get paid to feature any of these things, they are not advertisements, just things I found that I liked. The reason why many of them are from Etsy, is that I can write to the people and tell them that I've featured their items. There's little chance of a big company writing back to me ans saying 'thanks, of course you can use our image' . So please don't see them as my way of trying you to buy things, they are here for inspiration and your enjoyment.

From left tor right

Row 1: A beautiful warm knitted tea cosy from Chi-Chi Moi; Very cute little teacup earrings by Charlieccbb; a sugar and creamer set in beautiful colours with a poppy design from Alina Hayes Ceramics.

Row 2: Tea cosy fit for a queen? This classy one is from Gloaming Designs; A handy tea strainer from Sur La Table; tea strainers can be pretty like this one from Ivy Leaf Tea .

Row 3: Make tea not war tote bag by Communitea, brilliant! ; the sweetest sugar bowl ever made by Miss Pottery; Awww, a little teeny tiny teacup ring from Sypria.


Niki M said...

Thanks 4 leaving me a comment. P.S Good tips on how to make tea now I'll
always remember this blog for when my mum starts nagging me to make her tea. Visit my website anytime your always welcome. K Bi

Niki M

Clare said...

Yes! I totally agree, that is the best way to make tea (some people add the milk last, but I understand the WI had a national vote and found that 'milk first' was the best!)

My father used to also 'mash' the tea with a spoon, before pouring!

You've made we want a cuppa now so I'm off to make one - accompanied by chocolate cake!!

Lori J. said...

Thank you for visiting my blog and for featuring our tea strainer at the Ivy Leaf. I had to comment and let you know I love your blog and actually blogged about you. Thanks again for stopping by, I'll visit again soon.

A note on perfection

Many of the posts featured on this blog are about doing household chores the correct, or so to say perfect way. My intention is not to make readers feel that the way they are running their households are wrong. So if making the bed, or ironing shirts in a certain way doesn't fit your lifestyle, do not feel guilty about it. But by learning the correct way of doing things it might just come in handy for those times when special guests are staying, or when you need to iron that shirt perfectly for a job interview. So enjoy the learning, but skip the guilt and LOVE your homes. x

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