The art of making a perfect cup of tea ...
Start from the water. It does not matter if you use sachets or loose tea, water is an indispensable ingredient. Warning: any aftertaste of chlorine, iron or sulfur present in the water will make tea unpleasant both in taste and in aroma. Fill the kettle with 250ml of fresh water. Tap water is acceptable, but a good cup of tea should be prepared with filtered or spring water. Never use distilled or boiled water. The more oxygen it contains, the better the taste of the tea will be!
Boil the water - Bring the water to a boil, then remove from the heat. Pour the water into your teapot and cover with the lid.
Allow the water to cool slightly - Let the boiling water stand for about a minute, so that the water is just below the boiling point.
Add tea - Add a teaspoon of loose tea per cup to prepare, plus a teaspoon of tea "for the dish." You can also use a tea ball, or an infuser, but use the same amount of tea.
Rinse the leaves with the first water that will also be used to rinse the cups and utensils and discard them, then put the leaves in fusion.
Leave the tea in infusion. Wait until it is ready. The infusion time depends on the variety of tea:
About a minute for green tea.
From 3 to 6 minutes for black tea.
6 to 8 minutes for Oolong teas.
From 8 to 12 minutes for herbal teas.
Warning: if you prefer tea to have a stronger taste, do not leave the leaves to infuse for longer, but add more.
Mix the tea, then serve.
Slowly pour the water directly onto the sachet, so you can reduce the infusion time.
Boiling the tea with water will give you a drink with a very intense taste that you usually drink with a lot of sugar, but it is not for all palates.
If you prefer to drink lukewarm instead of hot tea, prepare the tea normally and then let it cool to room temperature or add ice cubes. Do not use lukewarm water for the infusion because you would get a mild tea.
When preparing green tea, do not leave it to infuse for more than two minutes, otherwise the taste will be too intense and bitter.
If you prefer to use leaf tea, your patience will be well rewarded:
Try to combine different types of leaf tea (the name of some famous British brands corresponds to the nickname of the families that produced that particular blend).
The grandmothers left the apple peels inside the tea boxes for a few months, until the tea had acquired the taste of apple. Try it yourself and, when pouring tea, add a pinch of cinnamon.
When you use the leaves instead of the sachets, pour the boiling water directly onto the leaves in a teapot. Then empty it, leaving only the leaves. Fill it again with more boiling water for a second infusion. According to an oriental tradition, only the tea of the second infusion should be consumed; this method is used to make sure that all the impurities have been eliminated from the leaves.
You can experiment with alternative infusion methods with sachets to get different tastes:
If you have an espresso machine, put the tea bag in place of coffee. You'll get tea instantly, without having to wait.
If you can keep the sachet from the lanyard, shake it after a couple of minutes. The tea will have a stronger taste and a more intense aroma.
You can heat the water on the stove using a small saucepan or a traditional kettle that will emit the typical whistle when the water has come to a boil.
If you do not have an electric kettle and you are forced to use the microwave, it will take a couple of minutes to bring the water to a boil. Let it cool a little before making tea.
Serve with cookies or a dessert.
It is important to get a little 'familiar with the different varieties of tea, because some require different times of infusion, or hot water and not boiling, while others require a particular proportion between the amount of tea and water (especially if you use tea in powder, like maté).
Try varying the infusion time before adding milk.
If you add the lemon along with milk, the latter may curdle.
Do not leave tea brewed in an electric kettle.
If you drink tea for health reasons (for example, for your intake of EGCG), do not take it with milk, because it contains casein that would bind to EGCG. If you want to make it creamy, use soy milk, almond, buckwheat or any other milk substitute that does not have an animal derivation.
Be careful when you taste! You could burn yourself and even damage your taste buds