WORDS:: Chyka Keebaugh
PHOTOS:: Lisa Atkinson
I know it sounds easy, but making the perfect cup of tea can be an artwork.
We are all a little fussy with our tea. Come on admit it! There is a special way each and every one of us takes our tea, and we are not shy to let people know if we get a bad one. I'm not ashamed to admit I'm a little fussy. I like my tea coming from a pot, I like to use a cup & saucer, and I like to have a few biscuits on the side. It’s got to be piping hot, and I prefer to take mine seated, on the couch with a magazine or book in hand, thank you very much!
But how do we make the perfect cup? Let me share some tricks with you…
Always make sure you refill your kettle with fresh oxygenated water for each brew; tea loves air, and the bubbles from freshwater help the tea develop the flavour.
- Depending on what style of tea you are brewing steeping times will differ. Make sure you read the packaging on your teas as some need longer, and some need less steeping time to get the full effect of the flavours.
- If using stovetop kettle, don’t let your water over boil; this can burn the tea leaves. Once the water has reached boiling point, take off the stove.
- Most teas need at least three minutes to brew (even teabags) so don’t rush! Also don’t leave the teabag in your cup, or leave your spoon in there! Not only does it look bad but it will also change the flavour of your tea.
- Milk never goes in your teacup first! Your tea will never look like tea when you do this, it will look too milky, and that is just not acceptable! Always use full cream milk, you want to enjoy your cup of tea so make the most of it. Indulge a little.
Now, what about the perfect vessel for your tea? There are a few no-no’s we have to get past first. Metal = no; your tea will taste metallic. Plastic = no; tannins from the tea will stick to the cup. Ceramic = no; it’s porous, and your tea will cool down quickly. So the answer is porcelain, and I would invest in a few gorgeous cups that make the experience that little bit more special. Warm that teacup up, for a piping hot cup, I love to microwave or let some boiling water sit in the cup before I pour the tea in.
Always clean your kettle out regularly! It’s very easy to forget to clean a kettle and yet it's something we use daily. All you need to do is fill it with equal parts vinegar (or lemon) and equal parts water, soak for an hour then simply boil the kettle. Once it's boiled tip it out, rinse it, and admire your handy work. It’s that simple. If there are some scales on the inside, run through this cleaning process again, then follow up with a quick wipe out using a damp cloth and bicarbonate soda, making sure you thoroughly rinse and reboil after.
So, who’s for a cup?