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How not to make tea Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tea is one of the easiest beverages to prepare. I learned when I was about six years old. And yet, at least here in the United States, it is really difficult to find people who know how to make it properly. Or maybe it's more accurate to say that there are a lot of shortcuts people think you can take. Either way, good tea is hard to find, even in cafes that should know better.

With that in mind, here are some directions on how not to make tea.

  1. Any old tea will do. Coffee is a very complex drink, with subtle flavor variations depending on the variety, source, and processing of the bean. Tea is tea, right? Just grab whatever brand is cheapest. And since it's dried, it will last forever. Just keep it in a box in your cupboard beside all your other spices.
  2. Unless you're drinking ice tea, it's supposed to be hot. But not too hot—you don't want to burn your tongue. You could boil water, but it's easier and quicker just to take some off the coffee maker.
  3. Tea pots are a waste of time. Why use a piece of pottery specially designed to make tea when you're just going to pour it in a cup anyway? Just put the water in a cold mug and let it sit on the counter for a couple of minutes while you find a teabag.
  4. Teabags are wonderful. Just plop one into the water and let it sit for a minute or two—but no more. Otherwise they might impart too much flavour to the water.
  5. Offer your guests cream or half-and-half if they want something to add to their tea. Some of your guests might prefer milk instead. In that case, be sure to add more because it's not as thick. And be sure to add it while the tea is still brewing—it speeds up the process. You can also add sugar or honey if you want.
That's it! Easy, eh? Tepid, weak, milky water in mere minutes ... no wonder most Americans don't drink the stuff.


AudreyLinden said...

It has been so hot here, I have been off tea. Your post and the cooler weather has made me get my teapot out.