Simple tips for brewing better tea

Erh sort of simple, anyway. For the Martha Stewart, Frasier Crane snob in you

1. Start with cold water and don’t let it boil for to long. Cold water has more oxygen in it and as you boil the water the oxygen is driven out. The more oxygen the tastier the tea. Have you ever drank a glass of water that has been sitting out for a day or so? Gross eh. That’s because all of the O2thats naturally dissolved in the water has leached out.(thanks to my former roommate for this one. Though I thought he was a freak at the time but he was right, Well he is a freak but that ‘s not the point)

2. Use a tea pot and tea cozy If you are regularly drinking tea alone and won’t drink the whole pot just fill the pot part way and dispose of the rest, making your tea in a single cup tends to make it bitter and it will cost the same (a tea bag or two) plus you will reap the benafits of point 4. The tea cozy is to keep the tea hot longer. This is helpful if you like your tea strong or will be enjoying it over a long period of time. (yes I was the only 21 year old male she knew that owned a tea cozy and ya she dug it). Make sure to remove the tea bag when the tea is at your desired strength or it will end up getting bitter and nasty.

3. Heat the tea pot. If the kettle you are using is large enough use some of the boiled water before you put the tea bags in and swirl it around(carefully as you don’t want that water hitting you). If your tap is hot enough fill the pot and let it sit while you are boiling the kettle. This method is easier(for the terminally lazy like myself) and less dangerous. This is a good idea as you want the water to be as hot as possible while it is steeping and get all that loving goodness out.

4. Do not under any circumstances wash your tea pot. I hear shrieks of that’s Gross/unhealthy/dangerous when in fact it isn’t, well dangerous/ unhealthy anyway. This one sounds strange but in fact it's an old English tradition. I can taste the difference between a cup of tea from a pot that has a few years of use and hasn’t been washed and on that has. The accumulated build up on the side gives the tea a subtly, fullness and robustness that is otherwise lacking. My mother has a strange story/urban legend she tells when ever this subject comes up about a maid from North America working in England who washed the family tea pot and was fired on the spot. I don’t know if it’s true or not but I have heard that they can be quite fanatical about it. Incidentally, make sure that you don’t leave tea with the tea bag in it in the pot for a long period of time. The bitterness from the tea will permeate the build up on the inside of the pot and you will have to scrub it off and start all over again(Unless you want all of your tea to have a bitter tinge to it I suppose)

This practice is quite safe as there are no animal fats present. Animal fats are where you get the nastier bacterial food poisons that can kill you. Any bacteria present will be relatively harmless and will likely be killed when you pour boiling water on them. History bears this out. The English have been doing this for years and I haven’t heard of anyone dying of tea poisoning.

These tips are meant mostly for non-herbal tea though I suppose you could apply them to herbal tea if you want certainly 1. and 3. apply. I if so I suggest that you keep a separate tea pot for your herbal tea(yes I know I am a fanatic) I also suggest that you wash out the herbal tea pot. You don’t want the taste of various herbal concoctions mixing together and blurring the distinct flavors of the herbal tea or marring the subtleties of the normal tea. I am not insane enough to suggest that you consider getting a different pot for each of the different types of tea (i.e. black, orange pekoe, ect.)