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A Perfect Cup of Hot Tea !

Seemingly anyone, even those who don't "cook," can boil water and make tea. But there is more to making a truly savory cup of tea, which requires the following care.

Teapot
  1. Use the best quality leaf tea you can find (often British, like Twinings or Jackson's of Piccadilly--American teas often contain higher percentages of stalk, as well as tea "dust" to gain fast color, but not necessarily wonderful flavor). The best qualities can be purchased in bulk, but there are some fine qualities in tea bags, like the above brands.
  2. Use a teapot and scald it by pouring in boiling water before use. This gets the pot well heated so that the water for steeping does not cool down too quickly from cold ceramic or china. Empty hot water and place one teabag for each cup (6 fl. oz.) in the pot. For 30 fl. oz. of water, for instance, use five teabags. Water must be fresh and just off a rolling boil.
  3. Allow tea to steep without stirring for three to five minutes (depends on the strength you like--decide by trial and error). To keep the tea at ideal extraction temperature use a "cozy," usually a quilted cover that fits over the teapot and holds in the heat.
  4. After the steeping period in step three, remove teabags without squeezing them (squeezing can press out some of the bitter tasting polyphenols that remain in the leaf).
  5. Pour hot tea from pot into cups and enjoy. Add what pleases you, but NEVER use cream -- it contains too much fat for the delicate flavor of tea. You may add a dollop of whole milk, milk and sugar, Sweet 'N Low, or the like.

If you have never developed an interest in hot tea, give the above a try. The unadulterated taste of tea itself -- properly steeped to yield a rich, bright flavor and color -- is a 2,000 year old delicacy begun by China's first emperor in 2737 B.C. There is a world of difference in the true flavor of fine tea if it is prepared correctly.

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