There are endless varieties of tea. A Portuguese princess, Catherine of Braganza, wife to England’s Charles II, is said to have brought the first tea to the royal court in 1662. Several pounds of tea were part of her dowry.
I am still learning to make a proper pot of tea. It’s not hard, really, but I want to gain confidence and grace in serving it for hospitality.And there is nothing more warming than a good cup of tea after a brisk stroll in the fall leaves or doing fall cleanup in the garden. I find it a special treat to have a mug of steaming tea when I curl up to read.
There are just a few simple steps:
~Choose the tea you like, letting your taste buds be your guide. Then decide whether you want to use loose tea or tea bags. Loose leaf is generally bought in bulk and can cost a lot less per cup; on the other hand, tea bags are certainly far more convenient to use. From Amazon.com, a box of Ahmad loose leaf Earl Grey green tea runs around $6 (plus shipping). The equivalent amount of the same tea in tea bag form was $26.
I will continue to use medicinal teas (in bags) from Traditional Medicinals because I just love this as a way to use herbs when we have an ailment here. They are very high quality (pharmaceutical grade) and the cost is very reasonable for a true alternative self-care! There are teas for coughs, sore throats, detoxing, nursing mothers, sleeplessness, boosting the immune system, and lots more real medical needs, but I digress!
Carrying on, I recently purchased Lady Grey loose leaf tea by Twinings and a pretty little strainer to handle the leaves. This was for a merry evening of English hospitality which was a great hit. The total for both was $12.54 ( including shipping) from the English Tea Store.
~As you bring water to a boil in the kettle on the stove, the teapot should be filled with warm water from the tap. Warming reduces the risk of grazing or cracking fine china when boiling water is suddenly added to the pot.
~Let it steep. Three minutes is average, unless you prefer very weak tea. I’ve read you really shouldn’t let black tea steep more than about four minutes or so. After that its likely to become’ inky and tannic’.
~Fill your cups, pouring through a strainer.
According to nutritional analysis, both green and black teas contain relatively high amounts of vitamins C, D, and K and riboflavin, as well as antioxidants and the minerals calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, sodium, nickel, and fluoride. However, it is the polyphenols of green tea that are responsible for its health benefits.
But most important, making our homes cozy and welcoming isn’t based on a perfect or proper pot of tea, but on the warmth of a kind word or a listening ear as we offer the cup. If what we have is a glass of cool water, it is every bit as hospitable as serving the finest tea in the most lovely china cup when done in a spirit of service and thanksgiving.
“Everyone carries an atmosphere about him. It may be healthful and invigorating, or it may be unwholesome and depressing. It may make a little spot of the world a sweeter, better, safer place to live in; or it may make it harder for those to live worthily and beautifully who dwell within its circle.” ~ J.R. Miller
“Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.” ~Proverbs 17: 1
Thanks for reading!