How to make a proper tea

In light of this article: https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/tea-microwave-boiling-water-better-a4517091.html, which states the obvious, the 1 million dollar question is, how to you make a proper tea:

I was told, for black tea, throw at least three tea bags in, and let it steep for at least three minutes no more than five. That will give you the perfect middle between watery and bitter.

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Comments

  • edited August 6
    One decent bag in a pot for four, put a cosy on, let it draw as long as it lasts, drink with less milk earlier and a bit more later. Doesn't taste stewed even if it takes me all morning to drink it. Not so strong as to make me worry about the 20-ish cups I might drink on a long day here!

    (Oh - ETA - re-heat in microwave in the cup, but without milk yet)
  • My default everyday drinking tea is one (UK) English Breakfast teabag in a UK pint or so of boiling water, allowed to steep for 6 minutes before removing teabag and adding milk.

    I will agree with anyone who points out that teabags basically contain floor sweepings and loose leaf tea is better - I just almost never have time for that, and I'm putting in milk anyway, so there's no point getting too precious about the tea.
  • jedijudyjedijudy Heaven Host, 8th Day Host
    Trying to remain calm while stepping gently away from this huge soap box.

    Tea Bags? Tea Bags!!! They are only for when I am gone from home for a few days and can't carry the teapot, container of lovely tea leaves and my kettle.

    There are so many easy strainers, tea ballers, and filter sacks to put the tea leaves in! It takes like two seconds!!!

    Would someone bring my fainting couch, please? The vapors are upon me.
  • jedijudy wrote: »
    There are so many easy strainers, tea ballers, and filter sacks to put the tea leaves in! It takes like two seconds!!!

    Although somewhat fewer that are actually 100% successful at containing the leaves. (Which is why I gave up on such items - too many occasions ending up with the final mouthful containing tea leaves.)
  • jedijudyjedijudy Heaven Host, 8th Day Host
    @Leorning Cniht Ahh! Then you need these!!! No loose crud, but all the flavor of non-swept-off-the-floor tea!
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    • Tea made with proper leaves is much better than tea made with a tea bag.
    • Have a strainer and pour the tea from the pot into the cup through the strainer balanced on the rim of the cup. Put the leaves that collect in the strainer back in the pot.
    • Tea should aways be mashed in a pot, not in the mug or a cup.
    • Tea must always be mashed with boiling water.
    • Even if you make it with tea bags, it should mash for a few minutes first.
    • You can shorten the mashing time by stirring it in the pot.
    • Despite Nancy Mitford, provided you know how strong you want it, it's better with the milk in the cup first.
    • One tea bag in a pot for four people will give you an insipid liquid that won't be fit to drink.
    • The maxim always was, 1 tea spoon of leaves per person + 1 for the pot.
    • If in doubt, make tea too strong rather than too weak.
  • Enoch wrote: »
    • One tea bag in a pot for four people will give you an insipid liquid that won't be fit to drink.

    Ouch - is this Heaven? :smile:
  • 2 clipper tea bags (organic fairtrade) in a large pot(wedding present 30 years ago, used several times every day since). Brew for 5 mins, covered with tea towel, milk in mugs, makes 4 mugs...simple

    But coffee...surely a separate thread.

    (16g of illy in an inverted aeropress, stir 40s, press, 1/3 milk added)
  • Enoch has it. 'Peter has spoken through Enoch.'
  • Small single pot with screen for tea built to fit. First pour boiling water into pot to heat it. Pour out water, place in screen, add one rounded teaspoon black tea leaves. Cover with water just under the boil. Sit for 5 minutes, remove screen with tea leaves, pour drink without sugar or milk. Have other small single pots so everyone can have their own choice of tea and brewing time.
  • It used to be simple: tea, coffee or water.

    Now folk want decaff, or to pick through your collection of herbal teas, or even pinch out herb tips from your garden.

    I find i need to write it all down when taking orders.
  • MiffyMiffy Shipmate
    One for each person and one for the pot.

    Unless the water boiling be, filling the teapot spoils the tea.

    That’s all you need to know.
  • MarsupialMarsupial Shipmate
    Enoch wrote: »
    • Tea made with proper leaves is much better than tea made with a tea bag.
    • Have a strainer and pour the tea from the pot into the cup through the strainer balanced on the rim of the cup. Put the leaves that collect in the strainer back in the pot.
    • Tea should aways be mashed in a pot, not in the mug or a cup.
    • Tea must always be mashed with boiling water.
    • Even if you make it with tea bags, it should mash for a few minutes first.
    • You can shorten the mashing time by stirring it in the pot.
    • Despite Nancy Mitford, provided you know how strong you want it, it's better with the milk in the cup first.
    • One tea bag in a pot for four people will give you an insipid liquid that won't be fit to drink.
    • The maxim always was, 1 tea spoon of leaves per person + 1 for the pot.
    • If in doubt, make tea too strong rather than too weak.

    We seem to have similar tea habits, except that I side with Ms. Mitford on the milk-vs.-tea-first issue. I did milk first for a long time, but now I think it emphasizes the milkiness too much.

    I rarely use a strainer, which may just be a sign of colonial barbarism. :smile:

    I had to Google "mashing" in context of tea. On this side of the pond, it's something you only do to potatoes, and the mental picture that was forming in my mind was very strange.
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host, 8th Day Host
    jedijudy wrote: »
    Trying to remain calm while stepping gently away from this huge soap box.

    Tea Bags? Tea Bags!!! They are only for when I am gone from home for a few days and can't carry the teapot, container of lovely tea leaves and my kettle.

    There are so many easy strainers, tea ballers, and filter sacks to put the tea leaves in! It takes like two seconds!!!

    Would someone bring my fainting couch, please? The vapors are upon me.

    Heh, I'm with you. Tea leaves are so much nicer. I don't bother filtering - they sink to the bottom of the mug and continue to infuse, and I can add more freshly boiled water.

    Also, for me, the perfect cup of tea has no milk. Just the pure taste of the tea. Occasionally a squeeze of lemon.
  • TelfordTelford Shipmate
    Put your tea bag into your mug and hold it into position with your spoon. Pour in your boiling water and let it stand for about one minute. Give it a couple of stirs and then remove the teabag. Add the desired amount of milk.
  • AthrawesAthrawes Shipmate
    Heat your pot. One good rounded spoon of tea per person ( I have caddy spoons, so bigger than a teaspoon). Pour in boiling water. Allow to sit for between 2 to 4 minutes. Pour and add milk if you like. I use a cosy in winter, but otherwise a lovely pot on its own suffices. I pour without straining for myself, but use a strainer for guests.
  • SipechSipech Shipmate
    This raises a question of etiquette. I'm not a tea drinker. How much equipment (strainer, teapot, cosy, etc) would you expect someone to have in their home?

    I normally just keep a box of Yorkshire Tea bags and I make it in a mug when I have guests round. Is that too uncouth for the tea afficionados?

    If I were to go to a non coffee drinking home, I'll take instant it that's all they've got.
  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    TEA (morning version)

    Fill kettle with fresh cold water; set to boil.
    Take out 3-mug brown pot.
    Fill ceramic tea ball half way with loose tea leaves.
    When kettle boils, fill pot and let sit.
    Fill kettle again and set to boil.
    When burbling, remove from hob.
    Empty now-scalding pot; add tea ball.
    Pour hot water into pot over tea ball & wrap in tea towel.
    Let steep 5 minutes while fetching the paper from wherever the &^$!! hell the paper carrier has flung the damn thing this time.
    Remove spiders, beetles, other wildlife from newspaper; remover tea ball from pot.
    Pour.
    Sniff.
    Sip.
    Come to grips with the fact that Another Dawn, All Unbidden, Has Broken, But All Will Be Well:
    You have Tea.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    edited August 7
    I will agree with anyone who points out that teabags basically contain floor sweepings and loose leaf tea is better - I just almost never have time for that, and I'm putting in milk anyway, so there's no point getting too precious about the tea.

    When just one of us is making a cup of tea, we don't use teabags at all. Instead of putting loose tea into a pot, we use a small infuser, just under half-filled with leaves, put into a largish cup or mug, and boiling water poured over it. Stir a couple of times then allow 5 minutes to brew. Stir again. Every bit as easy as a teabag and you get a good cup.

    Whether it's pot or infuser tea, we always drink it black.
  • cgichardcgichard Shipmate
    What a coincidence! I have just this morning placed an order for more of my favourite tea-leaves, Prince of Wales. Can no longer buy that variety in any local shop.

    My favourite tea-pot has the end of its spout broken, but still pours OK and retains the leaves by means of several small internal holes, so that a strainer is not necessary.
  • TelfordTelford Shipmate
    I like a nice cup of tea in the morning
    just to start the day you see.
    Then round about eleven, my idea of heaven
    is another cup of tea.
    I like another cup of tea with my dinner
    and other cup of tea with my tea
    Then about this time of night
    what goes down a treat, you're right
    It's another cup of tea
  • AthrawesAthrawes Shipmate
    edited August 7
    Sipech wrote: »
    This raises a question of etiquette. I'm not a tea drinker. How much equipment (strainer, teapot, cosy, etc) would you expect someone to have in their home?

    I normally just keep a box of Yorkshire Tea bags and I make it in a mug when I have guests round. Is that too uncouth for the tea afficionados?

    If I were to go to a non coffee drinking home, I'll take instant it that's all they've got.
    If someone offers me tea, I will accept gratefully! How it is made (as long as the water is boiling) doesn’t matter. Even if it’s not boiling, I will smile and drink it, grateful that they’ve made me tea 🥰 (For non tea drinkers, the water has to boil for the tea to brew properly).

    As to paraphernalia, I collect teapots, so there’s always a nice pot... the strainer, cosy etc is up to you. I just like the ritual of making tea, so have this stuff. It doesn’t matter.

    As a non- coffee drinker, I have a small amount of ground coffee beans, and a plunger for guests. Is that enough? I do at least know to avoid offering instant!
  • Sipech wrote: »
    If I were to go to a non coffee drinking home, I'll take instant it that's all they've got.

    In our house, where no-one really likes coffee much, the instant-for-guests sits in a cupboard and sets like concrete in the base of the jar. Bring your Kango hammer :)
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    At the risk of offending absolutely everyone, I have discovered tea granules. (Pause while people reach fainting couches, fans and sal volatile.) I found them useful while I needed to make tea in my bedroom, as I didn't then have to trek through the occupied part of the house with the rest of the paraphernalia, such as wet teabags. And I have continued with them for my morning cuppa. I wouldn't use them for guests.
  • SparrowSparrow Shipmate
    Telford wrote: »
    Put your tea bag into your mug and hold it into position with your spoon. Pour in your boiling water and let it stand for about one minute. Give it a couple of stirs and then remove the teabag. Add the desired amount of milk.

    That's my way too.

    Question though: does anybody else who does this, re-use teabags? I always used to throw them away after one use, but since lockdown I tried saving a bag and reusing. I found the second cup of tea was acceptable if you mashed it for a few minutes.



  • yohan300yohan300 Shipmate
    Whenever I go to see my aunt I always dread the mugs of tea she makes. My late father used to say they were dishwater and he didn't know how she managed it. As far as I can tell it's a combination of putting the milk in before the teabag and water so that it never brews in boiling hot water, and not rinsing the washing up properly so that there's a slight suspicion of an aftertaste of washing-up liquid.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Sparrow wrote: »
    Question though: does anybody else who does this, re-use teabags? I always used to throw them away after one use, but since lockdown I tried saving a bag and reusing. I found the second cup of tea was acceptable if you mashed it for a few minutes.

    Tea leaves go well in the compost, or even (when cool) as mulch for roses in tubs etc, I'd imagine that tea bags would also compost.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited August 7
    Tea bags I can't tell from any other tea and the paraphernalia of teapots and cosies and strainers and loose tea is more than my questionable executive function and appalling co-ordination can really bear. One or more of leaves (dry or spent), water, tea strainer or broken teapot is likely to end having to be cleaned or swept up off the floor. So I go the @Telford mug teabag kettle milk route, and most times get through with nothing broken and only minor spillage.
  • PriscillaPriscilla Shipmate
    When I was pregnant, 30 years ago, I found that I was sensitive to the tannin in tea, and started to drink it weak - not good when you are working for a bus company where everyone drinks it exceedingly strong!
    My urologist suggested I go caffeine free, so I now drink decaf, and as he makes the tea, Darllenwr does too, unless we’re out somewhere and I’m drinking something other than tea.
    We both drink it fairly weak, and as “weak” is dependant on the server, we have taken to asking for the teabag to be left out of the pot for us to sort out. We tend to get 2 teabags even when we ask for weak tea, so this way, Darllenwr has a stock of decaf teabags in his bag, and we both get a reasonable cuppa.
    Incidentally, for anyone within reasonable distance of Abergavenny, there is a tea merchant at the craft market - he has amazing selection of teas, an
  • Sipech wrote: »
    This raises a question of etiquette. I'm not a tea drinker. How much equipment (strainer, teapot, cosy, etc) would you expect someone to have in their home?

    A guest would, of course, accept or decline with grateful thanks whatever refreshment was on offer.

    That said, I think the norm in the UK is to expect people to have normal black teabags, and milk. If I didn't have any fresh milk, I'd express my regret to my guest, and rather hesitatingly offer up the fact that I might have some UHT, or some powdered creamer (those things taste significantly enough different from normal milk that they might affect a person's desire for tea. Personally, I drink tea with milk, but if what you have is UHT, I'll drink it black.) Similarly, if all I have is instant coffee (which when I lived on my own, it was, as I don't drink coffee), I'd apologize that all I had was instant (because people who like fresh coffee might prefer tea to instant coffee.)

    I was once surprised, many years ago when staying with a friend's recently ex-student older brother, that when I was offered (and gratefully accepted) tea with milk, what came was Earl Grey with milk. If I had known that the tea he had was Earl Grey, I'd have drunk it black - I wouldn't have milked it in a million years.

    Here in the US, I find myself offered tea, and when I accept, I discover the dreaded followup question: "I've got chamomile or raspberry", at which point I have to change my mind.
  • Penny S wrote: »
    At the risk of offending absolutely everyone, I have discovered tea granules.

    Oh, dear.

    I think I remember when that substance first came out (or at least, found its way to supermarket shelves). The brand I remember was Typhoo QT, although there may have been others. The tea itself is pretty wretched, but it's dominant flaw is the overpowering taste of reconstituted powdered milk, which is just vile.

    I bought a jar - I'd have been at school at the time, and whilst water and a small electric kettle was easy to obtain, we had nowhere to attempt to keep fresh milk, and it would have been nice to have tea available on demand.

    Unfortunately, it was horrible.

  • @Sipech, I'd forgive you as I do like Yorkshire Tea. I prefer the loose leaf but do have the tea bags. I prefer tea made in a pot but will drink it if made in a mug but it can taste a bit too tannin-y that way.

    I also like coffee and visitors get a decent cup of tea or coffee if they come here - which they don't any more what with the pandemic - although I do have people round to the garden at times.
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    Mine is PG Tips, and it comes without milk. What I add to it is up to me. It tastes of something on the spectrum of tea. I was surprised when I tried it. I would not offer it to guests. Well, not proper guests. The current one uses teabags. I have pots, one of which fits the infusers which came with rather nice mugs, and are as big as the inside of the mug, and make excellent loose leaf tea. But they are a bit messy for use in the bedroom.
  • PendragonPendragon Shipmate
    We have a range of loose leaf teas that we cycle through. They are all drunk black. (And some chai teabags as that's what the local Asian supermarket does.) I do drink teabag tea with milk if Mr Dragon is away, particularly in the morning, rather than make a single serving of our nice coffee.

    I remember being very excited upon starting one job to discover that they had a Klix vending machine for drinks, so the tea came with a real teabag in it and was actually drinkable, rather than the awful instant stuff I had had to studiously avoid in previous workplaces.
  • rhubarbrhubarb Shipmate
    I used to Enjoy Yorkshire tea until I discovered the Australian brand Madura and now I choose it above all others. It is lower in tannin and caffeine, doesn't seem to contain any unwanted dust and always gives me a refreshing cuppa. I think I should get shares in the company! (It is also cheaper than the imported brands. )
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Co-op 99 blend tea leaves. In the pot. Boiling water. Leave according to desired strength. Milk (if taken) in china mug. Pour tea through strainer.

    Or

    Good pinch of lapsang souchong in the bottom of a mug. Pour on boiling water. Allow to infuse. Drink. Remove any floating ‘twigs’ as required

    Or, when in China…

    well that’s a whole different ball game.
  • My normal tea is either a bag of English Breakfast or Ceylon in a mug with fresh boiled water, then milk. If I’m having a relaxing afternoon reading I will make a pot of tea with leaves, of which we have a huge variety as my husband regularly travels to China (or used to), and use the china tea set.
    I also drink matcha tea, which I whisk in a little bowl.
    BroJames wrote: »
    Or, when in China...

    well that’s a whole different ball game.
    My husband loved the tea ceremony he had at every business meeting. We have a tea pouring board so that when my husband wants Chinese tea he can pour the oolong over the little cups first, as well as the tea pets.
  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    My husband loved the tea ceremony he had at every business meeting. We have a tea pouring board so that when my husband wants Chinese tea he can pour the oolong over the little cups first, as well as the tea pets.

    Ooh. Please let us know more about these tea pets. I think I need one.
  • GalilitGalilit Shipmate
    edited August 9
    I have already PM'd Annie and looked up Etsy.com for Tea-pets
    I am captivated with the idea of their company for solitary drinking
  • la vie en rougela vie en rouge Circus Host, 8th Day Host
    First up: buy your tea in England. Tea blended for the French market contains too little Assam and isn't tannic enough. Add milk to French tea and you find yourself with a cup of hot water and milk. I have lately been pleased to discover that I can get PG Tips in the Sri Lankan corner shop.

    About microwaving the water - Just. Don't. Back in the bad old days, the French microwaved the water for tea all the time. It makes a scummy foam on the top and it's Not Nice. Tea has become fashionable in France these days, and electric kettles are much more widespread, but if there isn't one, heat the water in a pan on the hob.
  • PG Tips is a start. But only just.
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    edited August 9
    What's in your water that you would get a scummy foam? Unless you're microwaving the wayer with the tea in it, of course. (Mildly smug, as we're known for really good water here, one of our few advantages...)
  • Yes, that's interesting. Microwaving water works fine here, but this is Manchester where the water is as (put your best Paul Calf voice on) soft as shite.
  • Ours is super hard, but that isn't a problem for the microwave. It is, however, for anything like a hotpot which holds water all the time. But we don't get scum, we get rocky limestone pebbles and crusts. Which is also unappetizing, particularly when you don't recognize what it is. (Tends to be brownish and crunchy...)
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    I admire your collective restraint from pointing out that the only way to get proper tea is to steal it (as proper tea is theft).
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    Dafyd wrote: »
    I admire your collective restraint from pointing out that the only way to get proper tea is to steal it (as proper tea is theft).

    Boo. You should be ashamed.
  • edited August 10
    I mail order tea. It comes from a supplier which accesses tea from places and provides providence about it. I buy by the pound, usually 4-6 at a time. A pound of tea is ~200 or more cups. The most I've ever paid for tea is $400 for a pound, which was less than $2 per cup. Most tea is less than $40 a pound which is cheaper than most teabag. A very good non-blended tea with rich nonbitter flavour at a usually good price is Keemun. This is a type of tea from a Chinese locale. Apparently the queen of England likes it because it's lower caffeine with full black/red flavour. This is a tip.

    Black tea may also be red. Oolong is a class of tea by itself, as is white. Green teas vary a lot as well. Tea is tea. Other things are something else. See canned capitalism below.

    From the tenor and content of some posts on this thread you might consider drinking canned capitalism instead (Coca Cola). Teabag I suppose has its place. There is also real ale and beer made of corn calling itself the king of beers. We might compare alco pop also: just bring me powdered koolaid.

    Milk is an idea created to cut through the bitterness of shattered tea leaves which cannot help their bitterness. Lemon is a similar adulterant, designed to mask inferior crapola.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Dafyd wrote: »
    I admire your collective restraint from pointing out that the only way to get proper tea is to steal it (as proper tea is theft).

    I've been racking my brains for a really good riff on this, because the thread title really does sound like a feed line.
  • HugalHugal Shipmate
    edited August 10
    OK not a Tea drinker but a fully trained waiter here.
    Good quality tea. So long as you have quality it doesn’t matter if it is in a bag. Muslin bags are best. Many quality tea bags contain leaves and stalk. Stalk has a lot of flavour. The tips are the best though. Put tea in pot. Boil water. Water must be boiling to move the tea around which both creates the flavour and allows air into the tea. Steep for 3-5 mins depending on type. For a blend 3 mins should suffice. If using proper tea china put milk in first. Pour tea. Use a strainer if necessary. Charge customer £4:00.
  • HugalHugal Shipmate
    edited August 10
    Sorry to double post
    Unless you are serving a specific tea known as white tea then is served black or with milk. Coffee is served black, with hot milk or cream. There is no such thing as white tea or coffee
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