There is nothing like a cup of tea in the afternoon to get you past an afternoon slump or a crisis.
“Nine times out of ten you probably aren’t having a full-on nervous breakdown. You just need a cup of tea and a biscuit.” —British Writer Caitlin Moran
Begin by choosing a beautiful cup. It doesn’t have to be a dainty tea cup, it can be a tall sturdy mug but fully half the enjoyment of having a tea break comes from drinking it out of a cup that is beautiful to you. You can make your tea directly in the cup or make a pot of tea.
Boil the water. I cringe when people heat water in the microwave. It does not boil the same as water heated on the stove or in a kettle to the boiling point. Let the bubbles burst and pop with a loud churning noise before removing the water from the heat.
While the water is boiling, heat your tea pot or mug with hot water from the sink. Let it fill and warm up the ceramic. You don’t want to pour boiling water into a cold cup or pot, it would instantly begin chilling the water. The hotter the water the better it draws the flavor from the leaves.
Loose tea is the ideal, but you can make perfectly wonderful tea using a tea bag. The tea bag filters out all impurities and keeps the leaves out of your cup, but it also filters a bit of flavor as well. Use a teaspoon of leaves per cup. Empty the cup or pot of it’s hot water and add the tea. Instantly pour the hot boiling water over it. As the leaves float through the tea they will absorb moisture and settle in the bottom of the pot or cup so you don’t need to worry about stray leaves floating in your cup.
Cover the cup or teapot with it’s lid. The tea is now steeping. Don’t rush this. Since you prewarmed the pot or cup, you can let it steep for a full three minutes. I recommend a tea cozy. It will not only keep the container from letting the steam escape, it will keep the sides warmer as well. A pot of tea under a tea cozy will stay piping hot while you are enjoying your first cup.
After three minutes of steeping, your tea is ready.
During the time the tea was steeping, you will have assembled your flavorings so there is no waiting once the tea is ready. Sugar, lemon, milk or cream. These are the standard. In England they like milk, here we like cream or half and half. There is no requirement to add anything, some people like their tea plain. All these ingredients are optional and added “to taste”.
Sip slowly while it is piping hot. That is when the tea has it’s best flavor and is the most soothing. Tea tends to get bitter as it cools.
Most people like a sweet with their tea, so by all means indulge with a small tray of cookies or a slice of cake. Life has it’s moments of pure joy and a quiet cup of tea, sipped slowly is one of those moments you can have every day.