This excerpt of The Little Book of Slow – a guide to slowing down, living more mindfully and savouring the simple joys of life – teaches you to make the perfect pot of tea.
Requirements for making the perfect pot of tea may differ slightly depending on your favoured flavour, but as a general rule a few basics go a long way.
1. For best results, fill your kettle or saucepan with water fresh from the cold tap.
2. It doesn’t hurt to pre-warm your teapot with a bit of hot water. With the lid on, give it a good swirl to ensure the heat is evenly spread, then throw the water away.
3. Add your tea of choice to the empty teapot. The saying ‘one teaspoon for each person and one for the pot’ is the perfect guide.
4. Pour the boiling water over the tea, and allow to sit for about four minutes. (For green tea, make sure the water is slightly off the boil, otherwise the result may be tart.)
5. These days most teapots have built-in strainers; if yours doesn’t, use a handheld tea strainer to separate the leaves from the brew as you pour.
Some more suggestions …
• Ultimately, it’s up to you how you brew your tea, but once you’ve experienced proper leaf tea I doubt you’ll ever go back to tea bags.
• When you’re out with friends at a cafe, take the opportunity to explore the many varieties of tea available and discover your own favourite.
• Different kinds of tea may assist with different health problems, be it insomnia or even weight issues, so do a little research if this interests you. (Certain teas might also need to be avoided.)
• Find out how to get the best flavour and health benefits from your favourite tea: what temperature should the water be? How long should you leave it brewing? How many spoonfuls in the pot?
• Buy yourself a teapot you like – depending on your budget, have a look in kitchen specialist stores or op shops. Vintage teapots have loads of charm – and look out for fun accoutrements, such as quirky knitted tea-cosies, silver tea strainers, a pretty mug or cup and saucer …
• Cultivate the habit by taking a teapot and a packet of leaf tea to work. This will save you money and allow you to bond with colleagues by sharing both your brew and enthusiasm with them.
• Every now and then, try a different flavour. At the very least it will likely prove a talking point in the office.
• Treat yourself or loved ones to a high tea at a swanky hotel for a birthday or Mother’s Day – but make sure you book in advance, as these are always popular. (See The Little Book of Slow for Sally Wise’s suggestions on hosting your own high tea.)
Read more in The Little Book of Slow >"How to make the perfect pot of tea: The Little Book of Slow"