How to brew a pot of tea that can stand up to any pot of coffee
It's possible! Bonus: it doesn't taste like something you squeezed out of a wet tire, and the caffeine arc is much more pleasurable. It's slower and longer so you don't get jittery and then sleepy, but instead feel empowered and majestic.
- •Get yourself some real tea.Some good/decent ones to look for: Yorkshire Gold, PG Tips, Tetley, Barry's. Lancashire Tea is a favorite of mine, but isn't available in the US so I order it on amazon. Twinings, any earl grey, stash, tazo, etc are not the same. Yes it's tea, but if you're talking about a morning beverage, there are to tea as instant coffee is to coffee. Not trying to be a snob, but you'll understand later.
- •Get your proportions right.General thumb says 1 tsp / teabag per cup, plus one for the pot. This is really strong and well worth it, but when starting off, I omitted the one for the pot. I also mix brands. I found Lancashire to be a little too mild and Yorkshire to be a little too strong, so I use 2 of each in my little 3 cup pot and the result is BOMB. DIGGITY.
- •Boil fresh, cold waterYour water will have an effect on the taste of your tea, so don't be careless, but there's no reason to go over the top unless you're brewing something really delicate and precise and expensive, which is not what we're doing here. The teas mentioned above are fine with regular tap water, just make sure it hasn't been sitting in your kettle all night (or worse) and use the cold tap (tends to taste better than water from the warm tap.)
- •Warming the pot is a nice touch, especially if your pot is smallThis reduces the amount the water's temperature will decrease while your tea is steeping. Fill your pot with warm water while waiting for the water to boil. However, washing it in warm water right before brewing also does the trick and serves double duty. On this note, most people recommend bringing the pot to the kettle instead of the other way around to make sure your water is really boiling when it hits the leaves. Not necessary if you're using a cordless electric kettle.
- •Pour the water over, PUT THE LID ON, and let the steeping begin!Brewing time varies by brand and by taste. I let mine sit for as long as I can stand/feel like. Usually about 7-15 mins. I have never been precise about it. I tend to just feed the cats and fix my cereal and then take the bags out.
- •Remove the bags.V important. The brands I mentioned above don't have strings which can be a bit vexing. Some people have figured out how to do this with a spoon and somehow not drip tea everywhere. They are above me. I use chopsticks.
- •Showtime!Try adding a splash of milk, but not too much. I like it the color of tan leather. If its opacity is anything less than that of coffee, you've messed up somewhere, likely not using the right kind, enough of it, steeping it long enough, or some combination thereof. You know that translucent, watery look that earl grey has when you put milk in it? You don't want that.
- •A note on pouring milk or tea first.I find this has very little effect on taste unless you're using some sort of fancy nonhomogenized milk in which case you run the risk of breaking the milk if you add it to the cup second as the temperature shift is more drastic than if the piping hot tea is added to the milk. Some people also prefer this method because they know exactly how much milk they want. They are also known as wizards.