Before I start this post, I just want to point out a couple of things:
1. I have never written a ‘how to…’ post before so this could all go horribly wrong – especially as I’m trying to take pictures and make tea singlehandedly
2. This is how I make my tea – I am aware that there are other ways to make it but this is how I like to do it…please don’t get cross if it’s not your preferred method of tea making 🙂
Right, that’s out the way so I’ll begin…
My first rule of successful tea-making is to always use fresh water in the kettle. If you are worried about wasting the water already in the kettle you can use it to water plants (if it is cold) or to fill the washing up bowl (if it is hot). Freshly drawn water makes a better brew. I’m sure it’s got something to do with molecules, but I’m an Arts student so please don’t ask me for the scientific explanation because I’ll just look blankly at you!
Whilst the water is boiling, warm the teapot. You can do this with a bit of the water from the kettle. Swill it round the pot so that it is nice and warm. This is also the time to select your tea. I have a teapot with a built-in strainer, bought from a charity shop a while ago, which has a plunger like a cafetière and is great for leaf tea. Otherwise, the traditional tea strainer can be used. Today, I’m being lazy and using a tea bag. The tea I am drinking today is one of Waitrose’s own brand Ceylon teas – a nice refreshing brew in the afternoon.
Pour the boiling water on your tea bag and leave to brew for around 3-4 minutes depending on taste. I don’t drink milk in my tea, so I tend to leave my tea bag in for around 2 mins, stir and remove. If you like your tea really strong, you can of course leave the teabag in the pot. Choose a pretty cup and saucer – the one I am using today is made by Booths, England and is the ‘Dragon’ pattern.
Obviously, you can add sugar, milk or a lemon slice at this point. Some people swear by milk in first and others say tea in first, but again that’s personal taste.
In my book, an afternoon tea needs a little yummy treat to accompany it. As I don’t have any cake, I’m raiding the biscuit barrel.
If you want to do a traditional tea and cake, you can buy trio sets, which are comprised of a cup and saucer and a side plate for your cake. As I’m just going for a biscuit, I’ve just wedged it on the side of the saucer (let’s face it, it’s not going to sit there for long).
The next part is quite controversial…I am a dunker and proud of it! Obviously, don’t dunk for too long otherwise you get crumbly bits in your tea, which is not fun. Also, some biscuits do not dunk well so this can be trial and error (Garibaldi biscuits tend to disintegrate in nano seconds, whereas a digestive has a good dunking consistency).
Sit down and enjoy. Et voila – the perfect afternoon cuppa!