Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Perfect Cup of Tea

Being British, I'm very particular about what passes for a good cup of tea. It's not just the brand of tea or the ongoing argument over tea bags vs. loose leaf, the teapot design is very important.

An original Brown Betty teapot is hard to come by these days so if you have one, hold onto it. It's considered by many to be the best teapot design ever created. It may be the special red clay that is used for making the pot that causes the superior tea, or it could be the unique design of the pot itself. It's said that "the design allows the tea leaves more freedom to swirl through the water as it is poured into the pot and releases more flavor with less bitterness."

The original teapots came from a red clay that was discovered in the Stoke-on-Trent area of Britain in 1695. This special clay seemed to retain heat better and so found use as the material for the perfect teapot as early as the seventeenth century. The shape became more rounded as time passed and eventually found favor at the court of Queen Victoria.

Brown Betty Teapot
How to make a good cup of tea!

If you have a Brown Betty never put it in the microwave or on top of the stove. Always wash it by hand.
To Brew Tea:
1. Run warm water in the pot to warm it and pour it out.
2. Add one teaspoon of tea per cup - and one for the pot (or 1 teabag per person and 1 for the pot) - it depends on personal taste.
3. Put fresh cold water into the kettle and heat it just to the boil. Pour water into the teapot on top of the tea!
4. Steep for three minutes and then pour. If you are using loose leaf tea, remember the tea strainer.

Drinking tea is not for everyone. It's an acquired taste but if you hate it, it could be that you've not found the kind you like. My favorite tea is P.G. Tips. I don't care for Yorkshire Gold - the box is pretty but the tea is just too strong. Liptons is ghastly ... so persevere! Earl Grey and Lady Grey are also yummy if you can't take the traditional English brands.

One of my all-time favorite TV commercials for tea is this one. Hope you enjoy it!  Remember to turn up the sound!


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  2. Thanks. I just discovered Vanilla tea and it's the only one that I can drink without adding scoops of sugar.

  3. Who makes it? I love vanilla flavored stuff ... I'd like to try it. Thanks for stopping by Dru Ann!

  4. Vanilla tea is yummy and so is peach tea! There is a wonderful tea store in Fox Hills Mall off the 90 freeway.

  5. Hey, Hannah,

    Great post... Thanks to Liz for directing me here! I was going to do a short history of the Brown Betty, and now I don't have to... I'll just direct folks here!

    I like just plain black tea best, but for Christmas this year I got a Caramel Orange Rooibos... it's really good!

  6. Hi Victoria - I am back from my North Carolina travels at last ... finally have the Internet (I didn't take my laptop this time). I haven't tried Caramel Orange Rooibos - it sounds DELICIOUS!

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