To extract flavor by allowing the leaves to remain for a few minutes, in water which has been poured on at the boiling temperature, and to avoid the extraction of tannin by making the period of steeping short. Tea must never be boiled.
An earthen pot, measuring cup, teaspoon, strainer. Sometimes a tea ball or piece of cheesecloth.
One teaspoonful of tea to about 1 cup of water, the amount depending upon the kind of tea.
Measure the water and bring it to the boiling point. Heat the tea slightly in the pot, pour on the water rapidly, allow to stand three to five minutes, strain into a heated pot for serving. The length of the steeping depends also upon the kind of tea. If there is an astringent flavor, the tea has stood too long.
The following method was recommended by an expert in India teas. Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan, throw in the tea leaves, lift the saucepan instantly to stop the boiling, steep for 3 or 4 minutes, strain off and keep hot. This expert claimed that by actually having the tea leaves at the boiling temperature for an instant the flavor is improved. Serve with cream or milk, or sliced lemon and sugar.
Where tea is to be served in very large quantities, this last method is very convenient. The water can be brought to the boil in a large kettle, and the tea thrown in, but care must be exercised to see that the steeping does not last too long. The tea, once decanted, can be kept hot for several hours, without losing flavor. Or again, a small amount of extra strong tea may be prepared, to be diluted with boiling water as it is served. The tea ball, or the plan of tying the tea in small pieces of cheesecloth, is convenient for serving at an afternoon tea.