This section is from the book "Mrs. Allen's Cook Book", by Mrs. Ida C. Bailey Allen. See also: The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat.
Good tea can be made only in a pot of china, silver or earthenware, as tea contains a decided acid and bitter substance, which is liable to combine with the metal of other receptacles, producing an unpleasant flavor and an unwholesome beverage. The problem in making tea is to bring out the stimulating principle therein, as well as the fragrant oil, and to avoid the development of the tannic acid. This can only be done by pouring boiling water over the tea, as water which is merely simmering does not develop the flavor. Tea should not stand on the leaves more than five minutes.
The easiest way to make tea in a pot is to measure the tea into a tea ball, which may be hung to the nozzle of the tea pot by the chain to which the ball is attached. At the end of five minutes the ball may be quickly lifted from the infusion and the leaves easily emptied into the garbage can, for nothing stains a white porcelain sink more quickly than tea and tea leaves. This tea-ball method is a real short cut, for it saves the washing of a strainer and a second pot into which the infusion must be strained, if the water is poured directly on the loose tea leaves. Needless to say the tea pot must be thoroughly washed and scalded. Tea should never be boiled.
The proportion of tea for each cup varies with the brand, but half a teaspoonful of good tea should be ample.
6 teaspoonfuls tea
1/2 teaspoonful whole cloves
I sliced lemon
1/4 cupful syrup stock or sugar to taste (if desired) I quart boiling water
Put the tea in a crock or pitcher, pour over the boiling water and let stand, covered, five minutes in a warm place. Then strain it on to the cloves, lemon and sweetening, stir and let cool. Serve with a thin slice of lemon to each glass. Iced tea should be made stronger than ordinary tea, to allow for the ice dilution.
1 teaspoonful tea Candied or Maraschino cherries Lime drops
Sliced lemon Whole cloves Boiling water
Measure the tea into the tea ball, put the cup with the desired flavoring (two cherries to a cupful), three cloves, one lime drop, or one slice of lemon, and pour over boiling water, allowing the ball to remain in until the tea is of the desired strength. Two cupfuls of tea may be made at a time without refilling the ball.