This section is from the book "The American Woman's Cook Book", by Ruth Berolzheimer. Also available from Amazon: The Domestic Arts Edition of the American Woman's Cook Book.
Glass or earthenware pots are by all means to be preferred in making tea; metal is to be avoided if the best flavor is desired. If two pots are not available, some arrangement by which the tea leaves can be removed from the pot is necessary. Some pots come equipped with strainers.
Tea May Be Put in a Tea-Ball or a muslin bag and taken out when sufficiently steeped. These containers should be not more than half full, to-allow the tea leaves room to swell and to give off the amount of flavor of which they are capable.
Making Tea in a Cup with the aid of a tea-ball or strainer is not to be encouraged, as the tea does not steep long enough and the flavor and aroma are dissipated.
The Quantity of Dry Tea to Use in proportion to water is not fixed; it depends on the grade of tea and the strength desired. An old rule reads, "a teaspoon of tea to a cup," and it is an excellent one to use when trying a new tea; but most people will find that it is not necessary to use as much as this. The housewife must experiment with her particular kind, and suit it to the tastes of the individuals drinking it.
The Method of Making is not so variable. Experts insist that there is only one way. Freshly boiling water is necessary, otherwise the tea is flat and insipid. Pour the boiling water on the required amount of leaves in an earthen or glass pot. If an infusion is desired with a maximum of aroma and a minimum of tannin or astringent flavor, allow it to brew for three minutes, then remove the tea container or pour off the liquor into another warm pot and serve at once. More "body" is given by longer brewing, due to extraction of more tannin. Five minutes should be sufficient time.