In buying tea, it is best to get it by the box, of an importer, that you may be sure of having it fresh, and unmixed with any that is old and of inferior quality. The box should be kept in a very dry place. If green tea is good, it will look green in the cup when poured out. Black tea should be dark coloured and have a fragrant flowery smell. The best pots for making tea are those of china. Metal and Wedgwood tea-pots by frequent use will often communicate a disagreeable taste to the tea. This disadvan-tage may be remedied in Wedgwood ware, by occasionally boiling the tea-pots in a vessel of hot water.
In preparing to make tea, let the pot be twice scalded from the tea-kettle, which must be boiling hard at the moment the water is poured on the tea; otherwise it will be weak and insipid, even when a large quantity is put in. The best way is to have a chafing dish, with a kettle always boiling on it, in the room where the tea is made. It is a good rule to allow two heaping tea-spoonfuls of tea to a large cup-full of water, or two tea-spoonfuls for each grown person that is to drink tea, and one spoonful extra. The pot being twice scalded, put in the tea, and pour on the water about ten minutes before you want to fill the cups, that it may have time to draw or infuse. Have hot water in another pot, to weaken the cups of those that like it so. That the second course of cups may be as strong as the first, put some tea into a cup just before you sit down to table, pour on it a very little boiling water, (just enough to cover it,) set a saucer over it to keep in the steam, and let it infuse till you have filled all the first cups; then add it to that already in the tea-pot, and pour in a little boiling water from the kettle. Except that it is less convenient for a large family, a kettle on a chafing dish is better than an urn, as the water may be kept longer boiling.
In making black tea, use a larger quantity than of green, as it is of a much weaker nature. The best black teas in general use are pekoe and pouchong; the best green teas are imperial, young hyson, and gunpowder.