Two things are necessary to insure good tea: first, that the water should be at the boiling-point when poured on the leaves, water simply hot not answering the purpose at all; and, second, that it should be served freshly made. Tea should never be boiled. So particular are the English to preserve its first aroma, that it is sometimes made on the table two or three times during a meal. In France, little silver canisters of tea are placed on the table, where it is invariably made. One tea-spoonful of the leaves is a fair portion for each person. Tea is better made in an earthen tea-pot, which tea connoisseurs are particular to have. They also drink the beverage without milk, and with loaf-sugar merely.
Water at the first boiling-point is generally considered better for tea or coffee, and, in fact, any kind of cooking which requires boiling water.
The best coffee is made by mixing two-thirds Java and one-third Mocha. The Java gives strength, the Mocha flavor and aroma.
Coffee should be evenly and carefully roasted. Much depends upon this. If even a few of the berries are burned, the coffee will taste burned and bitter, instead of being fine-flavored and aromatic. To have the perfection of coffee, it should be fresh - roasted each day. Few, however, will take that trouble. As soon as it is roasted, and while still hot, stir into it one or two eggs, together with their shells (about one egg to a pint of roasted coffee-beans). This will help to preserve the coffee, as well as to make it clear. Put it away in a close - covered tin-case, and grind it only just before using.
Allow two heaping table-spoonfuls of ground coffee to 2 pint of water. Let the water be boiling when it is poured on the coffee. Cover it as tightly as possible, and boil it one minute; then let it remain a few moments at the side of the range to settle.
Delmonico allows one and a half pounds of coffee to one gallon of water. The coffee-pot, with a double base, is placed on the range in a vessel of hot water (bain-marie). The boiling water is poured over the coffee, which is contained in a felt strainer in the coffee-pot. It is not boiled.
Of course, much depends upon the care in preparing the coffee to insure a delicious beverage; but equally as much depends upon serving with it good thick cream. Milk, or even boiled milk, is not to be compared with cream. In cities, a gill, at least, might be purchased each morning for coffee, or a few table-spoonfuls might be saved from the evening's milk for at least one cup. Fill the cup two-thirds full, then, with hot, clear coffee, pour in one or two table-spoonfuls of cream, and use loaf-sugar.
Professor Blot, in his lectures, was very emphatic as to the impropriety of boiling coffee. He said by this means the aroma and flavor were carried into the attic, and a bitter decoction was left to be drunk. He preferred decidedly the coffee made in the French filter coffee-pot.
I have experimented upon coffee, and prefer it boiled for one minute in the ordinary coffee-pot. That made in the French filter is also most excellent. It is not boiled, and requires a greater proportion of coffee. But to be explicit, put the coffee in the filter. At the first boil of the water, pour one or two coffee-cupfuls of it on the coffee. Put back the water on the fire. When boiling again, pour on as much more, and repeat the process until the desired quantity is made.