This section is from the book "Elements Of The Theory And Practice Of Cookery", by Mary E. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Elements Of The Theory And Practice Of Cookery; A Textbook Of Domestic Science For Use In Schools.
Allow from one to three teaspoonfuls of tea to two cupfuls of water, using less of close-rolled than of coarse, loose teas. When the water boils, scald the pot, put in the tea, and pour in the boiling water, and let it stand covered from three to five minutes. Unless all the tea is to be poured immediately, a tea-ball or other device should be used so that leaves can be removed from the infusion.1 Serve with sugar, and milk or cream, or with sugar and thin slices of lemon. For weakening it, use water as nearly as possible boiling hot.
1 Color does not show the strength of an infusion, the finest teas giving a light color even after long steeping; it is tannin that makes tea dark.
Iced tea, made weak, is a wholesome summer drink. Serve it strained, with lemon and powdered sugar.
Tea consists of the dried leaves of an evergreen shrub native to China. China, Japan, and India are the chief tea-growing countries. A little tea is now raised in the United States. Tea-plants naturally grow tall, but in a tea-garden they are trimmed to keep them bushy. Only buds and young leaves are picked. The leaves tend to ferment. In making green tea, fermentation is prevented by heating the freshly picked leaves. They are then rolled, "fired" (that is, dried by artificial heat), and graded by sifting. For black tea, the leaves are wilted, rolled, and allowed to ferment before they are fired. Fermentation darkens the tea and lessens the amount of tannin.
Teas are classed according to the country they come from, the method of curing, and the size and quality of the leaf.
In China and Japan old-time methods are employed, involving much handling of the tea. In India, the use of machinery makes the process cleanly. "Japan" tea is green, India and Ceylon teas black and strong-flavored. Oolong is less fermented than other black teas. "English Breakfast tea" is a trade name for a blend (mixture) of black teas. Pekoe is a name applied to leaves from the young shoot, Souchong to the next larger leaves. Flowery Pekoe and Orange Pekoe are fine grades of India teas. Hyson indicates that the tea was picked in the spring.