Making the necessary preparations to brew the perfect pot of tea is all part of the ceremony of serving afternoon tea.
First start by heating your tea pot with hot water before adding the tea leaves to ensure that the tea brews at a constant temperature. Also use a tea cozy or several towels to cover the teapot while it is steeping to keep any cold drafts from cooling the tea down.
Porcelain tea cups hold about 6 ounces of tea, versus the average mug which holds anywhere from 8 to 12 ounces. An eight ounce cup of tea needs one teaspoon of tea leaves. So if you’re using fine bone china teacups to serve your tea in, measure out the water using the tea cup and add a little under a teaspoon of tea leaves per cup.
Black and herbal teas should be brewed just under the boiling point (212° F), at around 200° F, resting about 10 seconds off the burner after coming to a boil. For green tea, wait for about 30 seconds after the water reaches the boiling point before adding it to the tea leaves, reducing the temperature to 185° F.
Black and herbal teas should be brewed for 4 minutes, green tea for 3 minutes. Strain all of the leaves out of the pot into a separate container and then pour it back into the pot before serving so that the tea does not become over steeped.
Black tea can be served with milk and sugar, but both green tea and herbal teas should be served without milk to prevent curdling.
Keep the teapot covered with a tea cozy while you’re drinking the tea to keep it warm. Enjoy!