Monday, February 2, 2009


It seems odd to write a blog post about making something as simple as a good cup of tea, but we got compliments about our tea over the weekend.

I would like to say that it was made from the finest leaves "SPECIAL FINEST TIPPY GOLDEN FLOWERY ORANGE PEKOE (SFTGFOP)". But oh no, not in our house.

The tea itself was the standard $3.75/lb generic tea from our local Indian supermarket. Nothing special there. It is however loose tea and not the nasty stuff in bags. So how to keep the tea leaves out of the cup? One way is to use a regular strainer, but the other is to use something like this..

and the traditional brown betty teapot

So having assembled the hardware, time for the process.

Use cold tapwater - I always let it run for a bit before putting it in the electric kettle. What's an electric kettle? One of these kinds of things. It is certainly preferable to using the microwave.

Heat plenty of water in the kettle until nearly boiling. Pour some of the hot water into the pot to warm it. Bring the rest of the water to the boil. I do allow mine to boil - some say it makes the tea taste flat, I prefer the taste when the water has been poured onto the leaves when it is at a full boil.

Into the strainer device put 1 heaping tsp of loose tea per person + 1 extra (1 for the pot). If you are just doing 1 cup, then use a single heaping tsp + a little bit.

Empty the warming water out of the teapot and put the strainer in, resting on the edges of the top opening. The body of the strainer is then dangling inside. Pour the water through the leaves in the strainer into the pot. Make sure that the water comes almost to the top - you want the body of the strainer in full contact with the water. Cover the pot and let the tea brew (steep) for about 3 minutes.

Remove the strainer, put the lid onto the pot and serve.

You can make a single mug using the same device/method. Just use less tea and dangle the strainer into the mug. Ideally the mug should be deep enough for the strainer, so it won't work with your best Spode tea set.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Chris,

First of alllet me say it was a pleasure meeting you last weekend.

Thank you for taking the time to write this up. I was a little hesitant to ask for advice on something one might think is as simple as boiling water.

I am now officially on the hunt for a Brown Betty!

Again it was nice meeting you... and thanks.

Chris Manson