Have you noticed that some people make a cup of tea by simply dunking a teabag in a mug, pouring on hot water, adding a little milk and removing the teabag without much attention to detail whatsoever? Yes, it is convenient when making tea for one but you really can’t beat a proper cup of tea that is made with a little love and ceremony.
Mug or Teapot
It’s essential to make tea in a teapot. Not only does the tea taste nicer but you can add what the Irish call ‘hot drop’ to the cups when the level of tea has diminished at least half way down the cups. Sometimes the tea in the cup is cooling a little too much if you’re chatting or eating cake and it just needs a ‘hot drop’ of tea to get it to the perfect temperature again. A ‘hot drop’ can mean refilling it almost to the top but the person you are pouring for will be watching and will indicate when enough is enough.
What kind of Teapot?
Well, the number one rule is that the teapot must not drip. It must be pleasing to the eye with a nice pattern and shape. It should be big enough to pour tea for everyone present in one go. Glass and metal teapots can cause the tea to drop temperature more quickly than other materials. Ceramic has a low transference of heat and ceramic teapots tend to have thicker walls so they maintain the heat for longer periods. Therefore, they may be the best choice.
Importance of Scalding
‘Scald’ the teapot first by pouring in an inch of boiling water, letting it sit for a minute and swishing it around before pouring it out. This warms the teapot and helps to ensure the tea remains hot for longer. You can then proceed with making the tea.
Teabags or Tea Leaves?
It really is down to personal preference. Some prefer the convenience of teabags; others state that tea made with loose leaves has a far superior taste. Allow one teabag or one heaped teaspoon of loose tea per person and put into a scalded teapot. Add water that has just gone off the boil (don’t over boil the water or boil it repeatedly) and leave for approximately three minutes before pouring.
Milk First or Last?
Should you pour milk into the cup first? Some people believe there are cultural differences at play here as milk was originally poured in first as hot tea could cause an inferior china cup to crack. By putting milk in last, a hostess was proving her china cups were of good quality and up to the challenge.
Personally, I like to add milk first so it mixes through the tea without needing to be stirred. George Orwell was a firm advocate of pouring the tea first arguing that it was only possible to regulate the amount of milk exactly by stirring the tea as the milk is poured in. Which do you prefer?
How to keep Tea Hot
If you would like to pour everyone a second cup of tea, the teapot needs to be kept warm. If you’re using teabags, you might like to remove them from the teapot to prevent the tea become too ‘stewed’ or strong. Just pop tea cosy on the teapot and it will keep it hot while you’re enjoying your first cup.
What to serve with a Cup of Tea?
In Ireland, being offered a cup of tea means that you will receive something tasty (and often home baked) to accompany it. It might be a slice of Victoria sponge, a square of biscuit cake, a scone with homemade jam or at the very least, a biscuit. Having a cup of tea isn’t just a hot drink; it’s an opportunity to have a chat with family and friends.
Our Nicholas Mosse teapots come in one shape and various patterns. Dishwasher safe, stylish, perfect in a contemporary or classic setting, they are ideal for making you and your guests a perfect cup of tea.