If there is one drink in the world that can just about fit any occasion, it has to be tea. Tea can be hot and comforting. It can be cool and refreshing. It can be sweet and spicy, or it can be dark and smoky. There are hundreds of different varieties and it is drunk in many ways all over the world.
Tea is life affirming and aromatic. It can be scented and luxurious. You can drink it on the hottest day and revel in it on the coldest. It can even help you detox and slim. Tea is amazing. It is said that the first cup of tea originated in the Far East when a traveller heated a cup of hot water. A leaf blew down from a tree and the rest is tea history. But before you stick a tea bag in a cup, here are a few thoughts on making that perfect cup of tea.
A pot of black tea
Indian or Chinese or a mixture of both, black tea has sustained the world for a long time. Known in some places as ‘gumboot tea’, it is typically a strong mixture of different blends. Assam tea and Irish Breakfast tend to be stronger. An English Breakfast Tea is similar but not quite so intense. Either way, these teas need a teapot.
Place a teaspoon of tea for each person and one for the pot and fill with freshly boiled water. The secret to good black tea is to let it brew for a few minutes.
Drink with milk to taste. It’s a good idea to ask how people like their tea! Some like it strong and other like it milky and even sweet. Chai is an Indian version that combines black tea with spices and has a nice bite to it. This is often drunk milky and sweet and is perfect with a slice of something sweet and sticky!
Green tea is known as a powerful antioxidant. People swear by its health-giving properties and religiously drink it morning, noon and night. Because it is refreshing and does not have milk or sugar added, it is a healthy option. Skinny tea is a variation of green tea that can act as an appetite suppressant and is perfect for a detox or fitness regime drink to keep you hydrated.
Unlike black tea, green tea does not like to be steeped. To make the perfect cup, just add water to the tea pot and use a bag or spoon of tea for each person. Leave for a minute and then serve. If you leave it longer, you’ll run the risk of it tasting slightly bitter. Green tea can be cooled and added to smoothies, or chilled and kept in the fridge as a refreshing drink on a hot day.
When it comes down to it, there are as many different types of teas as there are flowers and plants. Try a handful of refreshing mint, infused in a pot. It’s an amazing boost and great aid to digestion. There are all sorts of fruit and herbal teas to try out. Most are easy to make by simply adding water to a tea bag in a cup. Though aficionados swear that loose leaf tea is best!