A dear friend of mine sent me some loose tea this weekend from Rostov’s Coffee and Tea in Richmond, Virginia which has all these amazing flavors like blackberry & sage, peach & ginger, peony and assam just to name a few. It was exactly the pick me up that I needed. I find that drinking a rich, well brewed cup of tea helps curb my cravings for unhealthy food. It also allows me to go through the action of preparing and drinking something that is very low in calories yet extremely satisfying; sometimes just the act of preparing food can be comforting. If your reading this and thinking of tea as watered down or bitter then keep reading because it probably means you haven’t been brewing it properly. But don’t worry, we can fix that!
I love to make tea…all types of tea. My British mother taught me the value of a perfect cup of tea at an early age. Whenever we visit my family in England they always offer you a cup of tea. It could be 9pm and you’d still walk in to a warm mug of black tea thrust into your hands. I love it. I also love to indulge in tea in the classic British style with milk and sugar. But, since I don’t eat sugar or drink milk anymore I’ve had to make some adjustments. My favorite new method is use a pinch of stevia and a splash of half ‘n half. But, if I’m on the go and I don’t have any stevia packets available I’ll ask the barista for two pumps of sugar-free vanilla syrup in my hot water. The liquid sugar free syrup used in coffee stores is usually based on liquid sucralose which has zero carbs (unlike the powdered sweeteners typically found in coffee shops in the blue, pink and yellow packets). Just a little tip for those of us on the go. Now when you’re on the go tea bags are easy to use and you’ll get a decent cuppa. But, when I’m at home, I love to brew loose tea. You get so much more flavor and you can control how much tea you use which affects the flavor and strength of your tea. Unfortunately, many people either don’t know how to brew loose tea or they assume that it’s difficult or time consuming. Not so my friends! It can be quick and easy and it’s environmentally friendly since you don’t need to use and throw away a tea bag. All you need is a kettle, a mug (or teapot), an infuser and some loose tea.
If you’ve never used an infuser before it’s kind if like a metal tea bag that can be reused. You put about teaspoon of loose tea into the infuser for every cup of liquid that you plan on brewing. So if you’re only making one cup you could put your infuser in your mug or if you’re making multiple cups you can put it into your teapot. Infuser come is different shapes and sizes. There are ones that look like tongs like the one I have pictured below. Then, there are some that look like little thimbles. Most of them have a chain or handle so that it’s easy to pull the infuser out when the tea is done steeping.
A few more top tips before we get to the details instructions, is to let the water cool for a few minutes after you boil it but before you pour it into your mug or teapot. Water that’s too hot can burn the tea which results in a bitter flavor. Lastly, shake it up in terms of flavor. Try adding lemon to your tea. Also, I find that mixing everything with a cinnamon stick lends the perfect hint of cinnamon to any cuppa but that’s just me. Then just sit back and enjoy.
- Your favorite loose tea
- Hot water
- Milk (optional)
- Sweetener (optional)
- Cinnamon stick (optional)
- Boil water in a your kettle
- As soon as water hits a rolling boil take it off the burner and allow it to cool
- While the water is boiling measure out 1 teaspoon of your favorite loose tea per cup of water
- Put the tea into an infuser and place the infuser in your cup or teapot
- Pour the hot water into your teacup or teapot and allow the tea to steep for about 3 minutes (more or less depending on how strong you like your tea)
- Remove the infuser. You can strain your tea if sediment has drifted out and this sort of thing bothers you.
- Add your favorite milk or sweetener, stir with a spoon or cinnamon stick and enjoy!