Friday, February 1, 2013

How to Brew the Perfect Pot of Tea and Other Matters!

In my tea mug today is Blue Angel described on the Secret Garden Tea Co. site in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada as "a delightfully sweet taste of caramel, flavoured with apples, hibiscus, and cornflower petals".  I think the cornflower petals were added for appearance, but the debate will continue as to whether they are an edible flower.  I pulled out my edible flowers book from Canada called Herbs & Edible Flowers by Lois Hole and it does have bachelor's buttons under "For the Adventurous" in the back of her book.  She also has listed (Knapweed, Chicory) under the title bachelor's buttons.  She does have the correct botanical name for bachelor's buttons and that's what you want to concentrate on.  Knapweed is from the same genus, but chicory isn't.  Chicory is definitely an edible flower in several of my books.  Chicory grows along roadsides here and I wouldn't be eating those flowers as I said in my post on edible flowers.  If you grow them yourself or know someone who does, it is perfectly OK to eat chicory flowers.  BTW, Lois puts bee balm in for the adventurous list!  You have to do research!  Especially when using books from other countries!  Please do your homework when thinking of eating a flower you aren't familiar with.  Don't be adventurous!  Check several sources before you eat anything.  Here is what's inside the bag.  You can smell the caramel, delish!
So how do you brew the perfect pot of tea.  Well, I have a few books that I'm reading and one of my favorites is from the old Victoria Magazine called The Charms of Tea.

Brew the Perfect Pot of Tea

A good pot of tea requires three items:  pure water (the softer, the better), boiling water and loose tea (although tea bags, in a pinch are OK.)

Begin with cold water that is placed to boil in a metal kettle.  Cold, running water is fully oxygenated and better for tea.

If your tap water is very hard or poor tasting, use bottled water.

Fill a porcelain teapot with hot tap water and let it sit to warm up while the kettle boils.

Just before the water reaches the boil, empty the teapot, dry it and add the tea.

The perfect measurement for how much tea is one heaping teaspoon of tea for each cup and one more for the pot.  If possible, place it in a tea ball or bag for easily removal.

If you're going to be using teabags, use one for each serving and one more for the pot.

Set the teapot next to the stove and the moment the water boils, pour it over the tea.

It is important that the water be boiling as fully as possible.

Equally important is that the water not boil too long.  Don't let it overboil, not only will you lose much of it to steam, but the water will lose oxygen and the tea will not taste good.

Let the tea steep for three to five minutes.

Stir it once during steeping to distribute the essential oils.

When I'm just making a cup or mug for myself, I just brew it one to three minutes.  Sometimes I take a bit of milk particularly when I'm drinking chai.  We also use our tea balls several times to get as much flavor from the tea as possible.  The month is just starting so I'm going to pace myself, but hopefully I'll teach you something new and you will teach me as well.  Got to do some errands this afternoon.  Not looking forward to getting out in the elements!  Hope you are staying warm with a cup of tea!  Talk to you later.


Herbaholic said...

Cornflowers are most certainly edible, a few UK blends contain them. The French call them Bleuets and use them as a garnish and in tisanes :)

Barbara said...

Tea drug of choice for getting through the winter!! Favorites are black tea for breakfast, rooibos tea for lunch and herbal tea, especially with lemon verbena in it, the rest of the afternoon.

Bernideen said...

Great directions and I would love to see Nancy and Suzanne's operation....pictured at right!

lemonverbenalady said...

Thanks, HS. Sometimes we in the colonies are lagging behind!

Love your tea choices, but particularly your afternoon herbal blend, Barbara! I wonder why?

You would love Nancy's tearoom and Susanna's herb shop! They are both divine!

Thanks ladies for your knowledge and for stopping by for a visit. xxoo LVL

Comfrey Cottages said...

That Blue Angel tea sounds interesting :)Yup, cornflowers are edible hon. big hugs xxx

lemonverbenalady said...

The caramel smell is intoxicating, Leslie! Thanks for setting the record straight about cornflowers! xxoo LVL