Subject: The perfect cup of tea From: Captain Infinity Newsgroups: rec.food.drink.tea,alt.fan.tom-servo,alt.support.ocd Message-ID: <email@example.com> Some of you may remember my post to the coffee groups a while back about my favorite way to make coffee. Well, I have since given up drinking coffee in favor of tea, which is a far more soothing beverage. I have been experimenting daily over the last several months and have finally come across a method for making the perfect cup of tea, which I would like to share with you. First, you must realize that tea is more delicate than coffee, and requires a more structured method of preparation. It is very easy to prepare tea incorrectly, resulting in a bitter drink. Take your time. Remember some hard and fast rules: 1) do not boil the water 2) add water to the tea, not tea to the water 3) monitor the sleeping time carefully Here's how I prepare my tea: First, I heat a cupful of water in the microwave. I use my "Happy Birthday" cup because it holds a bit more water than the cup I use to drink the tea. The tea itself will absorb this excess water. I use bottled water because of the impurities in my local tap water. I heat the cup of water for exactly 1 minute and 45 seconds. Longer than this and the water will boil, which should be avoided. I turn the handle of the "Happy Birthday" cup away from me when I put it in the microwave because at the end of 1:45 the handle will be facing towards me, and I won't have to touch the hot cup, just the cool handle. While the water is heating, select your tea. There are a large number of different kinds of tea available, and selection is very much a matter of personal choice. Only through trial and error will you be able to select a favorite. My current favorite is Lipton, though I sometimes select Salada (I like the funny sayings on the tags). Place your tea bag in the cup you will drink the tea from. I use a cup with a picture of some ducks on it, underneath which is the word "Scott". I forget who gave me this present, but it doesn't matter. If you are making tea with one of the flow-through bags (such as Lipton) you can insert a spoon in the open section. This will keep the bag at the bottom of the cup and allow for more "flow through", which is very important while the tea is sleeping. When the water is heated, pour the hot water into the cup with the tea bag. DO NOT add the tea bag to the heated water, as this is the wrong way to make tea. I don't know why, but I heard it on TV. Allow the bag to sit in the heated water for three minutes, undisturbed. This is known as "sleeping". While the tea sleeps, the water will release the flavor from the bag. This is a good time to wash your hands. You will want clean hands for the next few steps. At the end of three minutes remove the spoon from the cup (if you have been using a spoon, that is). Lift the tag of the tea bag and dip the bag exactly 40 times. To perform a correct dip, lift the tea bag completely out of the water for about an inch, and immediately dip it back in. This dipping action will release the full flavor of the tea. Do not dip more than 40 times or you will get a bitter brew. An old legend has it that if your tea bag spins while you are dipping, a counter-clockwise spin means good fortune. A clockwise spin means you live in Australia. After the 40th dip, give the bag a quick squeeze with your fingers to release the final full-flavored drippings from the bag. Throw the bag away. DO NOT re-use the bag later, or your second cup will be weak. Add 1 teaspoon of honey to the tea. Use only American, Canadian, or Brazilian honey. Stir the honey into the warm tea counter-clockwise, exactly 45 times. If you stir too many times, reverse the stir clockwise to subtract to the proper number. Some people add milk or cream to their tea at this point, but those people are usually vulgar and rude. Do not add milk or cream if you wish to be thought of as polite company. Drink the tea before it gets cold. DO NOT dunk donuts into your tea. What are you, some kind of boorish lout? That kind of stuff is best left to coffee. There you have it, my recipe for the perfect cup of tea. I hope it will be helpful to you and that it increases your enjoyment of this wonderful beverage. ** Captain Infinity ..."I could swing a cat and knock a few of the locals over tomorrow, though only if I'm not painting more ceilings." --Tyler
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