Subject:    The perfect cup of tea
From:       Captain Infinity
Message-ID: <>

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

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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