The English poet and writer John Milton once observed that the act of making tea was akin to bathing “the drooping spirits in delight, beyond the bliss of dreams.” The Paradise Lost author’s wax lyrical on the act of tea-making speaks to the British reverence for the hot beverage. And although most Americans make their tea by simply popping a teabag into a mug of microwaves water (much to the British chagrin), to truly appreciate a good cup of tea, drinkers should actually slow down, heat their water to the right temperatures, and let their chosen leaves steep to the desired strength.
Although many of us enjoy a cup of tea throughout the day, there is no doubt that the best way for it to be served is with a gathering of friends at an intimate, low-key affair that embraces simple indulgences. Tea, as the servers of Celebrity’s Champagne High Tea know, is meant to be savored, so we’ve prepared the following tips to help you create an optimal tea-drinking experience.
For the perfect high tea experience, time your tea kettle to boil just as your guests are getting seated so they can enjoy the aromas of steeping tea. Once you’ve served the tea, present an assortment of traditional refreshments, which can include scones, finger sandwiches, pastries, and other treats that are easily consumed in a bite or two.
To consistently produce perfect cups of tea, we suggest observing the following steps:
1. Warm your teapot or teapots with hot water before steeping tea so that the tea will stay hot longer.
2. Place tea in the teapot. Use one tea bag per person, or 1 rounded teaspoon of loose tea per serving. You may also use a tea infuser for loose tea if desired. Pour the boiling water into the teapot.
3. When steeping the tea, keep the teapot top on and closed tightly.
4. Steeping guidelines:
- Herbal teas, 5 minutes, with water at 208 degrees F.
- Oolong teas, 5 minutes, with water at 208 degree F.
- Black teas, 3-5 minutes, with water at 208 degrees F.
- Green teas, 2-3 minutes, with water at 175 degrees F.
- White teas, 2-3 minutes, with water at 175 degrees F.
5. You’ll need to place a strainer over each cup as you pour if you are using loose tea.