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    Default How Does One Properly Make Tea?

    Dear Play-grounders,


    How does one properly make tea? I used to believe that it was simple: boil water, put teabag into cup, pour water in, drink. Then I purchased some teabags and it came in bags without attached strings, like the one in this image:
    Spoiler: Teabag image
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    Does one do it in the same way, and simply not remove the teabag? The internet wants me to add milk, or maybe not. I've not been doing this, should I? How do y'all do it? Also, what kind of teas do y'all drink? Any you particularly recommend?

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    Default Re: How Does One Properly Make Tea?

    Quote Originally Posted by Caerulea View Post
    Dear Play-grounders,


    How does one properly make tea? I used to believe that it was simple: boil water, put teabag into cup, pour water in, drink. Then I purchased some teabags and it came in bags without attached strings, like the one in this image:

    ŚCaerulea
    You'll still want to remove the teabag when done steeping (usually between 2-5 minutes, depends on the desired strength of the resulting tea and what kind of tea you're using - green teas and herbal teas usually want less time, strong black teas use more), it's just easier to drink that way. Without the pre-attached string you'll either need to fish it out with a spoon or put it inside of an infuser ball or some other item to make it easier to pull out - there's a variety of them that are sold for making single cups of loose-leaf tea, should work just as well for containing a small tea bag.

    Milk/cream/sugar other add ins are entirely personal taste. Some people have very very strong opinions about the 'correct' way to mix tea. Ignore them, figure out what makes it taste good for you and do it that way. If you're trying a tea you've never had before I do recommend trying it plain the first time, but that's just so you know what you're working from and can get a better idea of what and how much you may need to doctor it with.

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    Default Re: How Does One Properly Make Tea?

    Quote Originally Posted by Caerulea View Post
    Dear Play-grounders,


    How does one properly make tea? I used to believe that it was simple: boil water, put teabag into cup, pour water in, drink. Then I purchased some teabags and it came in bags without attached strings, like the one in this image:
    Spoiler: Teabag image
    Show

    Does one do it in the same way, and simply not remove the teabag? The internet wants me to add milk, or maybe not. I've not been doing this, should I? How do y'all do it? Also, what kind of teas do y'all drink? Any you particularly recommend?

    ŚCaerulea
    Fish it out with a teaspoon (or hold an edge).
    If it's 'normal' tea milk is normal (although not necessary), if it is a fruit tea then milk will not work.

    There are lots of ways you can go about making nicer tea, and some of the advice contradicts itself depending on how it goes and is optimized for different conditions. To some extent, as long as you don't serve others, find what works for you.

    For my work teas, I put teabag in cup add hot water from the drinking machine (leaving the bag in and adding no milk), topping up as I feel until I am drinking hot water. This is a terrible way of making tea.
    Home teas I tend to put a splash of milk in the bottom, and then boiling water and dip teabag in as soon as I can, leaving it in till it is a suitable colour. This is probably 90%

    To get the proper benefit is a bit of a science, with ideal temperatures to get the right flavours out. I should mention https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_3103

    Of the normal (china/india) tea types. Earl Grey tastes funny. All the others I know I like Assam, Ceylon, English Breakfast, Yorkshire/PG tips/[supermarket] own brand are fine and to be honest I've not noticed the difference (partly because I've never done a direct taste test or trained myself to notice).

    Or the other types. I love Iced Tea (this normally comes pre-made), and they now do some nice fruit flavours.

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    Default Re: How Does One Properly Make Tea?

    Quote Originally Posted by Caerulea View Post
    Dear Play-grounders,


    How does one properly make tea? I used to believe that it was simple: boil water, put teabag into cup, pour water in, drink. Then I purchased some teabags and it came in bags without attached strings, like the one in this image:
    Spoiler: Teabag image
    Show

    Does one do it in the same way, and simply not remove the teabag? The internet wants me to add milk, or maybe not. I've not been doing this, should I? How do y'all do it? Also, what kind of teas do y'all drink? Any you particularly recommend?

    ŚCaerulea
    Tea pots have a little bag to put the tea bags or leaves in, I assume the string-less part is using a tea pot is slightly fancier then steeping in a mug.

    I only drink cold drinks, so my tea goes into a big mug full of ice cubes after steeping. Some people drink their tea with sugar (madness) or milk (blasphemy,) but except alternatives like sun tea and butter tea it is made the same way as you wrote.
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    Default Re: How Does One Properly Make Tea?

    You can just use a teaspoon to fish the teabag out when you're done with it.

    Other than that, it's almost entirely down to personal taste (a lot of tea snobbery is ironic). That said, milk is usually only used with black teas, and then only if it's 'normal' tea without any added flavourings (as opposed to e.g., Earl Grey, which has Bergamot oil added).

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    Default Re: How Does One Properly Make Tea?

    Quote Originally Posted by Caerulea View Post
    Those are meant for tea pots. Use one for a small pot of water, two or more for larger amounts of water.
    They don't have a string because you're not supposed to fish them out before you clean the pot (which you do with clean, warm water; no detergents).
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    Default Re: How Does One Properly Make Tea?

    Okay, I've determined I don't like English breakfast with milk. Otherwise, thank you all for your advice. It has been very helpful.

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    Default Re: How Does One Properly Make Tea?

    Quote Originally Posted by tyckspoon View Post
    Some people have very very strong opinions about the 'correct' way to mix tea. Ignore them
    This is the correct answer. But if you want to prepare an International Standard cup of tea, watch this:


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    Default Re: How Does One Properly Make Tea?

    Quote Originally Posted by Misereor View Post
    you clean the pot (which you do with clean, warm water; no detergents).
    This is also the correct answer, because of this (you may want to skip to 00:53, it's in the link but some browsers don't seem to pick up on it):


    (Just discovered we are limited to one video per post)

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    I would say that's the dumbest theory Grey Wolf's heard, but, let's be honest: It's Grey Wolf. They've probably heard dumber theories today. Point is, neat idea, but it's a real stretch.
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    Default Re: How Does One Properly Make Tea?

    Quote Originally Posted by Caerulea View Post
    Okay, I've determined I don't like English breakfast with milk. Otherwise, thank you all for your advice. It has been very helpful.

    ŚCaerulea
    Given that this thread exists, I'd be open to the possibility that you didn't make it the way you'd like it. I'm picturing you making it like milky coffee or otherwise crazy amounts of milk, although it probably is just that you don't like English breakfast with milk. I would be very surprised if a different tea blend made a difference.

    Sometime if you have a friend who makes it, and you don't mind them making two cups, try it again.

    But in the meantime (and when you've confirmed it) there's nothing wrong with asking for it without milk. It's clearly not a taste you'll need to acquire.

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    Default Re: How Does One Properly Make Tea?

    To properly make tea requires good quality loose leaf tea. The difference is actually enormous, it makes far better tea than tea bags do. But yes, stringless tea bags with exactly the same as bags with strings do, aside from the fact that it's recommended to use a spoon to extract the bag to avoid scalding your fingers.
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    Default Re: How Does One Properly Make Tea?

    Being British, I could go on about the methods for making tea pretty much endlessly, but I will try to narrow my observations to those that are relevant.

    While it is possible to make a cup of tea so bad it's virtually undrinkable, it's relatively hard to get wrong, and if you're only making it for yourself you can pretty much do what you like. So for possibly the only time in my life I will say don't worry too much about etiquette.

    When it comes to string teabags personally I've never really got on with them. You still need to use a teaspoon when extracting them otherwise it drips everywhere, so you might as well forgo the string (and corresponding tainting of the tea with string) altogether.

    Always take the teabag out (unless it's just for you and you don't want to). There was an amusing incident in the early 2000s when Prince Charles visited the White House and was served a cup of tea with bag still in situ. HRH may be a man of many qualities, but he is not renowned for being the most practical fellow and he was almost entirely at a loss for what to do with the rogue teabag.

    For that matter I don't really get on with those infuser-things either; it seems to me just to combine the disadvantages of both teabags and loose-leaf tea. I get that it gives you more flexibility in the tea you're using in your mug if you're just making one at a time but really life's too short.

    Anyway, in order to make tea "properly" one does indeed really need to use a teapot and loose-leaf tea. But that's not really practical if you only want one cup.

    The basic principle is that the water should be really hot when it meets the tea. Supposedly, around 80-90 degrees Celsius is the optimum temperature but water cools quickly once boiled, so really you want to pour the water from the kettle as soon as it's boiled - and warm the pot (or, if you can be bothered, mug) first to reduce additional cooling.

    Whether the milk goes into the cup before or after the tea is a matter of some debate and there is reasoning behind either, but if you're making a single cup with a teabag the only really viable way is to make the tea first and then put the milk in, otherwise the tea-leaves become sodden with cold milk before the water gets there and it's a bit rubbish.

    Ideally the tea should be left to steep for a couple of minutes before contacting the milk but in an office environment this may not be feasible. The process can be expedited by stirring with a teaspoon.

    Whether to add milk and if so how much is a matter of personal taste. It also depends on the tea. Without milk, black tea tends to be very bitter and tannic and the milk will flatten this out. But with a relatively delicate black tea like Earl Grey, too much milk will destroy the flavour and leave you with a cup of milky brown hot water. Finding the optimum balance is a matter of practice and taste. A reason for adding milk after the tea is brewed rather than to the cup in advance is because it makes it easier to control how much milk you're putting in relative to the strength of the tea.
    Last edited by Aedilred; 2019-03-01 at 07:52 PM.
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    Default Re: How Does One Properly Make Tea?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aedilred View Post
    While it is possible to make a cup of tea so bad it's virtually undrinkable, it's relatively hard to get wrong, and if you're only making it for yourself you can pretty much do what you like. So for possibly the only time in my life I will say don't worry too much about etiquette.
    Try telling that to our work canteen. Their tea is undrinkable filth.

    The basic principle is that the water should be really hot when it meets the tea. Supposedly, around 80-90 degrees Celsius is the optimum temperature but water cools quickly once boiled, so really you want to pour the water from the kettle as soon as it's boiled - and warm the pot (or, if you can be bothered, mug) first to reduce additional cooling.
    Different teas have different ideal temperatures. Esp. Green and White tea want slightly cooler water. But generally just boiled but not actually boiling into a prewarmed pot is the way to go. (85 degrees for black teas)

    (Making tea in a pot is more efficient, as decent teabags will make more than one cup so you get more tea for your money. A cosy can keep a pot of tea warm for an hour or so so you have plenty of time to enjoy it.)

    If the water's too hot the tea ends up astringent and bitter. (See complaint about work tea, where they use water from the coffee machine which is too hot)
    Last edited by GloatingSwine; 2019-02-28 at 07:41 AM.

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    Default Re: How Does One Properly Make Tea?

    Quote Originally Posted by GloatingSwine View Post
    Try telling that to our work canteen. Their tea is undrinkable filth.
    It's my considered opinion that tea is undrinkable filth no matter what type it is or how you make it, but I acknowledge I'm maybe a smidgeon out of step with my countrymen in this.

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    Default Re: How Does One Properly Make Tea?

    *Screams*

    *runs away*

    There are arguments about this.

    On being required to make tea (premixed for immediate drinkage) my response to "make it strong enough" was to make it overstrong but with excessive milk, so it looked weak. I was never required to make tea again, result.
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    Default Re: How Does One Properly Make Tea?

    I've tried more of the suggestions, and have determined the following:
    - Add milk second, otherwise I add too much.
    - I prefer English Breakfast with little or no milk, but green tea is good with a bit more milk.

    Again, thank's for all of the advice.

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    Default Re: How Does One Properly Make Tea?

    Quote Originally Posted by Caerulea View Post
    I've tried more of the suggestions, and have determined the following:
    - Add milk second, otherwise I add too much.
    - I prefer English Breakfast with little or no milk, but green tea is good with a bit more milk.

    Again, thank's for all of the advice.

    ŚCaerulea
    Green tea with milk? What deranged heresy is this?
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    Default Re: How Does One Properly Make Tea?

    Quote Originally Posted by Heliomance View Post
    Green tea with milk? What deranged heresy is this?
    And so it starts...

    War over milk in tea... War never changes.

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    I would say that's the dumbest theory Grey Wolf's heard, but, let's be honest: It's Grey Wolf. They've probably heard dumber theories today. Point is, neat idea, but it's a real stretch.
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    Default Re: How Does One Properly Make Tea?

    I always joke with my wife that her tea is water with twigs and leaves.

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    Default Re: How Does One Properly Make Tea?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    And so it starts...

    War over milk in tea... War never changes.

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    The War is about When you put the milk in the teacup.

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    Last edited by halfeye; 2019-03-06 at 12:12 PM.
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    Default Re: How Does One Properly Make Tea?

    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
    The War is about When you put the milk in the teacup.

    Running away is the only sane option.
    Nah, there is also "I'll have coffee, thanks".

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    Quote Originally Posted by woweedd View Post
    I would say that's the dumbest theory Grey Wolf's heard, but, let's be honest: It's Grey Wolf. They've probably heard dumber theories today. Point is, neat idea, but it's a real stretch.
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    Default Re: How Does One Properly Make Tea?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    Nah, there is also "I'll have coffee, thanks".

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    There's also black tea with sugar.

    Sometimes, the tea is made with the milk in it, and then poured from a jug, no coffee available. Or, on other days/times, coffee with milk, no tea available.

    Otherwise it was a good time, sometimes there was cake with the tea.
    Last edited by halfeye; 2019-03-06 at 12:34 PM.
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    Default Re: How Does One Properly Make Tea?

    Based on my usual tea drinking habits.

    Proper tea is made by:
    Put the tea into a cup of boiling water.
    Let it steep for a few minutes.
    Forget about it, and let it steep for a few hours
    Heat it back up.
    Brace for the "flavor"
    Drink


    That said I am a big fan of milk tea.
    Or really just any warm milk based anything.
    Last edited by sleepy hedgehog; 2019-03-06 at 12:50 PM.

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    Default Re: How Does One Properly Make Tea?

    Here's how my friend Neha makes Chai:

    Put water in saucepan. Put on stove on medium.

    As it heats:

    Put crushed ginger into water.
    Put loose black tea into water.
    Put spices into water. Cardamon, Cinnamon stick, cloves.

    Add milk to water. Not a lot.
    Add sugar to water.

    Stir as it heats. Don't let it boil, but let it get close.

    Pour over strainer into cups.

    Drink.

    I never saw her measure anything so that's not very helpful. But i don't think it matters. Basically about an inch of crushed ginger and a pinch of the different spices and a handful of loose tea. And try sugar sparingly at first until you find the right sweetness for you.
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    Default Re: How Does One Properly Make Tea?

    Quote Originally Posted by sleepy hedgehog View Post
    Based on my usual tea drinking habits.

    Proper tea is made by:
    Put the tea into a cup of boiling water.
    Let it steep for a few minutes.
    Forget about it, and let it steep for a few hours
    Heat it back up.
    Brace for the "flavor"
    Drink
    That sounds about right. Although I'd always pour the water onto the tea, not the other way round. And I wouldn't bother trying to reheat it. Just down it and put the kettle on again.

    Also, I'd call it a 'flavour' and wouldn't need to brace for it .
    Last edited by lesser_minion; 2019-03-06 at 02:31 PM.

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    Default Re: How Does One Properly Make Tea?

    Powder. Water. Glass. Stir. Microwave. Chug.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vizzerdrix View Post
    Powder. Water. Glass. Stir. Microwave. Chug.


    OK. I retract anything I may have said to the effect that there is no wrong way to drink tea.

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    Last edited by lesser_minion; 2019-03-08 at 03:36 PM.

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    Default Re: How Does One Properly Make Tea?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    Nah, there is also "I'll have coffee, thanks".

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    Coffee is harder to really screw up.

    My procedure for a single serving of tea:
    1. Find a mug that's the right size for the person and the occasion. This may vary from "regular cup sized" to "pint mug", depending.
    2. Heat some water in the kettle to about 60-70░C. Use this to warm the mug for about 30-60 seconds, before pouring it back into the kettle (no sense wasting it, assuming the mug is clean).
    3. Click the kettle on to boil again, then put the teabag in the mug. Don't turn your back at this stage, timing is critical for the next step.
    4. When the kettle boils, immediately pour water into the mug. If for any reason this is delayed by more than about six, seven seconds tops, re-boil the kettle.
    5. Leave to steep. Timing varies depending on size of mug and how strong you want it, but generally no more than five minutes.
    6. Using a teaspoon, squeeze as much water as possible out of the teabag while removing it. Dispose of the teabag. (Makes excellent compost.)
    7. Add (cold) milk and, if required, sugar to taste. Stir.
    8. Allow to cool a little before drinking.

    There are two common errors that can make tea taste really bad:

    1. Allowing the water to cool too much after boiling, before pouring onto the teabag. (Even worse - pouring the water into a cup before adding the teabag. That is a sure sign that the person making it has absolutely no idea what they're doing.)
    2. Adding milk to the teabag before pouring the water.

    All this assumes we're talking about black tea, probably from India or Sri Lanka, because that's the default in the places I've lived. For green tea, other rules apply.
    Last edited by veti; 2019-03-08 at 03:46 PM.

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    Default Re: How Does One Properly Make Tea?

    Quote Originally Posted by veti View Post
    Coffee is harder to really screw up.
    Mostly because it smells great no matter what you do short of setting the kitchen on fire, and tastes terrible no matter what you do short of drowning it in sugar and cream.

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    Quote Originally Posted by woweedd View Post
    I would say that's the dumbest theory Grey Wolf's heard, but, let's be honest: It's Grey Wolf. They've probably heard dumber theories today. Point is, neat idea, but it's a real stretch.
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    Default Re: How Does One Properly Make Tea?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vizzerdrix View Post
    Powder. Water. Glass. Stir. Microwave. Chug.
    I.... will not be trying this method.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grey_Wolf_c View Post
    Mostly because it smells great no matter what you do short of setting the kitchen on fire, and tastes terrible no matter what you do short of drowning it in sugar and cream.

    Grey Wolf
    Agreed.

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