Though a perfect cup of tea requires only a few simple steps, getting each step just right is an art form. Anton Edelmann, maitre chef des cuisines at the Savoy hotel in London and author of "Taking Tea at the Savoy," demonstrates the proper way to make tea, English-style.
The best tea is brewed from whole, loose leaves. Whole tea leaves are not only fresher and of higher quality than tea bags; they also produce a more complex beverage as the leaves unfurl during brewing. The most popular tea served at the Savoy is the hotel's own blend of Assam -- a strong, malty breakfast tea from India -- and broken orange pekoe, also referred to as BOP.
Making the Perfect Cup of Tea
Cup warmer (optional)
1. Bring fresh, cold water to a boil. Once the water is boiled, remove from heat, and let it sit for a few minutes. Meanwhile, fill a teapot with hot tap water to warm it up. (Anton suggests also warming up your teacups in a cup warmer or with hot tap water.)
2. Empty the pot (and cups), toss in a teaspoon of tea leaves for each cup you are making, and fill pot with boiled water. Let steep for 2 to 3 minutes for small-leaf black teas and green teas, 4 to 5 minutes for full-leaf black tea, and 7 to 10 minutes for oolong tea; pour the tea, using a strainer to catch renegade leaves. Don't over steep, or the brew will turn bitter. Loose tea will keep for up to 1 year if it's stored properly in an airtight container in a cool, dark spot.