The first thing you need to determine is the quality of your water. If you live where there is a lot of lead in your water, or where the water has a strong smell or flavor, use bottled water for your tea. Otherwise your water could change the flavor of your tea. If you are using tap water, let the water run for a minute or two to clear the pipes for fresher water.
Place a kettle of cold water on to boil using medium heat. Just before the boiling point, pour a small amount of the heated water into your teapot. Swirl this around so the inside of your teapot is heated by the water, then pour the water down the drain. This is to ensure the teapot doesn't leach heat from your tea.
Now its time to add the tea to the teapot Add one teaspoon of tea per person and one for the pot. I recommend using a tea ball infuser. This way when the tea is brewed to perfection you can remove the tea leaves to prevent the tannins turning the tea bitter. If using tea bags, remove after proper brewing time, gently squeezing the tea bags to release more flavor.
Once your water is boiling, quickly remove and pour into the tea pot onto the tea leaves. Over boiling can cause your tea to have a bitter flavor. Under boiling can prevent the full flavor of the tea to emerge.
Let the tea brew for 3 to 6 minutes depending on the type of tea you are using. Large leaf teas such as Oolong, Earl Grey or Jasmine should brew for 5 to 6 minutes. Never brew for longer than 6 minutes or you will have a very bitter flavor. Medium leaf teas such as Queen Mary, Orange Pekoe, or Ceylon Breakfast should brew for 4 to 5 minutes. Small leaf teas such as English Breakfast or Irish Breakfast should brew for 3 minutes. Tea bags should be brewed a shorter amount of time, read directions on package. Do not judge the strength of your tea by its color, some teas naturally brew a lighter color than others. Remember to remove tea leaves after the proper brewing times to prevent bitterness.
Pour and enjoy!
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