Tea is a relaxing and restorative beverage. To make a really good cuppa, just follow these simple rules.
Leaf Quality. For the best infusion, use high-quality, lose-leaf tea from a specialty tea store. Use one teaspoon (two grams) of tea per cup.
Water Quality. As tea is 98 percent water, your main ingredient should be as high quality as possible – filtered tap water, or bottled spring water is ideal. Remember, never boil the water more than once as this drains the oxygen, and results in a flat taste.
Temperature. The water temperature does not have to be exact. The main thing to remember is not to use boiling water for green or white teas, as over-heating them can cause a bitter taste. As a general guide, white teas are best brewed at 75-85°C, green teas at 60-70°C, oolongs at 85-90°C, and for black teas always use boiling water.
Timing. The amount of time the tea steeps will determine its strength. White teas can be brewed for 3-8 minutes, greens for 1-3 minutes, oolongs for 1-8 minutes, and blacks for 3-5 minutes.
Assam: Karma Gold
This is a first-flush harvest black tea from the Assam region in India. Grown at sea level, it is renowned for its full body, malty flavour, sweet-honey fragrance and strong, slightly reddish colour. Karma Gold is best prepared at 95°C and can only stand for one infusion. As a black tea, Karma Gold can be enjoyed straight, or with milk.
Shuang Long Huan Zhu – Twin Dragons Juggling a Pearl
This tea is an art form in itself, a red globe Amaranth flower is hand sewn with two jasmine garlands, and a base of jasmine-scented white tea, to form a solid ball. Once infused the ball opens slowly to reveal the brilliant red of the Amaranth flower. It has a deep, fruity aroma, with a clean, slightly nutty taste. This tea is best brewed at 90°C in a deep glass pot, so as to enjoy the visual beauty as well as the taste.
This high-grade green tea is from a private reserve in the province of Shizuka, Japan. It is a refreshing Sencha with small polished needle-shaped leaves. When infused, it results in a brilliant yellow/green brew with subtle layers of spring flavours. Slightly grassy and very cleansing this tea is best brewed at 70°C and can be re-brewed up to three times.
For a good old-fashioned high tea, whip up these delicious and easy-to-make scones.
3 cups self-raising flour
Whipped cream to serve
Strawberry jam to serve
Combine the ingredients and mix into a smooth dough. Roll out the dough lightly (around 2 cm thick) on to a flour-dredged bench top. Cut rounds of dough using a round cookie cutter or the buttered rim of a small glass. Place on greased baking paper. Brush the tops with beaten egg or milk, and cook in a moderate oven (180°C) until lightly golden on top (15-20 minutes). Serve with whipped cream and strawberry jam.