The tradition of tea is beautiful and rich. People have been drinking tea for hundreds of years. The benefits of tea are countless. However, you may be overwhelmed, and not exactly know how to serve tea correctly.
To begin, you must Hot the Pot. This is simply pouring hot water into the teapot and letting it sit long enough for the pot to warm up. Since the teapot is warmed, the tea will not cool as quickly. A richer flavor will be gained sooner, because the heat is kept concentrated around the tea leaves. While the teapot is warming, bring water to boil in a tea kettle. For black or herbal tea, boiling water is desired. For green tea, it should be a little bit cooler.
Put into the pot one spoonful of loose tea or one tea bag for each serving, and one for the pot. Pour the water in, put the cover on the pot, and let the tea steep. Two to three minutes for green, three to five for black, four to ten for white, and five or more for herbal tea. If you like your tea stronger, use more tea. Letting it steep longer will make it bitter, unless it is herbal. As herbal teas are not real teas made from the Camellia Sinensis plant, different rules apply. The longer herbal tea steeps, the stronger and richer it becomes.
When the tea is ready, pour into beautiful tea cups and enjoy! Provide the options of milk, honey or sugar, and lemon. Milk is traditionally used for tea. Cream is said to be too heavy, and overpowers the tea. Sugar goes well with black teas, and honey is ideal for herbal teas. A slice of lemon is delicious, but never have lemon with cream. The acid of the lemon causes the cream to curdle. Experiment, and find which you like best.
Low Tea is a light meal taken in the afternoon, and is ideal for drinking tea and visiting. At low tea, small goodies are served, such as delicate sandwiches, cookies, scones, or cake. Guests sit around low tables, such as a coffee table, in a sitting room.
Whether you wish to drink tea on your own for the health benefits, or to have friends over for an afternoon of conversation, knowing how to make and serve tea properly is a beautiful and useful skill. Enjoy your tea!