"The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found."--Calvin Trillin

Perfect Tea Recipe

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This recipe for Perfect Tea, by , is from Our Family Cookbook Project 2006, one of the cookbooks created at FamilyCookbookProject.com. We help families or individuals create heirloom cookbook treasures.

Meg Allyn Cummings Galus- Chicago, IL
Added: Sunday, August 20, 2006


Types of Tea:
Black Tea is fully fermented: Freshly plucked green leaves are spread out to wither and then twisted so the natural enzymes are released and oxidize. Finally, the leaves are dried to become the familiar black leaf noted for its rich, full-bodied brew.
Green Tea, the brew's oldest form is unfermented and merely steamed, rolled, and dried. Chinese varieties are more mellow than "grassy" Japanese teas.
Blended Teas are combinations of different teas which ensure a quality product under changing growing conditions. Flowers, fruit, herbs, or spices may be part of the mix.
Herbal Teas, which are made with herbs, flowers. Fruits, roots, berries, bark, or the leaves of any plant other than Camellia sinensis, are not true tea. Technically, such caffeine-free drinks are called infusions or tisanes. Old wisdom values these concoctions for their soothing and healing properties.
From "Tea with Friends" by Elizabeth Knight

To Brew Perfect Tea:
Adapted from Whittard.com- Whittard is a chain of tea shops in England, and purveyor of most of my favorite teas.
Preparing tea is a simple process. Begin with freshly drawn water (filtered or spring water taste best). Bring your kettle to a full boil. Warm the pot. Measure the correct amount of tea into the pot. For loose tea, an optimal ratio is one teaspoon per cup of water. Pour in the water the moment it boils. Allow the water to cool a bit when making green tea. Steep for five minutes. However, when making green tea, please shorten steep time to three minutes. Once done, remove all leaves and enjoy. Allowing tea to linger in the cup or pot may yield a bitter taste.
Some teas may be preferred with milk. (Meg's note: ALL black teas are better with milk and sugar. Milk and sugar should be put in the teacup before pouring in the tea.)

Personal Notes:
Personal Notes:
The Art of Taking Tea:
High Tea is often a misnomer. Most people mistakenly refer to afternoon tea as high tea because they think it sounds regal and lofty, when in all actuality, high tea, or "meat tea" is dinner. During the second half of the Victorian Period known as the Industrial Revolution, working class families would return home tired and exhausted. The table would be set with dinner foods like meat, bread, butter, potatoes, pickles, cheese and of course tea. Because it was a substantial evening meal, traditional British foods like shepherd's pie, Welsh rarebit, or steak and ale pie were often on the menu. The meal was served family style. It was termed "high" tea because it was eaten at a high dining table rather than a low tea table.
Afternoon tea (because it was usually taken in the late afternoon) is also called "low tea" as it was usually taken in a sitting room or withdrawing room where low tables (like a coffee table) were placed near sofas or chairs. Since this wasn't a meal, but rather like a late afternoon snack meant to stave off hunger, finger foods were the common fare. Tiny, dainty tea sandwiches, scones and pastries were served with afternoon tea. Finger goods afforded one the opportunity to take a petite bite and easily maintain a conversation. This is most important as one is not merely taking tea to gain nourishment or satisfy hunger, but to take time to relax, converse and enjoy the company of dear friends. In England, the traditional time for tea was four o'clock or five o'clock and no one stayed after seven o'clock.
As the tea room became increasingly more popular, the grand Victorian drawing room teas were changed, in order to accommodate the masses. Many tea rooms, especially those in hotels, served tea from three to five o'clock. Today, however, you will find many tea houses offering tea times beginning midmorning and continuing throughout the day. When you frequent a tea shop you will notice that there are three basic types of afternoon tea:
Cream Tea- tea, scones, jam and cream
Light Tea- tea, scones, and sweets
Full Tea- tea, savories, scones, sweets, and dessert
The menu for an afternoon tea has changed from tea, bread, butter and cakes, to include three particular courses served specifically in this order:
Savories: Tiny sandwiches or appetizers
Scones: Served with jam and Devonshire or clotted cream
Pastries: Cakes, cookies, shortbread and sweets.
If you are taking tea with a friend in your home, or the courses are all served simultaneously on a tiered plate, you would put the savories on the bottom tier, scones on the second and pastries on the top. Fruit can be served anytime during tea.
From www.oldfashionedliving.com




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