Month of Tea Brewing 2017
The popularity of flavored teas has been growing steadily in the U.S. since Ruth Bigelow introduced her legendary Constant Comment. In teabags, loose leaves and ready-to-drink forms. In many different qualities and wide-ranging price points. It’s no longer just black tea that is blended, scented and flavored. Green, white, oolong and puerh have all been paired with flowers, fruit, oils and herbs. Most tea lovers keep a wide variety of flavors and purchase from several different sources. From big brands to small, artisan blenders. There is no shortage of opportunities to expand your definition of tea.
Beginner Brewing Tip:
If you do over-steep your tea leaves and do not want to drink the stronger brew, just add more hot water to taste. I sometimes brew a strong pot and then offer to dilute my guest’s cups with water or milk (depending on the tea). My personal preference is to offer a brewed tea that is too strong rather than too weak. It seems more generous and is a much easier “fix”.
When serving a large crowd, we often rely on tea concentrates. We infuse gallons of concentrated tea (2-3 times stronger) and then add freshly heated water just before serving. For events such as tea party fundraisers where we must rely on volunteers rather than trained serving staff, this method is a lifesaver.
Happy Sipping . . . Babette
Teapot With Infuser Basket
Having a well-fitted infuser basket takes the brewing and serving to another level of convenience. A small teapot like the one in today’s video makes enough for one large mug or two smaller cups. Then, you can just add more water for a second or subsequent infusion.
What this does bring into the discussion is the importance of only adding the amount of water to the leaves that you plan to decant in a single serving. Leaving the water on the leaves too long can make a bitter brew with some teas.
The art of tea brewing is now is now something anyone can afford to do without stress or fuss.
“Surely a pretty woman never looks prettier than when making tea.”
― Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Lady Audley’s Secret
“Tea to the English is really a picnic indoors.” Alice Waters
“Tea is one of the main stays of civilization in this country.” George Orwell
“But indeed I would rather have nothing but tea.” ― Jane Austen, Mansfield Park
- Wikipedia: Duchess Anna of Bedford
- Downton Abbey Cooks: Online Guide To Afternoon Tea
- What’s Cooking America: History of Afternoon Tea
- YouTube: Traditional Afternoon Tea At the Ritz, London
- YouTube: Afternoon Tea Express, Thomas The Train
- NPR Broadcast & Transcript: High Tea, Afternoon Tea, Elevenses: English Tea Times For Dummies
Magic Scones – Recipe from Downton Abbey Cooks
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons frozen, grated butter
- 1/2 cup cold milk
Preheat oven to 475°F
Sift the dry ingredients 3 times into a large bowl. Rub the frozen grated butter into the dry ingredients until it feels like sand. Add enough milk just until you get a sticky dough.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top. Knead very gently once, then fold and turn the kneaded dough 3 or 4 times until the dough has formed a smooth texture. Pat the dough into a rectangle about 6” x 12”, then fold into thirds.
Using a well-floured 2” biscuit cutter, make 6 x 2” rounds. You can get 2 more scones from the scraps but they won’t be as tender. Alternatively, use a well-floured sharp knife to form wedges.
You can either brush the top of the scones with milk or lightly flour.
Bake on a baking sheet for 8-10 minutes until the scones are lightly coloured on the tops. Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process.
Traditionally served with clotted cream and preserves, try a healthier option of non fat plain greek yoghurt with your favorite preserves.