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Making a Cup of Tea

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					Making a Mug of Tea
By Matthew Munro Tea has been Britain’s favourite beverage since the middle 18th century. Drinking tea has a number of benefits; it is a healthy option that provides significant amounts of daily-required nutrients, it is rich in antioxidants that help to reduce free radicals produced from pollution and exposure to sunlight. Above all the whole process of making and drinking tea is a good excuse to relax, socialise and enjoy a tasty drink. Fill the kettle with three mugs of fresh water and put it to boil. Once the kettle is boiled place a mug full of boiling water into the teapot and place the lid on. Swill the water around the teapot and leave for 2 minutes. Put the kettle back to boil while removing the teapots lid and tipping the warm water down the sink. Place a rounded teaspoon of favourite loose-leaf tea into the warmed teapot. Take the teapot to the kettle as it is boiling. Pour boiling water from the kettle into the teapot and give the mixture a stir with the teaspoon. Put the lid on the teapot and leave to stand for 2-5 minutes. If milk is desired place a small amount into the mug. Place the tea strainer on top of the mug. Pour the tea from the teapot into the mug passing through the tea strainer. Remove the tea strainer from the mug and if required add sugar to taste. Drink the tea from the mug while warm.
Preparation time: 5 minutes Brewing time: 2-5 minutes

Serves 1-2
Ingredients and Implements

Fresh water 2 rounded teaspoons of favourite loose-leaf tea Fresh milk, chilled White sugar
Implements

Kettle Ceramic teapot Large ceramic mug Fine mesh tea strainer Teaspoon

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Glossary
Ceramic Mug Originally tea was drunk using a small open flat-bottomed cup with a handle and stood on a saucer. However, current trends have moved onto a larger container known as a mug that also has a handle but no saucer. The larger the mug the more tea can be contained and the longer the drink can last. Mugs are better at retaining the teas heat for much longer than a cup because of its narrower opening. The ideal material for a mug is ceramic as it is better at retaining heat, easily washed and reused. There are polystyrene cups but they can affect the taste of the tea and are not an environmentally friendly option. Ceramic Teapot The perfect cup of tea requires using loose-leaf tea and a teapot. There is a quick option for making tea using tea bags that house the tea in a small bag. Tea bags reduce infusion and tanning time making the tea taste rather flat. The teapot requires to be warmed before adding the tea and boiling water (brewing). The temperature of the water that first meets the tealeaves has to be just off boiling as this is when the teas caffeine is released. Hence, the teapot with tealeaves should be taken to the kettle while it is boiling. The just off boiled water can placed into the teapot without losing too much heat. Fresh Milk Fresh milk is best mainly because of its taste. UHT (Ultra Heat Treatment) milk contains denatured proteins that affect the overall taste. Pouring milk into tea is a matter of personal preference. However, if using milk it should be poured first into a mug where warm tea is then added as this reduces the effect of degradation of the milk’s proteins.

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Fresh Water Fresh water is best for making tea. Rebolied water has lost some of the dissolved oxygen that is important in making the teas flavour.

Kettle Currently the most common kettles are either electrical or can be placed onto a hob. Kettles hold a volume of water that can be heated until it is boiled. Once the water is boiled the kettle either automatically switches off (electric) or whistles (hob). It is important to place the required about of water to be boiled in the kettle by not wasting energy. Kettles consume large amounts of energy to boil water.

Loose-leaf Tea There are lots of types of loose-leaf tea each with unique aromas and tastes. Personally I prefer Ceylonese tea as it is not much of a stimulant as it has little caffeine and it is more of a refreshing drink. The choice of tealeaves is quite a personal opinion and it is best to choose the one that suits your mood or even personality. Hot water should be poured directly only tealeaves as this releases the caffeine. Leaving the water with the tea (brewing) gives the colour and taste (tannins) of the tea. It is best to leave the hot water with the tea for 2-5 minutes depending upon the tealeaves. The longer the tea is left after this optimal time the tea starts to taste bad. Teaspoon A teaspoon is a small spoon specifically used for serving tea that is also an actual measurement. Metal teaspoons are best as these can be left in a mug of tea to help reduce the overall temperature. Plastic teaspoons have a tendency to break under high temperatures and are not environmentally friendly.

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Tea strainer The tea strainer is placed above a mug and hot tea from the teapot is poured through it. A tea strainer has to be made of fine mesh to stop tealeaves entering a mug and spoiling drinking the tea.

White Sugar Sugar is an optional extra used to sweeten the taste of the tea. Some say using sugar actually distracts from the real taste of the tea and results in merely tasting the sugar.

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Bibliography
1. B. Emsley. How to Make a Perfect Cup of Tea. Royal Society of Chemistry, 2003. 2. G. Orwell. A Nice Cup of Tea. Evening Standard, January 1946. 3. Tea Council, 2005. visited August 2005, http://www.tea.co.uk. 4. Tea Health, 2005. visited August 2005, http://www.teahealth.co.uk. 5. Twinings, 2005. visited August 2005, http://www.twinings.com. 6. Smart Tea Project, 2005. visited August 2005, http://www.smarttea.org/.

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