Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Recipe for a perfect cup of tea.

1. Three quarters of a cup of water corresponds to 1 cup of tea with milk.
2. Multiply the above fraction with the number of people you wish to entertain OR with the number of times you wish to have a cup of tea before you decide to quit for the day (or the hour or the minute)
3. Put the water on high flame. Leave it alone without trying to set it up with sugar or tea prematurely.
4. When the water comes to a good boil, reduce the flame and add tea ( about 1 tea-spoon per cup) . Cover it immediately. Ideally tea should be made at around 600C because it is leaching of the tea extract into the water. If you hurry up this process by severe boiling and leaving it open, there could be a colossal amount of loss of flavor.
5. Any flavors that you may wish to add must go in right after the tea on the same temperature conditions. Specific flavors that I recommend are Lemon grass, Ginger and Cardamom. Flavors of any kind are extremely heat sensitive. So if you put in a lot in the beginning and let it boil like a hell fire, you are being inefficient and wasteful. A good temperature regulation can extract a large amount of flavor from a relatively small amount of source (ginger, lemongrass etc).
6. Switch off the heating source. DO NOT REMOVE THE LID. Let the ingredients of your tea get to know each other well for at least 2 minutes. Let them team up to create the irresistible fragrance that every tea enthusiast longs to smell first thing in the morning.
7. It is a good idea to warm up the milk and separate the cream while the tea brews. In my personal opinion pouring refrigerated milk directly into warm tea is a sign of uncouthness and extreme impatience. It disturbs the camaraderie of tea with its other colleagues.
8. Now strain your precious tea into a cup. You will notice that it is not entirely three quarters of a cup, but it is okay as meager evaporative losses are always accommodated. Pour in the separately heated milk. Add sugar.
9. If you intend to use a tea bag instead of powder, pour the boiling hot water in a covered kettle and put the tea bag in. In any case however, the milk should be used only after elevating its temperature to a good 600C.

Additional Suggestions

1. A good tea goes well with cookies. However they should not be those really ornate cookies with walnuts and pistachios. The cookies should be only as good as not to undermine or insult your tea and only compliment it.
2. For break fast, you could team your tea with toast and blackberry jam; Black tea with lemon works wonders after a heavy lunch when you have to get back to work; In the late afternoons, it should be accompanied by an occasional cake or a muffin since you need energy to go shopping right after work.

The way you make tea reflects a lot about your personality, because a great cup of tea demands a lot of patience, intuition and class. ;)


Rohit said...

Technical comment: While ginger and lemongrass need high water temperature to be extracted, cardamom loses it flavor at high temp and hence should be delayed.

On a side note, try wine tasting. Its fun!

Ameya said...

ahhh... I need to take lessons from you.
My way of making tea is to put a cup of water in a vessel. add 2 tea spoons of sugar,one tea spoon of tea powder,some milk(from the fridge) abd keep it on the gas,waiting for it to boil. Then it will boil. let it boil for a minute.
then strain it in a cup. it eventually turns out that a cup is not enough for the tea. so strain it in 2 cups.
Drink it.
I can bear maximum half a cup. then I either throw away the rest or if Aai or Aji r in front of me I gulp down the rest to save an hours lecture on 'how I am insensitive and majkhor and how India is a poor country'.
So I REALLY need lessons from u ;)

Ameya said...

and yeah.... I HATE to drink flavoured tea. So I keep the flavour our of it.

shirish said...

I think now you are so bugged up with ISO 17025 that you have documented the tea receipy.Good habit!