morning tea has a become ritual for me. i like a thick porcelain or stoneware mug, heavy in the hand and without handle – god no! i need to wrap four fingers and thumb right around, palm too. on a cold winter day i’ll even use two, one overlapping the other.
a perfect brew is both soothing and exhilarating, like a shot of fresh air but deeper. my favorite is a proper english breakfast or a sultry assam. on ambitious mornings, i’ll do an earl grey darleeling blend. when i get the proportions just right the darjeeling gathers enough strength to lift the fat scent of bergamot, landing it smoothly on the back of the throat. the tease is intoxicating.
i like mine with milk, room temperature is best. never heated if i can help it as the taste of cooked dairy adds nothing to the cup. of course, if i sip a little too slowly and the tea teeters on the edge of lukewarm, threatening to take the plunge, i’ll give it a 15 second zap. because once hot tea going cold sucks. my sweetener like an afterthought, essential, but not sorely missed if skipped altogether. a drop of amber honey – about a half teaspoon, drizzled and stirred, will do me just fine.
earl grey darjeeling blend
for a pot of 4 eight ounce servings
1 & 1/2 teaspoons loose leaf earl grey
2 & 1/2 teaspoons loose leaf darjeeling
1. warm the tea pot up by running the hottest tap water you can through it.
2. place tea leaves in tea strainer or ball and place in tea pot.
3. in a kettle, saucepan or electric kettle bring water barely to the boil.
4. pour boiled water over tea and into tea pot.
5. let steep for 5 minutes – remove tea strainer or ball.
6. add room temperature milk and sweetener as desired.