Radio Live - Home & Garden with Tony Murrell & Helen

How do you make that perfect cuppa'?

Generic question but there's always room for ones interpretation. My reasoning is simple...keep it simple...New Zealand has good tap water (although Councils are often talking about air and water quality) and most people do not have access to a fancy tea brewing machine. They rely on the whistling kettle to boil water.

So if that's the average Jill (like my mother), then my advice is:

  • Just before the whistle begins, turn it off.
  • Next pour in your boiled water into your teacups to simply warm the cups. That's an easy tip but often people fail to remember. Mind you most people have a 1000 things on their mind when brewing that special tea! 
  • Then pour that water out of the teacups, the water in the kettle should have come down from that 98 degrees.

Time to get the teapot this time and give it a good rinse.
These days teapots have a stainless steel or glass infuser(strainer) so that makes life easier. I tell my customers. The key to a good brew is actually warming your tools. In this case it is the cup and the teapot that one uses, and it needs that extra tender care.

As modern people we forget all the old wives tale and take short cuts. Therefore the brew also fails in delivering its full flavour, especially when most New Zealanders start their day with a ritual jolt of Black Tea; either an Earl Grey or just plain Black Tea. So for us since we specialise and advocate single origin, perhaps I am one of the few local tea vendors to do so and maybe the lady Guru-not sure??).

Black tea is generally brewed using 100 degrees of boiling water. (However, we prefer to brew it at 85 to 90) 

  • Next is putting in a teaspoonful of black tea into our already warmed teapot.
  • Leave it for approximately 3 minutes to give a full bodied brew

We tell our customers, if you want a stronger brew, don't over brew it by lengthening the time, instead be generous with having another teaspoonful of tea leaves into your teapot. Therefore, the brew time is the same, just that the tea leaves are increased.

Most of the time I also "beg' my tea drinkers, try it Black, without milk or sugar. Tea is a medicinal plant so by adulterating the tea with low quality light blue top milk, or skim milk...just kills the flavour of that special tea.

(This is of course my humble take on all things-have it the way it is supposed to be, or don't have it) Imagine having a single malt and killing its purity with cola, that's my analogy.



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