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Tea

Selection of Tea

In the course of its preparation, tea is rolled either into long, slender pieces or into little balls. Knowing this, the housewife should be able to detect readily the stems and other foreign material sometimes found in teas, especially the cheaper varieties. Such teas should be avoided, for they are lacking not only in flavor but also in strength. If economy must be practiced, the moderately expensive grades will prove to be the best ones to buy.

Methods of Making Tea

Upon steeping tea in hot water, a very pleasant beverage results. If this is properly made, a gentle stimulant that can be indulged in occasionally by normal adults without harmful results can be expected. However, the value of tea as a beverage has at all times been much overestimated. When it is served as afternoon tea, as is frequently done, its chief value lies in the pleasant hospitality that is afforded by pouring it. Especially is this the case in England, where the inhabitants have adopted the pretty custom of serving afternoon tea and feel that guests have not received the hospitality of the home until tea has been served. Through their continued use of this beverage, the English have become expert in tea making.

The Russians are also adepts so far as the making of tea is concerned. They use a very good kind of tea, called caravan tea, which is packed in lead-covered packages and brought to them by caravans. This method of packing and delivery is supposed to have a ripening effect on the leaves and to give them an unusually good flavor. For making tea, the Russians use an equipment called a samovar. This is an urn that is constantly kept filled with boiling water, so that tea can be served to all visitors or callers that come, no matter what time of day they arrive.

Most persons, however, make tea into a beverage by steeping it in boiling water or by placing it in a tea ball or some similar utensil and then allowing it to stand in boiling water for a short time. Whichever method of preparation is followed, the water must be at the boiling point and it must be freshly boiled. Water that has been boiled for any length of time becomes very insipid and flat to the taste and affects the flavor of the tea. Tea leaves that have been used once should never be resteeped, for more tannin is extracted than is desirable and the good tea flavor is lost, producing a very unwholesome beverage. As a rule, 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoonfuls of tea to 1 cupful of water is the proportion followed in tea making.

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Source

Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Volume 5.


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