Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tea and Roses

Photos: Callies Portrait Photography

Tea and roses...nothing is quite so lovely on a rainy March afternoon as a delicious cup of tea to warm your soul. Especially when everything has a sentimental memory attached. Drinking from tea cups lovingly collected on vacations bring back happy memories of sunny carefree days. Tea puchased at Laduree in Paris called Marie Antoinette made of roses, jasmine, orange, grapefruit, honey, nuts in a black china tea reminds me of my wedding anniversary spent there. And my very favorite teapot, a child sized pink and gold rose teapot was given to me by my husband for Christmas. I've never seen another like it and wonder if there are a cream and sugar bowl that match. I've searched the internet looking for more information about it to no avail. If you know anything about this tiny rose shaped teapot please leave a comment.
Here are my tips for a perfect cup of tea:

1. Begin by running your tap water for a while to get cold oxygenated water, even better if you have a filter on your faucet.

2. Bring water to a rolling boil for black tea but not quite boiling for an herbal infusion

3. Never pour boiling water into a delicate antique teapot. If it has small fractures, you will shatter the pot. Before you add your tea slowly warm your pot under the tap, starting at cold water and moving toward the hottest water in your tap.

4. Add a sufficient amout of tea, loose or bags, depending on the size of your pot, not the number of people being served as many books suggest. For a small rose teapot like mine above, a heaping teaspoon will do just fine. I usually add about a teaspoon per cup of water for strong flavored teas and a tablespoon per cup of water for mild flavored teas or herbal infusions.

5. Let the tea steep for three to five minutes, pour and enjoy. Add cream, sugar or lemon to taste. Although the French would gasp at the thought of ruining the perfume of the tea by adding cream, I really love the addition of half and half or real cream in a strong black tea.

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