Preparing the Perfect Pot of Tea

Begin by preheating the teapot with boiling water.

For the actual tea, use good-quality water. If tap water is undesirable, use filtered or bottled water. Boil, but do not over boil the water; water with plenty of oxygen best releases the flavors of the tea leaves.

Fully boiled water is best for black and oolong teas. For white or green tea leaves, allow the water to sit for a few minutes after boiling or remove from heat just before it reaches the boiling point.

Pour out the water from teapot that was used to warm the pot. Measure one teaspoon of leaves per cup (hence the name "teaspoon") and add them to the pot. Pour the boiled water on top of the leaves. Allow to steep anywhere from 1 minute to 5 minutes, depending on the tea variety. In general, 2–3 minutes is fine for most varieties of tea. (Note: If you choose to use teabags, steep for even less time, since the leaves used in most bags are very fine.)
Remove the leaves immediately if using an infuser, or catch the leaves with a strainer, or you can decant into another vessel before pouring the tea into the cups. Cover the pot with a tea cozy or use a tea-light stand with a lighted candle to keep hot for future cups.

White, green and oolong teas are best drunk clear. For black or flavored teas, you may want to add lemon, milk, sugar, honey or other sweetener to taste. Sip slowly and enjoy completely.

Some leaves, such as oolongs and many green teas, can be used again—the same day. Black teas are best used only once, although that is up to the individual.

Experiment with leaf amounts and steeping times. Drink tea the way you like it! Share a pot with a friend, neighbor or co-worker.

Chill remaining tea to use for iced tea, pour it into ice-cube trays to add to chilled tea, or sweeten and pour into molds with wooden sticks to create a fun and healthy frozen treat.