Preparing Tea Effortlessly (or so it will seem)
Advance preparation is everything when entertaining more than a couple of friends; a little effort in the kitchen will allow you to enjoy your visit and after all, isn't that what "tea" is all about? Below are simple directions for preparing delicious tea every time!
Making a Really good cup of Tea
For a good cup of tea, you really do need good tea and good water. Make sure that the tea has not been in your cupboard for over a year or stored in a container exposed to air and light. If you do not have filtered water, I’d suggest boiling your water for about 10 minutes and then chilling it; it will taste better. One of the most difficult things about having a tea party for a crowd is keeping the tea hot, fresh and flowing. I make a couple of concentrates, usually a "decaf" and a regular black or oolong tea. Green teas are another option. The choice is yours! For a large party, it is good to have helpers that have been trained to serve the tea personally to each guest. On one occasion the teens were especially delighted to help! They said they never saw women drink so much tea! It was good for them to see grown women giggling and laughing together as it was surely good for us.
Follow these simple rules for perfect results:
1. Preheat teapot by rinsing it out with hot water.
2. Use one tea bag or teaspoon of tea for each cup.
3. Bring freshly drawn cold water to a full rolling boil and pour over the tea.
4. Brew for three to five minutes.
To serve a large crowd: Make a hot tea concentrate: Bring 1-1/2 quarts of cold fresh water to a full rolling boil. Remove from heat and immediately add 1/4 pound loose tea (or ¼ pound tea bags).
Stir to immerse leaves. Cover. Let stand 5 minutes. Strain into teapot until ready to use. (This makes enough concentrate for 40 to 45 cups; double recipe for 85 to 90 cups of tea.) When ready to serve: Bring out a pot full of piping hot water. Pour about 2 Tablespoons of concentrate into a cup and fill cup with water.
To make perfect iced tea: Follow the rules for hot tea but use 1 and ½ times as much tea to compensate for the ice cubes. Example: Use 6 tea bags for 4 glasses of iced tea.
To make iced tea by the pitcher: Use this easy open saucepan method. Bring 1 quart of freshly drawn cold water to a full rolling boil in a saucepan. Remove from the heat and immediately add 1/3 cup loose tea or 15 tea bags. Brew 5 minutes, uncovered. Stir and strain into a pitcher holding another quart of freshly drawn water. Do not refrigerate. Pour over ice cubes when ready to serve. Makes 2 quarts of tea.
Another thing to consider for a drink buffet. Seems everyone like something different in their iced-tea and sugar does not dissolve well in cold tea, so I have a pitcher of old-fashioned Simple Syrup on hand for those that prefer old-fashioned sugar!
Sugar adds very little volume when added to water.
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour in sugar. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove saucepan from heat and
allow contents to cool. Refrigerate in a sealed container until ready for use.