You are a gentleman. I am dubbing you one and you are going to learn to drink tea like one. This is important and is a skill that you will use for the rest of your life (if you know what’s good for you).
The art of drinking tea (like a goddamn gentleman) has been around for thousands of years. Ancient British and Chinese cultures had complex and sometimes beautiful rituals around the tea serving process. These rituals have changed over the years but many of the basics have remained exactly the same.
These rituals weren’t made up just for the hell of it. Who would go through all that crap just for tea? Hell, you could just buy some from the guy at ye olde Starbucks.
They created these rituals as a form of meditation and relaxation. The tea ceremony helped people clear their mind, relax, reduce stress and generally figure things out. Other forms of meditation include chanting, dancing or even counting to ten, but this form actually produces something delicious.
So I am going to teach you these basics.
Why? Because it will impress women, impress your boss and get some culture into your head.
There are two kinds of tea drunk around the world: bagged and loose-leaf. The instructions I shall bequeath upon you will work fine for both. I’ll make amendments where necessary. You should use loose leaf though…seriously.
Loose leaf tea has a slew of benefits. It can be reused multiple times, it tastes about 400,000,000 times better and the price really isn’t that much higher. Not to mention it just screams sophistication when you open a drawer to make tea and pull out tins of dried leaves imported from around the world…versus opening a box of Tetley.
Back to my lesson:
First, get out your ceramic teapot. Metal teapots will not do. Seriously, metal changes the taste, get a nice ceramic one. This teapot is never to be washed with soap. You may clean it after use with hot water and hot water alone. Take some boiling water and pour it into the teapot, swirl it around a bit. Think you’re done? Swirl it a bit more to be sure. Now you’re done.
Next, take some pure, cold water and bring it to boil in a tea kettle, saucepan…any way you wish. Before it boils—like, a few seconds before that water starts to fully boil, take it off the stove and pour it into the teapot.
This is not tea yet. Do not drink it.
For each person who is joining you in this tea adventure, put one spoonful of tea leaves into the pot and then add one more “for the pot.” If you’re using tea bags, just use one tea bag per person and one extra for the pot. But why the hell would you use tea bags? Are you some kind of animal?
Let it sit for six minutes. It is now tea. The tea leaves should have settled, but tip the tea pot gently as you pour to make sure they stay at the bottom.
Pour the newly made tea first into your friends’ cups, and then into yours. It is customary to do it in a clockwise direction starting immediately to your left. You must be using tea cups, not mugs. You may then add milk and sugar to taste, although why you would do such a thing to the beauty of tea (tarnishing it with your wicked milk) is beyond me.
You absolutely must serve biscuits at this point. If you don’t, you are liable to be shot on sight.
Play some jazz or classical music and enjoy.
Kole McRae is the writer behind Chilled Soda, a site devoted to the chill things in life.