I love tea, my parents love tea - however a difference of opinion has arisen, namely; how strong should english breakfast tea be? My opinion is: 3 people 1 pot 2 tea bags. My parents the tea scrooges have, however, 1 bag per pot no matter how many people are drinking. Sometimes they feed up to 5 people from the same bag! It has ruined my tea drinking and caused lots of arguements - how can i make them see the light?
Dear Tiny Thea,
First, I have to commend you for surviving the years of torment you obviously had to endure with those "Scrooges." I can only imagine how many weak, lifeless cups of tea you were obliged to chug. It reminds me of myself as a lad, when I was forced to go to a summer camp that only served Lipton! (I guess we all do things to make our parents happy)[MR_TEA]
But I digress...
The trick to steeping English Breakfast tea correctly comes in three parts: time, temperature and volume.
Using too much tea will make your tea bitter and your wallet empty. Too little tea will bring a weak cup and possibly years of therapy. The volume that is considered the "golden ratio" of leaves to water is one teaspoon of leaves per cup of water. (Granted, I don't know what size pot your folks were using, but I doubt that their portions were in line with this ratio)
Now, I'm sure you've heard the phrase, "some like it hot"... but I bet you didn't know that they were talking about tea leaves! You should use boiling water (212F) when preparing English Breakfast.
Finally, they say that "time heals all wounds." However, it also makes most teas (and children) turn bitter. The rule of thumb is 5 minutes for English Breakfast — any longer, and they'll taste almost as bad as a cup of English coffee.
Using this method, you'll not only have a better taste in your mouth, but a happier family life! Best of luck.
Saving the world a day at a time,