I’ll say it honestly, I’m not good in the kitchen. If someone needs help in the kitchen, my two hands won’t be of much use. Can’t cook to save my life. Maybe I should learn, but no body has the time to teach a klutz like me to operate in a kitchen.
That’s what friends are for, I guess.
My friend, let’s call him Mr. R, is a chef in the making. He has broken away from his IT academic background and has entered the kitchen all knives a-blazing. And I mean that literally. He loves it! If you just listen to him describe the way a kitchen works and all the fun things he does, it’ll make you yearn to be a chef too. But being a chef is not everyone’s thing.
He and I got to talking one day and I told him, quite frankly, that I am useless in the kitchen. Max I can do is maybe make a cup of Tea. Just one. Quantity mocks me, as the numbers increase I find myself stuck behind a cauldron in potions class with the mind of Neville Longbottom. Thankfully, there is no Snape breathing down my neck. Anyway, I told him I could make tea, which wasn’t great but serviceable. I told him how I usually make it.
I won’t repeat those mistaken steps here, for I’ll embarrass myself further. Mr.R recognised my mistakes early on. After a few minutes of admonishments, he told me how to make a good, strong cup of tea.
Here is what he suggested:
- Add water into a pot and add sugar(1 Tea-spoon) if you wish to, so it can dissolve in the water. This way you work with sweet water instead of putting sugar in your tea. (If you wish to add lemon, honey, or certain herbs, now is the right time)
- Let the water boil on a stove for 40-50 seconds (As I am making just one cup of tea, the quantity of water I use is quite less, and the water begins to boil quickly.)
- Once the water is boiling, add your choice of tea leaves to it. 2 Tea-spoons.
- Once you add the tea leaves, that’s when we do the most important part of the making. There is a word used for the preparation of these beverages. Not just any word. You don’t make tea. You don’t cook tea. You don’t boil it. You brew it.
- Once you add the tea leaves, keep the flame on high and brew the mixture. Let the essence of the tea leaves spread out into the water. That is what brewing is. Let the water rise up and bring it down just to get it to rise again. Do this for about 45-50 seconds. The more you brew the tea, the stronger it’ll be.
- Now, you are good to go. Black Tea is ready.
But what about us, who like a little milk in their tea?
- Add it now, once the brewing is complete. (Never add the milk before brewing the tea, because brewing tea and milk, together, produces a kind of poison that is not good for the body. When you add milk in the later stages, after brewing, it mixes with the tea infused water and not the tea leaves.)
- Now let the tea simmer a little on a low flame for a minute. Let the milk heat up. Brew it once or twice just to satisfy yourself that the tea is being made (not necessary). The aroma that rises up from it will be a clear indicator that you have followed the right steps. The tea is now ready to be poured.
Filter it, pour it into your cup and enjoy the delights of a good, strong cup of tea.
I have been living without the benefits of a good tea in the early mornings for a long time, but now I know how to make it, thanks to my friend who is a chef (in training, yes, but I have full faith in him). Even you can now. No more will I be bereft of my favourite hot beverage, and even though coffee has been more of a friend to me, tea will always be my first love. A cup to start the day with.