Making the perfect cup of tea (sharing your loves with your girls)

November 21, 2013 in recipes,Repost

This post on tea was originally written for Paloma who writes the The Coffee Shop blog. I am reposting it here because tomorrow understanding my tea passion will help you understand my parenting fail, which is the subject of my post tomorrow. It’s called, “Do as I say not as I do: when you fail in front of your kids”

I hate coffee. The smell is fabulous. I never could acquire the taste. If it hadn’t been for that tea party in Boston, America might never have became a nation of coffee drinkers!

Winter in the Midwest necessitates that each resident has a favorite hot drink. Mine is tea. At first, I was tentative. Tea is deceptive like its cousin coffee. It can smell much better than it tastes. The first tea I loved was called Licorice Spice by Stash. It was sweet and smelled like it tasted. The aftertaste was subtle and pleasant.

After my first baby I became a tea snob. Once a week my dear husband would give me the morning off from mommy duties. My favorite spot to unwind became a tea shop (not a drop of coffee in sight) near the capitol building in Des Moines called Gong Fu (the art of tea). Two friends had traveled the world searching for the best teas and learning about them. They passed their knowledge onto their customers.

I learned that green and white teas should never meet boiling water. And they shouldn’t sit in the hot water for more than 2 minutes. They taught me that to decaffeinate a tea, pour the hot water over the tea, wait 10-20 seconds and dump the water out. Most of the caffeine will come out in those first seconds. Use the same tea leaves and repour the water and enjoy decaf. I learned about the smooth clay cups used in India to serve chai. In India, the cups are thrown on the ground and broken when the drinker is done. Food and drinks are better with story and expertise to enhance them. We moved from Des Moines a year after my new found love of green tea began.

As a mom, I’ve passed on my love of tea to my two girls. They are 8 and 10 but love tea. In drinking tea together, we’ve all expanded our list of favorite teas. Almost every afternoon we have tea time (so very British of us!). We switch it up regularly. Some days we do smooth mint teas, others we try American fruit teas like raspberry or peach. And recently after reading a fabulous young adult lit book called The Tea Shop Girls (so many tea facts packed into an appealing YA book for girls), we’ve been loving black teas like English Breakfast or Earl Grey with a little cream and sugar.

how to make green teaI try to keep my girls away from teas with caffeine, but their favorite tea is a white tea (which has 1% of the caffeine found in coffee). Sharing my drink love with my girls means we all squeal when are in a city with a chain store called Teavana. There are always 4-5 tea samples around the store and all their teas are loose (meaning not in a bag). Our favorites so far are Youthberry White and Jasmine Green. But good tea is useless if you make it wrong. And my girls know how to make perfect cup of tea. Let me share.

  • Find a quality tea. It doesn’t have to be loose, but fresh loose teas have the best flavors and they are beautiful (full of dried leaves, fruits, and flowers). Start heating your water. Know your tea. Read the brewing directions on the label because all are not equal (the first tea lesson I had to unlearn). If you can, use a clear mug to watch the color ooze.
  • If you have green or white tea, let the water boil and then cool to 180 degrees Fahrenheit before using (fill your tea cup with boiling water add an ice cube or two and the water is ready for tea). Overly hot water will turn green and white teas into bitter concoctions. And with these teas, don’t let the tea sit in the water for more than 1-2 minutes for green and 2-3 minutes for white. The girls and I always add 2-3 drops of liquid Stevia to sweeten our tea though others prefer honey or rock sugar.
  • ┬áIf you have a herbal or black tea, the water temperature can be boiling. The soaking time does not matter except according to your preferences, usually 4-5 minutes is best.
  • And if you are looking for an easy Chai recipe, try this one.

Now you can make a cup of green tea without a bitter taste. It might surprise you. What personal passion or hobby have you taught your girls to enjoy with you?

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Pam November 21, 2013 at 3:39 pm

How nice to share this love of tea with your daughters. I love tea, but I didn’t know most of the facts you posted. I’m glad to have all of this info. Now I want to go out and get some new tea!

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pruningprincesses November 21, 2013 at 6:00 pm

So glad you learned new things today. If you lived nearby I would have you over and make a perfect cup of Jasmine green.

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Tragic Sandwich November 21, 2013 at 6:01 pm

I grew up drinking tea with my mother. Even though it was just Lipton’s, in bags, it was something that we really loved sharing with one another. How nice that you can do that with your daughters, too!

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pruningprincesses November 21, 2013 at 11:17 pm

We do love our tea around here. I think anything you can share with your mom where you focus on each other is special. Thanks for stopping by.

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Caroline November 27, 2013 at 1:34 am

Wow! I can’t wait to decaffienate some Irish Breakfast Tea!! My favorite part of Ireland was my morning cups with breakfast. I love tea, too; but I am not knowlegeable to be a snob yet.;) My mom started me on pepermint and spearmint as a baby. She claims that all the Amish familys did it (she was raised Amish). My favorite is a balsam mint from my mom’s garden. I drank some at my Grandma’s visitation and it was so soothing. My girls and I both love knitting and making jewelry after I hooked them on it!

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