The tea you buy in the supermarket is a delicate blend of some 20 to 30 varieties. Quality varies according to the soil, climate and altitude in which it is grown and the age and size of the leaves when they are picked.

Tea connoisseurs rarely drink blended teas, preferring to brew their own the more traditional ways, from their own choice of leaves. Thus such teas are indeed richer, more flavorful and enjoyable.  One has only to note the difference between freshly brewed leaves once and anything in a teabag to know the true difference.

Broadly classified, there are three types: black, oolong and green.

Black tea derives its color from a special processing treatment in which the leaves are allowed to oxidize. This turns the leaves black and produces a rich brew.

Oolong tea is semioxidized. Its leaves are brown and green. It brews light in color.

Green tea is not oxidized, thus the leaves remain green. The brew is pale green in color.

PREPARATION METHOD Whether you use loose tea or tea bags, the preparation method is the same:

Start with a spotlessly clean teapot made of glass, china or earthenware. Add rapidly boiling water; allow to stand a few minutes, then pour out.

Heat cold water, preferably distilled, to a full rolling boil.

Add tea or bags to the warm pot, allowing 1 teaspoon of loose tea or 1 tea bag for each cup of tea desired. Pour boiling water over tea (3/4 cup for each cup of tea); let stand 3 to 5 minutes to bring out the full flavor. Stir the tea once to ensure uniform strength.

Do not judge the strength of tea by its color; You must taste it.

Strain the tea or remove tea bags. Serve with sugar and milk or lemon if desired.

Prepare instant tea, a concentrate, according to the directions on the jar, though we dare say, shame on you!

We recommend Harney Teas for the best quality anywhere in the world.

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