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How to Make a Proper Cup of Tea
by Sharmagne Leland-St. John

Boiling water is very important in the making of a cup of very good tea.  Do not boil the water more than three or four minutes.  Longer boiling ruins the water for making tea, as most of its properties escape by evaporation leaving an insipid liquid composed mostly of lime and iron.

Water left in the tea kettle overnight must never be used for preparing any tea.  No matter how excellent the quality of your tea, it will be ruined by the addition of water that has been boiled more than once.

Once the water has boiled, pour a bit into the teapot, swirl it around to warm the teapot then pour out the water.  Place one teaspoon loose tea per guest into the warmed teapot and one teaspoon "for the pot," then add the boiling water.  Replace lid and cover with a tea cozy or tea towel and let steep for 5 minutes or to desired strength.  Use a tea strainer to fill your guests tea cup.

I generally serve Russian Caravan tea, loved for it's smoky flavour and can be sweetened with cherry preserves.  Or, I will also serve a combination of English Breakfast tea mixed with an equal amount of Earl Grey tea.

Here are some traditional Native American teas:

Field Mint Tea

10 large stalks fresh mint, washed
2 quarts cold water

Place mint and water in a large sauce pan and bring slowly to a boil. Turn off the heat, cover and let the "tea" steep for 5 or more minutes (to desired strength).  Strain and serve. Sweeten with honey if desired.

Juniper or Spicewood Tea

20 tender young sprigs of juniper or spicewood, washed
2 quarts cold water

Place the sprigs and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat. Let simmer gently for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the tea steep for another 10 minutes. Strain and serve. May be sweetened with honey, if desired.

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