If English people only drink it at 4 o'clock, the tea lovers drink it throughout the whole day as there are such a lot of varieties to choose from. Strong to start the day, light and relaxing in the evening, tea has numerous virtues.
The purists associate the preparation of this drink with a calm and serene philosophy of life. If it is not always easy for the lay consumer to respect each of the steps of the tea ritual down to the last comma, there are however some fundamental rules to observe in order to taste one's tea in the best possible conditions.
Take your time
In any case preparing and savouring tea is not something one does in a rush. Ideally, one must prepare the tea pot and the cups or bowls to receive tea by pouring in boiling water, called "announcing water". This will help to keep the tea hot longer. After few minutes throw away this "first water" and add only the correct amount of tea in the tea pot. While the leaves are opening and releasing their perfume, warm the water up. Do not boil it ever, it must be at maximum on a high simmer so as not to burn the tea.
The right timing
Do not forget the brewing time. Do not let the tea steep in longer than necessary; it would then be over done. Now you can throw away the first water from the cups and serve the tea. Inhale all its aromas and let yourself be penetrated by all its goodness. Stéphanie Guillaume