Reader question: Re-finding the tea ceremony

A good friend and very lady like individual recently inquired:

“When ordering hot tea, do you leave the tea bag in your cup or can you/should you put it on the side of your cup? I don’t like my tea to steep to a point that it’s too strong, so I pull it out. But then, I had extra water, so I put it back in and poured more water to create more tea.”

To answer her question we said:

If the cup is already filled with hot water, put the bag in right away (pointers for it served with a pot and a bag below). Allow it to steep for about five minutes or less, depending on your preferred strength. Remove the bag with your spoon and hold it over the cup to drain it and then lay the bag to rest on your saucer. If the tea is served in a mug without a saucer, ask for a small dish. If the server brings a pot of hot water, drop the tea bag in and wait for it to steep. Leave the bag in the pot after you’ve poured your cup. 

Tea should be fun and relaxing, so most importantly, enjoy it. That said, two more quick “don’ts”:

Don’t wind the string around the bag while it’s on your spoon and squeeze it.

Don’t pick up the bag by its string and shake it.

As usual, we wouldn’t deny you any of the above while in the privacy of  your own home, but do refrain while at the restaurant, tea room or in someone else’s living room.



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