The Little Book of Tea Tips (Absolute Press, 2011) by Andrew Langley provides answers to all of your tea-related questions, showing you the best ways to brew the perfect cup of tea every time. The following excerpt is a list of some of his top tips for brewing tea.
1. Ordinary iced tea is one thing, but spicy icy tea is quite another. Brew up an aromatic tea such as Earl Grey, strain into a jug and add the following for a fresh spicy iced tea – cardamom pods, coriander seeds and black peppercorns (all crushed). Leave to steep for 3 hours, and mix in honey to taste.
2. Get rid of unwanted odors in the fridge by using another of tea’s amazing properties. Fill a cotton or muslin bag with green tea leaves and leave it inside the refrigerator.
3. Tea is a valuable fertilizer for your garden. It contains useful quantities of nitrogen, potash and other nutrients for plants. So always empty your tea pot onto the flower bed or the compost heap.
4. If you own an ice cream maker, it’s easy to make tea granite. Simply brew up and strain off about 1 liter of tea and stir in sugar. When cool, put in to the ice cream maker and slowly add a cup of milk. When it looks creamy, add a glass of white rum, blend and freeze.
5. Tea makes an unusual marinade, especially for chicken or vegetables. Try marinating some freshly-cooked French beans in a mixture of brewed tea (cooled) and chopped garlic.
6. Marbling turns a humble egg into a work of art. Hard-boil some eggs for 10 minutes. Remove them (keep the water) and gently crack the shells all over. Put 3 teabags into the water, plus a little salt. Return the eggs and simmer for 20 minutes. When cool, remove the shells and – hey presto!
7. A green tea poultice has a soothing effect on nasty insect bites. Brew the tea, then strain the leaves and squeeze out as much water as possible. Press the leaves on the bitten area of skin.
Reprinted with permission from The Little Book of Tea Tips (2011), by Andrew Langley and published by Absolute Press.