Don’t Boil the Leaves

From Arthur’s Home Magazine, Vol. LIV No. 6, June 1886:

The Scotch do not say “make tea,” but “infuse tea,” which is more correct. Good tea is an infusion, not a decoction. By boiling the leaves, you get a bitter principle and drive off the delicate perfume of the tea. For this reason, the tea-pot should never be kept hot by letting it stand on the top of a cooking-stove, over a lamp, or where it is likely to be made to boil. Excessively bad tea is made by people who do not know better, by putting a small pinch of tea into a large kettle of water and letting it boil till they have extracted all its coloring matter, in which they think the goodness of tea consists. A metal tea-pot is better than an earthen one, and the brighter it is kept the better is the tea. Rinse the tea-pot with boiling water. Put in a bumping spoonful of tea for each person and one for the pot. Pour over it just enough boiling water to soak the tea. Let it stand a few minutes, and then fill up the pot with boiling water. Do not put in carbonate of soda to soften the water and make the tea draw better, i.e., to make a wretched saving of tea, unless you are in absolute poverty. The water, in fact, is softened by boiling, which causes it to deposit some of the matters it held in solution; witness, in long-used tea-kettles, the lime which settles at the bottom of many waters after boiling.

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