1. Put the kettle on to boil.
2. When it has almost boiled, splash some of the hot water into the teapot and swish it around to warm the pot. You can use a china pot or a stainless-steel one. I prefer china, because it looks so nice and I think the flavour’s better.
3. Empty the pot, then pop in your tea leaves or bags. I don’t have a preference, as I think there are some very nice tea bags around at the moment and some lovely flavours, but some people insist on real tea leaves. If you’re using leaves, a teaspoon of leaves for each person plus one for the pot is the usual rule of thumb.
4. Make sure the water is boiling properly; have your teapot beside the kettle and pour the boiling water over the leaves or bags. This is the most important step. If you haven’t got a kettle, make sure water is boiling furiously in the saucepan. (That’s 100°C, for those of you who remember your science lessons.)
5. Leave the tea to draw. Five minutes will be just perfect. Anything shorter and you’ll have ‘gnat’s pee’, as my granny used to call it. A friend of mine says that if you can stand a spoon up in it, it’s perfect, but I don’t like it quite that strong. If you’re using a china pot use a tea cosy, because you don’t want the tea to go cold.
6. Some people like to warm the cups as well, but this shouldn’t be necessary if the tea is nice and hot. I always pour the tea first and then add the milk, because that way you can judge how much milk the tea needs. Enjoy!