Tea Cup
Fine tea should be drunk without milk or sweetener. Photo by A.G. Photographer | CSP.





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January 2006
Updated January 2009

Main Nibbles / Beverages / Teas

How To Make Tea

Page 3: Homemade Tea ~ Tea Bags, Iced Tea, Samovar, Sun Tea



This is Page 3 of a four-page article. Click on the black links below to visit other pages.


Using Tea Bags

The basic principles are the same for tea bags. Use two tea bags to make a six-cup pot of tea. Brew for 4 to 5 minutes.

  • Dip the tea bag several times during brewing—the agitation of the leaves inside the bag improves brewing.
  • When the brew time is up, give press the tea bag with a spoon to release the last bit of flavor and color from the tea; then remove and discard the bag.


The Samovar

The Russian method for preparing tea uses a samovar, a specially designed kettle. A small teapot with strong brewed tea is kept warm on a kettle called a samovar, which has is always at the ready with boiled water during the long, cold winter months. Tea is traditionally drunk in a glass, in finer households the glass has a silver holder. The tea concentrate is added to the glass, then hot water from the samovar. Cherry preserves are the sweetener of choice, added with a spoon. During the winter season, water is always boiling in the samovar so that black tea can be enjoyed all day long. Russians often drink tea with rum or vodka in order to keep warm.

Samovar spacer Modern Samovar spacer Tea Glasses
A 19th-century samovar. The small pot on the top holds the tea concentrate and is warmed by a flame underneath. The large urn holds the boiling water and is warmed by a central heating unit. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.org.

  A modern samovar by Mikasa, is popular with contemporary Russians. “To sit around the samovar” means to have a cup of tea and chat.
  Drink your tea Russian-style in a pewter-handled glass. Add a spoonful of cherry preserves instead of sugar. Simple, elegant lines fit with both modern and classic decors. Click here for more information.


Making Iced Tea

Because ice will dilute the strength of the tea, use double the quantity of either loose tea or tea bags to make a whole pot of strong tea. After brewing, pour into individual ice-filled glasses or a pitcher. Iced tea can be refrigerated. (The correct terminology is iced tea, not ice tea: the tea is served cooled or iced instead of hot.)

Sun Tea

Campers have learned to make sun tea: one places tea bags and water in a glass or plastic container. It sits in the sun for several hours, where solar heat brews the components into a weak tea. This is a method of necessity, not of choice: fine tea needs a fast infusion of boiling or near-boiling water to fully release its aromatic oils and to create a hearty brew.


Continue To Page 4: Serving & Drinking The Tea

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