How to Make the Perfect Pot of Tea


While I join all of you in adoring a cup of strong, French coffee in the morning, for the afternoon there is nothing like a bracing pot of tea. Before going through the steps for making a perfect pot of tea which I learned from my European grandmother, I wanted to share some of what I discovered about the history of tea while researching for an article I wrote recently.

In the 1660’s, tea arrived in England, and was served in coffee houses and out-door tea gardens. When the Portuguese Catharine of Braganza arrived in London to marry Charles II in 1662, she brought her prized casket of tea. As Charles II grew up in exile in The Hague, Netherlands, he was accustomed to drinking tea, together they popularized the drinking of tea on a grand scale.


Antique English Tea Casket from FrenchGardenHouse Antiques

At the time, tea was consumed in a lady’s bedchamber, or closet, where the tea caddy was kept, along with delicate porcelain tea cups and other tea equipage. Households of the 17th and 18th century grand estates list tea pots in the inventories of closets or boudoirs, not kitchens or dining rooms.

Known as England’s first tea~drinking Queen, Catherine preferred tea as her temperance drink of choice, she replaced wine, ale and spirits with tea as the official court drink. Tea slowly gained social acceptance among the aristocracy as a fashionable luxury.

By the early 1700’s, tea had gained such popularity that practically everyone drank it if they could afford to do so. Tea Gardens became quite fashionable, ladies and gentlemen would take tea together outdoors in lush gardens. A place for high society to be seen and mingle with others of their class, everyone who was anyone enjoyed tea in a tea garden, including celebrated musicians such as Mozart.

“A ‘proper tea‘ is much nicer than a ‘very nearly tea’, which is one you forget about afterwards.” –A.A. Milne


“The spirit of the tea beverage is one of peace, comfort and refinement.” –Arthur Gray


I confess I often use a {I know, horrors!} teabag, but it really is true that there is nothing like a well made pot of tea using loose tea leaves. {If you don’t like the idea of loose tea in your pot, you can buy one of those handy “tea balls” that open to scoop fresh loose tea inside, then you hang it in the pot.}


How to Make A PERFECT Pot of Tea:

1. Empty the teakettle, then refill it with fresh cold water. Put the kettle on to boil.

2. As the kettle is heating the water, choose your tea pot, and fill it with some hot water to warm it.

3. Pour out the “warming water” then fill the pot with loose tea. Measure one teaspoon of tea for each cup, add an extra teaspoon of tea “for the pot.” Most teapots hold about six cups of tea. Close the lid of the pot, until your water boils.

4. When the kettle comes to a rolling boil, remove it from the heat and wait one minute. {Overboiled water has lost oxygen, and your tea will taste flat.}

5. Pour the boiling water into your pot, allow the tea to steep for three to six minutes. The smaller your tea leaves, the less time you will need to let it steep.

6. Keep a heated pot of water nearby to help dilute tea if it is too strong. Pour the tea through a tea strainer into the teacups.
My all time favorite tea is Earl Grey, it was named for Charles Grey, Prime Minister to King William IV. Legend has it that he saved a Mandarin’s son from drowning on a trade delegation to China in 1834. The grateful Mandarin shared his secret recipe with the Earl, which Charles brought back to England.

Shop Antique Porcelain Tea Pots & Cups

If you want to romance your Home and Garden with antique and vintage treasures to make you smile each time you come home, visit our shop FrenchGardenHouse.

5 thoughts on “How to Make the Perfect Pot of Tea”

  1. Boiling water poured on tea leaves will burn them. Always let the water sit for a minute to cool somewhat. Also, black tea needs water to be 208 degrees, with green and white teas at 175 degrees.

    1. You are right, Pam! That’s why I suggested that you wait one minute once the water boils and you have turned off the heat. There is nothing better than a perfect pot of tea to make any afternoon happy.

  2. Kym R. Brown

    Hi Lidy! loved your post. I’m doing a speaking engagement in March 8th on the history of tea. I’ll be using some of your info. Soooo glad we met. You truly are my inspiration! By the way I signed a lease today on a little cottage where I will open my tea and garden gift shop. Yaaay! So grateful for Launch Your Creativity!

    1. Hi Kym, so excited for you. You are living your dream, can’t wait to hear when your tea and garden gift shop is open. Good luck!!

  3. This is a very informative post Lidy. I will certainly put your tips to use. I am in love with the gorgeous purple limoges china pictured here. I have similar tea cups in the same purple colors.

    I hope you don’t mind if I share your post.



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