Smoky Mountain Coffee, Herb and Tea Co.
Official Tea Company of The Traveling Tea Ladies Murder Mystery Series          

Coffee and Tea Tips


 In the same amount of time that you measure level scoops of coffee for the coffee maker and add ounces of water, you can prepare a cup or pot of tea.

Step One: Select your tea pot.
Porcelain or pottery is the better choice versus silver plated tea pots which can impart a slightly metallic taste. Make sure your tea pot is clean with no soapy residue and prime your tea pot by filling it with hot water, letting it sit for a few minutes and then pouring the water out so that your pot will stay warm longer!


Begin with the cleanest, filtered, de-chlorinated water you can. Good water makes a huge difference. Many of my tea room guests have asked why their tea doesn't taste the same at home. The chlorine in the water is often the culprit of sabotaging a great pot of tea.

Be sure your water comes to a rolling boil and quickly remove it. If you let it boil continuously, you will boil out all the oxygen and be left with a "flat" tasting tea. Please do not microwave your water. It can cause your water to “super boil” and lead to third degree burns. If you are in a situation where you don't have a full kitchen, purchase an electric tea kettle to quickly and easily make your hot water.

And NEVER, NEVER, EVER MAKE TEA IN A COFFEE MAKER! I cannot tell you how I cringe when asked if it's okay. Coffee drinkers don't want to taste tea and tea drinkers don't want to taste coffee. Period! End of story! Golden rule- no coffee makers! Now that we've cleared that up, let's measure out our tea!
Step 3: Measure Out Your Tea.
It's easy! The formula is one teaspoon of loose tea per 8 ounces of water. For example, if you are using a 4 cup teapot, you would use 4 teaspoons of tea, maybe a little less depending on your personal taste. Measure your tea and place inside a “t-sac” or paper filter made for tea, infuser ball, or tea filter basket. Place the tea inside your pot and now you're ready for steeping.

Step 4: Steeping Times and Temperature.
This is the key!
*Black teas- steep for 3-4minutes with boiling water (212 degrees)
*Herbals, Tisanes and Rooibos- boiling water, Steep for 7 minutes.
*Oolongs- 195 degree Water. Steep for 3 minutes.
*Whites and Greens- Steaming water- 175 degrees. Steep for 3 minutes.
Over steeping any tea will make your tea bitter! Use a timer and get it right.  Using water that is too hot for whites and greens will also make your tea bitter!
Got Milk?
Many tea drinkers are under the misconception that cream should be added to your tea, not milk. Actually cream and half-n-half are too heavy. Milk can be added to most black teas and to some oolongs. I don't recommend it for herbals, greens and whites.
The debate continues as to whether to pour milk into your cup before your tea or to add milk after you pour your tea. Really, the decision is yours! I always recommend tasting your tea first before adding milk or any sugar. You would be surprised how perfectly wonderful many teas are without any additions.
I think you're ready to start your tea adventure!

                                                                                                Until Our Next Pot of Tea,

                                                                                                                                     Melanie O'Hara
                                                                              Author of The Traveling Ladies Murder Mystery Series