How to make the perfect cup of tea


Like any Irish girl, I love my cup of tea. I have had to cut back on the strong cups of black tea, in favour of some green tea. It will never hold quite the same place in my heart as a good old cup of Barry’s tea, but it is far healthier for me.

And now for the kind of research I like…..

A few quiet minutes with a cup of tea may help alleviate anxiety by creating an opportunity to relax and savor the moment. Green tea  has been part of Chinese healing traditions for thousands of years. Today, we know it contains the antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is thought to provide a range of benefits from cognitive awareness to a calm state of mind.

Regardless of its health benefits, tea can serve many therapeutic purposes, according to Thia McKann, owner of The Path of Tea, a tea shop in Houston. McKann offers two classes a month at M. D. Anderson’s Place … of wellness to introduce the basics of tea, from how to brew it to its soothing properties.
“Tea contains many antioxidants and has wonderful calming effects,” she says. “Making a cup of tea can be a way to honor someone as well.”

“Every culture has a ritual or ceremony around tea that has been used for years to foster a sense of community. It’s a way of bringing the whole world together, really. In the end, it’s about having companionship and community, and learning to be a good guest and a good host.”

To make the perfect cup of tea, McKann offers these recommendations:

  • Use filtered or spring water
  • Heat water in a teapot or kettle on the stove, not in a microwave
  • Remove the water from the heat when it produces tiny bubbles
  • Don’t bring the water to a rolling boil; the high temperature affects flavor
  • Use organic teas because they’re fresher and chemical free
  • Brew loose tea leaves instead of tea bags for maximum flavor and benefits
  • Add dried fruit or flower petals for a twist
  • Mix teas to create unique flavors
  • Brew white and green teas from two to three minutes
  • Brew oolong, black and herbal teas four minutes

Source: This story appeared in Cancer Wise (M.D. Anderson Cancer Center)