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tea1. For a really superior cup of tea, you can slice open a teabag (I find that scissors work best) and pour the contents directly into your mug. This is called “loose leaf” tea, and it’s a pretty neat trick when you want to show off in front of guests.

2. Always pour the milk in first. If you’re drinking Earl Grey, the ratio should be at least two parts milk to one part tea.

3. Be sure to follow this rule of thumb: one dip of the tea bag is more than enough. You don’t want to overwhelm the flavor of the water with an overlong steep.

4. Alternately, you can buy a can of iced tea and heat it up on the stove or microwave (be sure to pour it out of the can into a microwave-safe dish first!).

5. Remember, all teas are herbal teas. Tea is an herb, so don’t worry about the name on the label. If it says tea, it’s tea.

6. Be sure to let the water cool for at least ten minutes after boiling before adding tea. This way it will be cool enough to drink right away.

7. If you’re putting sugar in, be sure to use the same spoon for scooping sugar out of the jar and for stirring the tea. This brings good luck.

8. Be sure to leave the tea bag in the mug until you’re completely finished. The bag will repeatedly bump into your lips the more you drink, delivering a more concentrated tea flavor directly to your mouth.

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