Although i'm not qualified to be a tea connoisseur, i do enjoy a nice cup of tea on weekend mornings or when i'm on leave. it's my elixir... especially after a tiring week, it's v v refreshing and a good cup of tea puts me in a good mood.
someone came back from india and got me some darjeeling tea leaves and i finally have the chance to try it =) i like loose leaves because it gives the leaves space to infuse so i'd make the tea in a teapot with strainer then pour the tea into the serving teapot. this is because if you let tea leaves sit in the tea, it'd get bitter >.<
this is how i make tea at home.
i fill kettle with water and bring to boil. when water is about to boil, i pour some into the first teapot then pour it into the serving teapot to warm the pots (to save water, i use the same water to warm two pots and a cup). leave the hot water in the serving teapot until ready. quickly wipe dry first teapot and add tea leaves. the rule states one teaspoon per cup plus one for the pot. i think it's personally preference. i'd adjust the amount depending on how strong the tea is and how strong i want it to be. once the water boils, pour it into the pot. for most english teas, the temperature should ideally be about 95 deg c, which is immediately after the water boils. i saw on TV someone said it has to be within 8 secs... oooohhh. for japanese green tea and some chinese teas, 60-70 deg c is ideal. that's when you see small bubbles.
cover with a tea cozy and wait. it's 3-4 min but can be up to 5 mins... again i feel it's personal preference. if you like it stronger then infuse longer. but anything 6 mins or more makes your tea bitter (well, some people like it a little bitter anyway... so as long as you like it... don't care la). i use an hour glass (with 1-3-5 min timings) and infuse about 5 mins. good teas will state the recommended temp of water and time to infuse.
when it's almost times up, i pour the hot water from the serving pot into the cup to warm the cup then empty both and quickly wipe dry. pour tea into serving pot.
cover with tea cozy, serve and enjoy! =)
if using teabag, you can skip the first teapot but make sure you remove the teabag after the preferred infusion time.
oh, for chinese tea, i'd use a chinese teapot and for japanese tea, japanese teapot (although sometimes i use these interchangeably =P)