Some Like Coffee, Some Like Tea

and I love them both. For many years I didn't drink tea at all, associating it with childhood colds and fevers when my mother would bring a cup of hot tea to my bedside. Actually I didn't become a big tea appreciator until i visited Kate Coldrick in Devon, England, and discovered her husband Oliver's favorite tea: Dilmah Premium Ceylon . I learned from Kate to allow it to brew for only 2 minutes instead of the usual 4 to 6 to keep it from becoming bitter. And I like to add a teaspoon of honey and a touch of heavy cream. But the most important thing about brewing tea after the quality of the tea itself is the quality and temperature of the water. Different types of teas require different water temperatures to reach their peak of flavor. I've had Japanese green tea that required water that was barely warm. I find that black tea has the best flavor when brewed with water around 203F/95C which is below boiling. Using water that is too hot can result in bitterness. Until recently, I had been heating the water for the tea in the microwave and often I didn't catch it before it came to a boil. Then I discovered the Chef'sChoice "SmartKettle," which makes it possible to set precise temperatures and knew at once that it was the answer. Not only does it maintain the temperature setting until ready to pour, once shut off and cooled the illuminated read-out doubles as a room thermometer! And is is faster than the microwave.