Tea refers to the leaves from a variety of plants that are steeped in water and enjoyed as a hot or cold beverage of the same name. Black tea is the term for tea leaves that have been allowed to ferment fully after they are picked and before they are dried. These yield a rich, strong, dark, and aromatic cup of tea. Familiar black varieties include Indian Assam, which is pungent and malty; Earl Grey, the main essence of which is oil of bergomot, creating a perfumed citrus aroma; Ceylon, which is slightly softer; Darjeeling, a deep reddish brown, full-flavored tea from northeastern India; thick-bodied keemun from northern China; and smoky Lapsang Souchong, produced in China, India, and Indonesia.
Herb teas are not made from tea leaves but from herbs and often blossoms and seasonings steeped in water. Popular herbal teas are peppermint and chamomile and blends that include rosehips, cinnamon, and other aromatic ingredients.To brew tea:
Bring fresh, cold water to a full rolling boil. Preheat the teapot by pouring in about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of hot water, swirling it around the pot, and pouring it out. Put 1 rounded teaspoon of tea leaves per cup into the pot, adding 1 teaspoon extra for pots holding 6 cups (48 fl oz/1.5 l) or more; alternatively, put the tea into an infusion ball. Add boiling water and steep for 3 minutes before serving. If not using an infusion ball, pour the tea through a fine-mesh strainer into each cup.