In a bowl or jar, mix together the black tea of your choice and the maple sugar.
Store in an airtight, dark container, away from any light until ready to use.
For Hot Tea:
Preheat a teapot or "hot the pot" by rinsing it out with hot water. By insulating the teapot, it keeps the tea hot during the brewing process.
Bring the fresh cold water to a full rolling boil. Remove from the heat quickly as to not allow the oxygen to escape from the water. Water that has been reheated gives tea a flat taste. Only boiling water can extract the full flavor and benefit from the leaves.
Use one teaspoonful of tea or one tea bag per cup (about 5 or 6 ounces) of water.
Pour boiling water over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes or the recommended brewing time as per the instructions of your blend. Do not judge the strength of your tea by its color. It takes time for the leaves to unfold and release their flavor. If you prefer your tea stronger, do not steep longer as it will only turn the tea bitter; simply add more leaves before brewing. If you prefer your tea less strong, add hot water after the brewing period. Tea must be brewed to the full time to extract the complex flavors from the leaves.
As to not burn the leaves on delicate white and green teas allow the water to cool before pouring over the leaves.
Always decant/strain the tea before serving to prevent the leaves from stewing in the pot.
For Iced Tea:
Follow the same rules as for hot tea, but use 50% more tea to allow for melting ice cubes.
Tea may be frozen in ice cube trays and used for iced tea. Tea cubes, when made from the same blend of tea, help to keep the tea from diluting.
Allow the tea to cool. Pour over ice into a tall glass. Garnish, as desired.
Maple Tea Treats:
Cream Puffs with Maple Creme Filling
Maple Shortbread Cookies
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Ellen Easton, author of Afternoon Tea~Tips, Terms and Traditions (RED WAGON PRESS), a lifestyle and etiquette industry leader, keynote speaker and product spokesperson, is a hospitality, design, and retail consultant whose clients have included The Waldorf=Astoria and Plaza Hotels. Easton’s family traces their tea roots to the early 1800s, when ancestors first introduced tea plants from India and China to the Colony of Ceylon, thus building one of the largest and best cultivated teas estates on the island.
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