Today I’m happy to welcome Stephen Twining for a very special to post to ring in the New Year and National Hot Tea Month!

After planning celebrations, cleaning, cooking, shopping and wrapping, it will soon be time to shift focus to something just as important…you. Luckily, January is more than a time of new beginnings and resolutions, it’s also National Hot Tea Month. Once the holiday chaos is over, what better way to indulge yourself than with a relaxing steamy cup of herbal tea?

In celebration of National Hot Tea Month, Stephen Twining, 10th generation member of the famous English tea family, is sharing his tips on how to brew the perfect cup of herbal tea.


1.Clean as a Whistle:Warm the inside of the teapot first with hot water, then pour it out. Always start each cup with a clean teapot and mug.

2.Use Fresh Cold Water Each Time: Never reuse already boiled water, it’s best to start with freshly drawn cold water.

3.Never Let the Water Over-boil*: “I never let the water over-boil because in doing so, you will cause the oxygen in the water to be reduced, making the tea taste ‘flat’. So remember to remove the teapot from the stove as soon as it hits a boil.”

4.Pour the Water Over the Tea Bag:Place the tea bag in the mug first, then pour the boiling water over it.

5.Let the Tea Bag Sit:Some people take this time to “dunk” or “squeeze” the tea bag. It is best to let it sit and allow the full steeping process to occur.

6.Savour the Herbal Essence: The first thing you will notice is the herbal scent of the tea being released. Take a moment to savour the rich aroma!

7.Never Judge a Tea by Its Colour: Next to be released in the process is the colour of the tea. At this time, it is tempting to think your tea is ready but just wait a little longer! (See recommended brewing times below.)

8.Wait for the Perfect Taste: The flavour of the tea takes the longest to develop, so make sure to allow the correct steeping time to fully extract the best flavour. For herbal tea, I recommend letting it steep for a full four minutes.

9.CustomiseYour Cup: The proper cup of herbal tea does not require any additions. The expertly blended herbs and flowers will provide all of the flavour you will need. However, some choose to add honey, sugar or a squeeze of lemon.

10.Enjoy!: “The best cup of tea is the one you like the most.”

Be sure to stop by Tea Cottage Mysteries to learn more about tea and find great recipes for afternoon tea!

*This post was originally published on

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