By Donna Cain, Innkeeper and Owner
I must admit that in my younger years I never really appreciated a good cup of tea. I would always try a cup now and then, but never really enjoyed the taste. Now after being innkeepers for 8 plus years at our two inns, Brewster by the Sea and the Captain Freeman Inn. (and being much older) I really look forward to that afternoon cup of tea.
It’s actually a funny story because when we first started serving breakfast, we had no earthly clue about how to serve tea. We have always been coffee drinkers in the morning and did not understand the basics of brewing tea. After a couple of months, one of our English guest kindly pulled us aside and showed us how to properly boil the water, suggested some different teas and told us to always have 1% milk on hand along with some good quality raw sugar. Since then we have learned a lot, invested in a wonderful tea line and always have a molasses biscuit close by for our guests to enjoy with their tea.
While being no where near an expert on teas here is what I know:
1. Your tea will only be as good as your water. We have a filter on the tap nearest to our tea supplies. We love our electric tea pot and have just purchased a special boiler for teas at the Captain Freeman that actually boils the water at different temperatures depending on the type of tea you want.
2. Wait until the water is near boiling, then pour a little into the teapot and swirl it around. This warms the pot so that it is at an optimum temperature for holding the tea. Empty the pot. Add your tea bag or loose tea inside the pot. When the water in the kettle has reached a rolling boil, pour it in the pot and allow the tea to steep for three to five minutes. When brewing the tea, it is best to cover the pot or cup to keep in the steam and allow the leaves to unfurl more fully.
3. Good quality tea is essential! We now use Harney and Sons and could not be more pleased with the line. Each individually wrapped pyramid sachets is a precision design that allows room for perfectly measured whole leaf tea to expand fully and infuse completely. You can really taste the difference.
Listed below is the selection of tea you will find when you visit Brewster by the Sea Inn and Spa and the Captain Freeman Inn. As for the afternoon treat to go with your tea you’ll have to book a stay with us, as that changes every day, always homemade in the inn’s kitchens. The molasses cookie has a tradition all it’s own….at both inns the cookie is in a bottomless cookie jar……unless it is raided when we are sleeping:)
1.Organic English Breakfast made from organic Chinese Keemun black tea.Character is a good strong classic.
2.Earl Grey Supreme made from a blend of black tea with natural oil of Bergamont.It’s character is a mixture of the finest black tea blended with lemony oil of Bergamont for a clean crisp finish. A classic and memorable infusion.
3.Paris made from a fruity black tea with a hint of lemony Bergamont. It’s character is an infusion of currants, and citrus meant to arouse the senses. This is a new favorite among Harney’s customers.
4.Hot Cinnamon Spice made from a blend of black tea, 3 types of cinnamon, orange peels and sweet cloves. Character is a delightful Asian black tea infused with sweet and spicy flavors that are sure to warm you.
5.Rooibos Chai made from a caffeine free redbush herbal from South Africa. Character is a wonderful mixture of caffeine free Rooibos from South Africa with cardamom and cinnamon.
6.Chamomile made from the finest chamomile flowers from Egypt. It’s character includes a strong fresh body with a scent of green apples.
7.Organic Green Tea made with lemon grass, ginkgo, citrus flavor . This refreshing blend delivers the benefits associated with green tea and ginkgo, along with the bright taste of natural citrus.
8.Mint Verbena made from caffeine free herbal mint leaves from Oregon. Character is a brisk and soothing elixir.
English Breakfast is the most popular and my favorite is Paris! I like to add a little milk and a 1/2 teaspoon of raw Russian sugar……mnnnnnnn! After relaxing with that cup of tea, usually while visiting with my mom, I always seem to muster enough energy to put together a healthy dinner for our family.