Coffee and Tea

September weather and upcoming holiday entertaining got me thinking about making such basic beverages as coffee and tea.  Many folks patronize coffee shops for their caffeine, or use expensive “pod” type coffee makers, but for entertaining, I find I need a larger coffee pot, and a I have a tea pot too.  I also found this summer that I really prefer tea I make by steeping hot tea for iced tea instead of sun tea, which I made for many years.  The problem with sun tea is that the variation in sunlight and heat made it hard to get the strength I wanted, and I would forget to bring it in on time.
Here are some useful coffee and tea making tips.
  • For maximum flavor, store fresh ground or whole bean coffee in the refrigerator for up to two weeks in an airtight container.
  • Long term storage is best done in the freezer – I keep coffee beans up to a year this way with no loss of flavor.
  • Unopened vacuum packed cans or packages of beans or ground coffee can be store in the pantry for up to one year. 
  • For the best tasting coffee, always start with a clean coffee maker that has been washed with hot soapy water and well-rinsed.  Brew coffee with fresh cold water.
  • You can store tea bags or loose tea at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 years.  Do keep different flavors of tea in separate storage containers.
  • To make perfect tea, pour boiling water over one tea bag or a tea infuser containing 1 teaspoon of loose tea.  Allow to steep for 3-5 minutes until the strength suits you.   Remove the bag or infuser.
  • My favorite way to make “quick” iced tea is to pour 4 cups of boiling water over 8 tea bags in a heat resistant container.  Cover and steep 3-5 minutes.  Remove bags and sweeten if desired.  Add 4 cups cold water or ice.  Chill until ready to serve.

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