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ESSENTIAL FACTS

Always store tea in well-sealed containers in a dry, dark and cool place.

Tea should have as much space as possible to brew in a pot. Avoid small tea bags and use teapots with built-in filters.

Tea is an infusion, which means that water should be poured over it so that its flavours are evenly distributed throughout the pot.

When served in individual portions for the sake of convenience, tea should be available in the largest possible tea nets.

Soft water is important to the taste of tea, as is the right water temperature: black and herbal/fruit infusions should be made with boiling water, while green tea is best if the water is at 80 degrees Celsius.

The brewing time is critical: two to five minutes for green or black teas, a minimum of five minutes for herbal and fruit infusions.

White sugar can be used with all types of tea, while brown sugar only works with strong, malty varieties.

Lemon and artificial sweeteners are to be avoided, as they impair the flavour of tea.

The tea service should always be at room temperature. Never - repeat, never - use the same pot for tea and coffee.

Modern gourmet cuisine has discovered tea as an indispensable ingredient.