On the rare occasion you decide to do your sibling a favor, you want to make it very special.  This was the case when I chose to brew my sister a cup of loose-leaf tea.

I had never tried using loose-leaf tea before.  However, there’s a first time for everything.  I am the kind of person who makes mistakes and learns lessons the hard way.  Needless to say, that is definitely what happened this time.

I chose an herbal loose-leaf tea called Organic Relaxation.  Everything was seemingly going well.  While the water heated, I skimmed the packet.  “8 oz per teaspoon.  Five teaspoons.”  Cool!  Whatever that meant.  The water was now done heating, so I poured it into the teacup.  How do you make loose-leaf tea, anyway?

After eyeing the teacup, I cut open the packet of loose-leaf tea and poured it all out…straight into the teacup.  How was I supposed to know that I was brewing forty ounces worth of loose-leaf tea in a six-ounce tea cup?

After about a minute, the tea began to look kind of weird.  The leaves, which were floating on the surface of the tea cup, had begun to look like mulch.  Mulch.  Mulch.  MULCH.  Isn’t that a weird word?  Okay, shifting gears.

I was becoming rather suspicious about the squishy look, when my mom walked in.

“What are you doing?”

“Making loose-leaf tea.  Is that okay?”

“Sure.”  My mom happened to glance over at the loose-leaf tea that was brewing innocently on the opposite counter.  She looked rather alarmed.

“Sarah, you don’t pour the leaves straight into the tea cup!”

“You don’t?”  That was a rather surprising.

“You use a brew basket!”

We spent ten minutes rooting around in the cupboard for a brew basket.  When we finally found one, I sheepishly listened as my mom explained how to use it.  Then we were faced with the problem of fishing all the mulch – I mean, tea leaves – out of the tea cup.  It might sound easy, but I swear, it isn’t!  Have you ever tried picking up every single bit of spilt flour off the floor?  Well, it’s kind of like that, but a lot wetter.

The tea was also way too strong from all that mulch – tea – but my twin kind of likes her tea strong (I hoped), so perhaps it wouldn’t be a problem.

The water was now unimpressively lukewarm, so I had to reheat it.

Half an hour later, the tea was ready.  It looked completely innocent, and except for a few small, floating twigs, you couldn’t tell that I had bombed making it.

“Wow, thanks!  I love herbal tea!”

My pleasure, Rachel.  Enjoy your mulch.

My second encounter with loose-leaf tea involved microwaving the brew basket.  But that’s another story.