This is how my mother taught me:
- Heat kettle to boiling point.
- Pour a small amount of water in teapot and slosh around. Pour out. (This is to warm up the pot.)
- Put in teabags OR better yet, loose tea in a teaball, and pour hot water directly on top.
- Cover pot and let steep to taste (at least 3 minutes).
- Pour milk (if desired) in cup, then add freshly brewed tea.
My mother used to heat the tea cups with a little boiled water too, but that's optional. Making tea in a cup is barbaric to true tea drinkers, but I do it, too.