There is nothing quite so comforting as a good hot cup of tea, no matter the outside temperature. The British have the right idea here. A cup of coffee, while very nice, just doesn't quite provide the same feeling as a nice tea does.
Start with enough fresh cold water to fill the teapot. Place water in tea kettle on top of stove, or in electric kettle and bring just to a boil.
Pour a small amount of the hot water into your teapot and swish around; then discard. (You may also do the same with your teacups, to avoid shocking the loose tea or bags.) Add the loose tea or teabags. Pour hot water over tea.
Let steep in pot, uncovered (to avoid stewing) for 2 to 3 minutes.
If you like milk in your tea, pour a small amount into cup BEFORE adding brewed tea. Pour the tea, using a tea strainer. Taste and sweeten to your liking.
NOTES: If brewing tea bags, 3 minutes' steeping time should be enough. If using loose tea, especially Earl Grey and Lady Grey, five minutes is needed. Do not brew loose tea any longer than seven minutes.
Store loose tea or tea bags in a sealed jar or tin to keep them fresh.