Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Jackamo's Tea Tips

(This blog post has been contributed by Jackamo, owner of the Sophisticated Tea Corner in the margin.)

It grieves me to the very marrow of my bones when I hear someone say that they don't like hot tea because it tastes too bitter. Actually, there is never a reasonable or acceptable reason to not like hot tea, but the bitter thing is a particular pet peeve. Let us not blame the nectar-like gift of the tea leaf for our inability to figure out how to properly brew a cup of tea. Brewing a perfect cup of tea is an art, but even the simplest of Lipton Drinkers out there can be taught!

  • How long to steep depends on how strong you like your tea and the type of tea you're preparing. However, there are rules of thumb. Usually black tea leaves need to steep 3-5 minutes. They will often get bitter if you let them brew more than 6 minutes. Green teas often need only 1 minute, but if that isn't strong enough, some blends can steep 2-3 minutes. Oolongs should steep 2-3 minutes, and herbals can steep for 5-10 minutes.
  • Small leaves brew more quickly and are usually ready in 2-3 minutes. Medium leaves in 3-5 minutes; large leaves in 6.
  • Don't judge by color. Some teas brew light while others brew dark.
  • Tea bags steep more quickly because the leaves are finely cut, so don't let them steep too long.
  • If you have used an infuser or tea bags, remove them from the pot when the tea has reached the desired strength.
  • If you place loose leaves directly into the teapot, you may want to pour the tea into a second warmed pot through a strainer to separate the tea from the leaves to prevent the tea from becoming bitter, or if you plan to pour all the tea into cups soon, simply place a strainer over the cup and pour slowly from the original pot.
If you're a teabag user and you still feel like you will not be able to steep your tea the appropriate amount, make the sacrifice and invest in a teaboy. You set the teaboy's timer to the correct steep time, and when the time is up, the teaboy lifts your teabag out. Signals sells one here.

11 comments:

Ickenham said...

How long should we steep Watoosa's Celestial Seasonings teas?

Watoosa said...

I believe I have previously described Cel. Seasonings as "the shavings from the factory floor" and more simply as "blaaaa," offending at least one coworker, who hung his head in shame and mumbled "I kinda like Sleepytime."
Let's not make things up and incur my wrath.

Patch said...

One can not expect those who have tasted but vinegar to appreciate the sweetness of honey. So do be kind. On a side note, I'd like to hear from you sometime. Ickenham above made me a promise sometime ago, one that I trust he is keeping, nevertheless I would desire to hear straight from the horses mouth as they say. Not that I am implying that you are a horse or anything like that. Oh, if you are having trouble with my identification then you are out of luck. I have this tendency to toy with friends and "family".

Ickenham said...

Ickhenham makes all kinds of promises, but promises were made to be broken. I have to confess, though, that I can't figure out who you are. How about another clue?

Watoosa said...

Patch, are you really in South Carolina, or is that intended to throw us off?
Do you wear a patch over one eye? Are you a pirate?
I once had to wear an eye patch in the 3rd grade because my best friend poked me in the eye & scratched my cornea, so I'm totally sympathetic if that's the case for you.

Patch said...

I have done nothing to throw either of you off. As for my name, well the reasoning for that is two fold. The first being that one of my many nicknames is patches (this is due to the way my beard grows in). The second is that the letters that make up "patch" can be found in actual first and last name. Also, I would rather be taken a pirate than someones schnauzer. That should be plenty of clues but just for the sake of Ickenham I'll give one more. He and I have only met once. There you go, enjoy.

Ickenham said...

Hmmm...my nephew-in-law matches some of that description, but I'm not aware of him having a beard, and the last time I talked to him he wasn't nearly this articulate (in his defense, he was a shy pre-pubescent). I may very well have made a promise to him on that day of days; but the only promise I remember making that day was in the company of God and many witnesses.

Patch said...

Yes ickenham, you are correct. Though I have long since hit puberty and my love of literature has expanded greatly since that time. To remind you, I asked you to promise me you would love and cherish my cousin. At the time I wanted to hear these words straight from your mouth, man to man. Well, I really can't say man to man, more like man to high pitched adolescent. Regardless, from what I have heard from the occasional tidbit of information that has passed my way, you seem to be keeping your end of the bargain. This I am very glad of. For you see, she is one of the two people I admire most in this world.

Ickenham said...

Whoops, meant to say "cousin-in-law" instead of "nephew-in-law."

Glad to have figured it out, though. I suspected it from the first, b/c I think you and your fam are the only people I now know in SC. Hope you enjoy the blog.

Watoosa said...

Patches, I thought it was you! Although picturing you with a beard nearly gives me a heart attack. I hear you and ARR and DPH are spending lots of quality time on MySpace. Is that still the case?
I think you need to take a graduation trip out to California and visit us.
Ickie loves and cherishes me and has even been known to obey, although I'm sure he'll strenuously object to that suggestion.

Patches said...

Do not tempt me with such offers, else you may find an eighteen year old vagabond outside your front door. Well, I can't really be called a vagabond. Vagabonds lack homes. And being that home is where the heart is, and mine is still beating within my chest, I guess I am always at home.