Friday, August 19, 2016

Tips and tidbits about tea

Yes, the name of this blog is Teapot Musings.  Yes, I am often drinking tea,or I've just finished a cup of tea, or I'm about to make a cup of tea, as I'm writing these posts.  But generally, this is  not a blog about tea, or making tea, or different things you can do with tea.  After all, there certainly are blog posts and websites out there that fill that niche...  There's How to Cook with Tea, 7 Ways to Cook With Tea Leaves, How to Grow your Own Tea, lots and lots of sites reviewing the best teas, and Wiki-how even has a page on How to Make Tea -- 15 Steps with Pictures!  (OMG.. just thinking about fifteen steps to make one cup of tea is enough to make me have to stop and have a cup tea!)

Nonetheless.. I do have some tea tips and tidbits that I wanted to share.

First - I was recently asked what it's called when a tea drinker bounces their teabag up and down in their cup.  No, it's not dipping.  Yes, I suppose you could say 'bounces their teabag up and down' if you wished... but I think you'll find the more common word is 'dunking'.  Yes, dunking your teabag.  Not to be confused with dunking your ginger snaps into your tea... which is also nice.

Next -  People!  QUIT dunking your teabags!  While bouncing your teabag certainly gives you something to do, much like a coffee drinker might tap their spoon on the counter while waiting for their coffee...that's all it does.  Studies have shown that, once the bag and the tea leaves inside are wet, diffusion takes over, and your tea will brew at the same rate, whether you dunk or not.

Next, and even more importantly, QUIT squeezing your teabags!  Yes, I agree, when you put your teabag on your spoon, and wrap the string around the bag, and give it a little squeeze... dark tea comes out of the bag.  The problem is that the dark tea resulting from the squeeze has a high concentration of tannins.
Tannins = bitterness.  Want stronger tea?  Let the teabag steep a bit longer, or switch to a brand that makes stronger tea.  But please, don't squeeze the teabag.  (and if that last sentence made you think of toilet paper, you're telling your age!)

And finally, for those of you who are turning up your noses at the notion of using teabags rather than loose tea, I have some news for you.  It makes absolutely no difference whether the leaves are loose, or in bags.  What IS important, is the freshness of the tea.  So if you have an old box of X brand teabags, tucked back in the corner of the cabinet, pulled out once a year when Aunt Petunia comes to visit... yes, I'm quite certain that Aunt Petunia will find her cup of tea to be less than ideal.  But the problem isn't the teabag, it's the age of the tea leaves inside the bag.  Similarly, if you sparingly use that large tin of loose tea that you inherited from Cousin Louise, because she always made wonderful tea and you want to savor and extend your enjoyment of your inheritance ... don't bother.  I suppose if the tea inside the tea is vacuum sealed, and each time you have some tea, you open the bag, remove the desired amount, and then re-vacuum seal the bag, you'll be fine.  But who are we kidding?  Nobody is going to do that.  The trick is to buy just enough tea, that it's still fresh when you use the very last of it.  That's one of the many reasons I enjoy my typhoo tea.  I buy it in teabag form, but it comes in vacuum-sealed foil packs of only 40 teabags per pack.  No, I don't re-seal the bags, but I can most certainly go through 40 teabags before they get stale.

Before I wrap up here, and partake in the steaming cup of tea that's waiting for me, I know that some of you are wondering why I haven't addressed the issue of using one teabag for multiple cups of tea. I have one word for you.  DON'T.  No, make that five words... Don't Ever Do That.  Ever.

Enough said, now it's time for tea.

1 comment:

  1. Aw...Aunt Petunia! And I didn't know that about squeezing. Good info.