Monday, June 11, 2012

Tea Time

Last Saturday we had our very good friends over, Peter and Loraine. We ended up sitting around the kitchen table almost the entire time, talking, eating, and drinking wine. Even though they live about ten minutes away from us, we don’t get to see each other often enough!

As the day started turning into night, it was time for tea and vanilla cupcakes with fresh strawberries and vanilla buttercream. In my pantry I had English Breakfast tea bags. So I boiled a teapot of water, placed teabags into four cups, poured the boiling water into the cups, and placed them on the table.

The next morning I thought that when I was growing up, I had never seen my parents brew tea by throwing a teabag into a cup, pouring water in it, and voila. Instead, they would spend almost ten minutes following British traditions of tea preparation, and, as I remember, it tasted quite differently from the tea I served last night.

Being a proponent of quality everything, I thought that I had no right to serve teabags to my friends. Did I?  Today I decided to make a cup of tea brewed according to Britain traditions and a cup of tea out of a teabag, taste them both, compare, and make my judgment.

It should be easy to make a cup of tea using teabag - put it in a mug, pour freshly boiled water and leave the teabag for two minutes, no more, no less. Then, after six more minutes, take a sip. I have to say that the teabag I have is a whole leaf tea in poaches. I will also try tea from a paper teabag that, as some sources say, consists of leftovers of processed tea dust.

And then I will try tea brewed according to Brits’ traditions. As I read in several articles I found on the topic, Brits also use two ingredients – water and loose leaf tea. The quality of tea taste, though, comes from the details. And the detail number one is – getting a good quality tea from, preferably, a specialty store!

The best water to be used is the Artesian spring water, because the tap water’s municipal treatment affects the true flavor of tea. To make one cup, pour eight ounces of freshly boiled water over one to two teaspoons of loose leaf tea, and let it sit for six minutes to cool tea. 60C is the best temperature that lets the flavors flood out. And after 17 minutes or more, the tea will be past its best.

Will report my findings tomorrow.

If you are up to the challenge, taste the teas too and let me know your thoughts!

With love always,
xo, Zuma A.

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