Tea Reheating — To Do or Not to Do

Cold TeaWe’ve all probably faced the tea reheating dilemma: Do we reheat a cupful that’s cooled or not? Picture this: You’ve laid out what amounts to a significant supply of cash on some very nice tea* (Darjeeling, Pu-erh, Silver Needles, a Flowering Tea, etc.). You’ve just steeped a perfect potful of this tea and are brimming with excitement and anticipation to enjoy that “golden pour” of the perfect tea “liquor.” You pour a cupful, possibly add sweetener and milk or honey and lemon (depending on which tea you’re having), and are full of anticipation of being rewarded with an extremely tasty cupful, when — ding! dong! — the doorbell rings.

You set the cup down and go to the door. The person there regales you for 20 minutes on this thing and that. Being super polite, it takes you awhile to catch a pause in his/her speaking to say, “No, thanks,” and shut the door. You hurry back to your teacup, patiently awaiting you (as all well-bred teacups do). You take a sip and immediately determine that — gasp! — the tea is now — ugh! — room temperature! Not quite ideal for enjoying this fine tea.

Thus the dilemma: Do you reheat or do you not reheat? Ah, that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of the tepid taste, or (as a true lover of tea) the great anguish of dumping the cupful down the drain, or brave the frontiers of technology by zapping the tea back to a decent temperature in the microwave.

OK, enough corny ripping off of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” Do you reheat or not? The penny-squeezing, leftover-eating, get-every-drop-out-of-the-teapot Scotswoman in me (along with a few other nationality origins) makes a quick decision, the only one possible: Reheat!

The trick is to do so in a manner that preserves as best as possible the original flavor of the tea before it cooled. If you had added milk, you may have to remove a top scummy layer of solidified milk (eeww!) before trying to reheat. Then, put the cup (if microwaveable) in the microwave and reheat on half power for about 30 seconds per six ounces of liquid. Stir the tea and test to see if sufficiently warm. Then, heat again on half power for another 30 seconds per six ounces of liquid. Stir and test. Repeat the procedure until the tea is at the right temperature. (If the cup is not microwaveable, pour the tea into something that is and then reheat.)

Of course, you could have set the cup on a cupwarmer. But I find that they can overheat the tea, and the milk scum still forms, especially when the amount of tea in the cup gets low.

A better solution: an ounce of prevention. Next time, just let the doorbell ring, or take the teacup with you and drink while you listen to the person at the door prattle on. Cheers!

* Tea still remains the Affordable Indulgence, despite rumors of prices going up.

Visit A.C.’s blog for more advice on the ways of the “tea life.”

One thought on “Tea Reheating — To Do or Not to Do

  1. Pingback: Tea Dilemma — The Awkward Bit « Tea Blog

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