Tea Principles of the Little Yellow Teapot

Awhile ago, I was offered the opportunity to sample some very nice teas. Wanting to approach this task in an organized and proper manner as befitted products of such quality, I teamed up with my hubby and a crockery pal of mine to establish Little Yellow Teapot Tea Reviews. It’s a tea review blog that combines whimsy, love of tea, a bit of silliness, and high standards to test teas to the utmost.

Before starting, all three of us put our heads together (well, the teapot put his lid together with our heads) to come up with a list of tea principles that guide us in this exciting adventure:

  • Respect the tea, which means also respecting the hard-working people who make their living by growing, harvesting, processing, and selling the tea.
  • Store the tea samples properly until testing time to preserve their flavors.
  • Savor the aroma of the dry tea before steeping. (You can tell a lot about a tea that way.)
  • Follow the vendor’s instructions, if any, for water temperature and tea steeping times.
  • If we choose to try the teas at a different water temperature and steeping time, we do that in addition to the above.
  • Always steep whole- and broken-leaf loose teas au naturel, that is, loose in the water — nothing coming between tea leaf pieces and the water. (Little Yellow Teapot is pretty adamant about this and can get rather cranky if we even hint at using an infuser basket. Like the Hulk, he can get quite scary when he’s cranky.)
  • If reviewing a bagged tea (it has happened), give it a fair shake, that is, steep it properly as we would a loose tea.
  • Use only bottled water to avoid the chlorine and chloramine the EPA mandates be added to our water supply. (Bleached tea — yuck!) By the way, most water filters don’t remove either substance, just the odor and taste.
  • Always taste the tea plain. (Give it a chance to speak for itself before adding anything.)
  • If feasible, taste the tea with the enhancer(s) of choice (honey, lemon, sugar, artificial sweetener, milk, possibly a drop or two of vanilla).
  • Try a second infusion whenever feasible. (We can usually tell when a tea will stand up to this.)
  • Chill some overnight and taste it. (This isn’t always appropriate, but we have been quite pleasantly surprised on more than one occasion.)
  • Take photos of the process so that readers can really get a feel for the tea and maybe that they’re part of the process.

Since starting the tea reviews, Little Yellow Teapot has become a bit swell-headed (more like swell-lidded) so we have to keep him real — rinse him out every night and sit him upside down in the dish drainer to dry (don’t want him building up a “tea crust” inside that could taint the taste of whatever tea we’re steeping).

Lots of tea reviews ahead for all three of us. For now, time to relax with an old stand-by: Typhoo with milk and sweetener. Can’t forget the teatime treat: cookies, fruit, cheese…lots of possibilities. Ah!

Aside from Little Yellow Teapot Tea Reviews, A.C. also blogs at Tea Time with A.C. Cargill. Check out both sites today!

4 thoughts on “Tea Principles of the Little Yellow Teapot

  1. Pingback: The Possibilities of Young Pu-erh Tea « Tea Blog

  2. Hi, Alex. Thanks for the comments.

    Just to clarify for readers — I do NOT in any way promote or endorse the consumption of beer or alcoholic beverages. Neither do I stand in anyone’s way who chooses to do so. It’s strictly a matter of personal choice. The comments here are strictly Alex’s views.

    As for chlorine and chloramine in the water, the Little Yellow Teapot stands firmly behind this principle. However, you, gentle readers, need to decide how you will steep your tea. This is not a rule book for you, just a glimpse into the thinking of a piece of pottery.


  3. I think these are for the most part, great recommendations. I especially like your recommendation to try a second infusion–I always do this, even for broken-leaf teas, and I am often pleasantly surprised. =)

    I must dispute the bottled water recommendation though. I agree with you that chloramine really spoils the taste…but there are some other issues, and even chloramine levels vary hugely from one region to another. Aside from sustainability issues (bottled water uses A LOT of resources in shipping and distribution), there are also quality issues with bottled water–and in general it’s not safe to assume that it’s safer or healthier, for one.

    And from my personal experience, it doesn’t always taste better. I live in Delaware, and here, the tap water is terrible–bottled water of almost all forms tastes significantly better than tap water.

    However, when living in Cleveland, Ohio, the tap water was absolutely exquisite. Also, tap water that comes from a well can be really good–my grandma gets well water where she lives in Maine. Good water, like good tea, is diverse. I love my grandma’s water and I love Cleveland’s water–but they’re totally different tasting, and they result in different tasting tea! Also, a side note, I think the water in Cleveland also makes outstanding beer–try Great Lakes Brewing Company’s beers for an example!

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