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!