If you’ve been a tea lover for a while you’ve undoubtedly heard the term “perfect cup of tea” a few times. Run on over to Google and do a search for the phrase and you’ll come up with a mere 341,000 results. Which suggests that it’s a topic that’s on more than a few people’s minds.
But what is the perfect cup of tea? It’s a great question, but I would humbly suggest that it is a rare and elusive thing, something along the lines of Lewis Carroll’s Snark, honest and upstanding politicians, the perfect storm, or peace in the Middle East.
If you look more closely at the Google search for “perfect cup of tea” you’ll find quite a few pages that promise to tell you how to enjoy, brew, steep, prepare or fix said item. This might be heartening news for the newcomer to the world of tea, but is it really that simple? Let’s take a look at one of these how-to’s and see.
Not so long ago The Sun, a somewhat lurid British tabloid, reported that sales of China tea cups “have rocketed 119 per cent in a year” and offered its readers advice from “Cuppa expert Dr T, aka Tim Thurlings” on…you guessed it, how to brew the perfect cup of tea.
Thurlings’ advice is actually quite sound. He points out there are six critical variables that contribute to “perfect” tea. I only counted five so either I don’t count so well or one was lost in the mix. The points that Thurlings mentions are water temperature, steeping time, using the correct amount of tea and the age/freshness of the tea.
All of which are excellent points and well worth keeping in mind as you quest for that ultimate cup of tea. But it’s the last of Thurlings’ points that’s the most critical of the bunch and that’s the quality of the tea itself. Thurlings doesn’t emphasize this one any more than the others, but it bears noting that when it comes to making a cup of tea you can do everything else right, but if you’re starting with lousy tea then forget about achieving anything even close to perfection.
Make sure to stop by William’s blog, Tea Guy Speaks!