Part 1 talked about Bersten’s book to bring us tea drinkers into a more modern approach. Part 2 let you know who this dedicated tea inventor was. Now, we need to take a quick look at the tea company he founded in 2008.
About Bersten’s Company
Their site is Tea-cha.com (“cha” means tea, so it’s “tea tea” ― hee!). As tea sites go, it’s clearly laid out and easy to navigate. The About Us page has very little on it ― always a disappointment, but never fear because a page called The Filter has a photo of Bersten and some background on him. There are additional pages chock full of interesting tea info. But don’t skip the home page.
The home page has five videos on it demonstrating Bersten’s steeping method and how it compares to what you may be used to, whether you are the kind to steep bagged tea in a mug or you like it loose like I do. The inconsistency is saying elsewhere on the site that the tea color does not determine taste and then stress in the videos the color difference between steeping their way versus using larger leaf pieces. His e-book does this, too, with a couple of photos showing the color differences of the teas steeped his way and the way we are used to and then talking about flavor. A bit confusing. Plus, when steeping from full and broken leaf pieces, I can get multiple steeps, often of equal quality, which is not addressed on the site. The videos also tout how quickly you can steep up the perfect cuppa using their method but omit the time it takes to boil the water:
6 cups = 7-8 minutes on my electric stove
2 cups = 3 minutes 33 seconds in my 1100 watt microwave
One video states that steeping in a teapot loses heat and that the drop in temperature creates bitterness and astringency. Yet, tea “experts” were critical of The HOB (the uncozy) for keeping teapots too hot during steeping and thus cooking the tea. No wonder tea is confusing to newbies if experts can’t agree.
The video about making tea lattes shows the demo guy using a milk foamer. Most of us already have kitchen counters burgeoning with various small appliances, from toasters to crock pots to rice cookers, so adding one of these rather large devices is out of the question. If they could show an alternate method of foaming the milk, such as a brisk whisking, that might convince more people to give it a try.
Just a bit of nitpicking on my part. Overall, I find this steeping method intriguing, especially when used with the right tea. Anything that will give me a quick cuppa without a teabag is fine by me. If I can only convince some of my fave bagged tea makers to skip the bag and pack their fine ground tea loose. In fact, I will be engaged in several experiments using these teas and my own version of the tea filter. Results to be posted here at a later date.
So, what is beyond the 21st century for tea? Who knows. It could be some kind of atomic infuser where tea and water atoms are smashed together into a new molecule called “tea-wa” or some such thing. Whatever it is, Ian Bersten will probably be leading the way.
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