We all know that the only way to make a good cup of tea is to steep orthodox loose-leaf teas for two to seven or more minutes. And that tiny particles of tea are the nasty stuff that fills cheap teabags, not for making real tea.
Well, a little device called Tea-Cha’s Pet challenges these notions.
The idea behind the Pet is simple: Infuse ground-up tea via drip process for about twenty seconds, creating a strong concentrate to which you add more water. As a bonus, the method produces tea super-rich in those terrific antioxidants.
The key is using good-quality tea. If you’re asking the same questions I had — “Why would I destroy good tea by grinding it up? Won’t that ruin the flavour?” — the Tea-Cha folks have an answer: When you grind up a good-quality chocolate, whether for drinking, baking, whatever, doesn’t it still retain its excellent qualities of flavour and aroma? It’s the same with tea. Good tea will still be good tea whether the leaves are big or small.
To use Tea-Cha’s Pet — a conical device with a handle — rest it atop teapot, cup, or glass. Place a teaspoonful of ground tea leaves per cup/glassful into the device, pour hot water over it, and let all the water drip through. Add more hot or cold water to the resulting concentrate according to your taste, and it’s ready to drink in about as much time as it took to read this paragraph.
I grind the leaves in a coffee/spice mill for ten or twenty seconds; it also works great with CTC teas. I’ve tried the device with teas I’m familiar with, that I’ve prepared in the orthodox style, and there was no loss of flavour or aroma when they were prepared with the Tea-Cha.
Watch it in action:
If you think about it, the concept is not so alien. Gong-fu preparation uses a similar process, albeit with full-leaf tea. It’s also similar to preparing concentrated tea for a crowd and reconstituting it just before serving. Plus it’s thrifty: you can re-infuse most teas thanks to the rapid infusion process, even teas that don’t normally lend themselves to re-infusion.
Tea-Cha is a convenient gadget to add to your tea ware collection (I love it for iced tea!). It would be of real benefit to a teahouse. Including the time required to grind the tea, it takes barely a minute to turn out fresh hot or iced tea, or a concentrate for lattés and such. Instead of having only one or two pre-made iced teas each day, a teahouse could offer iced tea made with virtually any tea on their shelf without the long wait of steeping and then chilling. Hot teas could be served more quickly too.
The Tea-Cha website has much more information, including the science behind the concept. Definitely worth a few moments of your time to take a look.
Unfortunately, Tea-Cha is phasing out the Pet and replacing it with a new and — according to the inventor — improved infusion device, being reviewed by A.c. Cargill. So get yours while you can!
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