There is a moment so special in the day of a true tea lover, so full of promise and expectations, that it is like a treasure trove to savor and enjoy. It is the moment when you have that first cuppa from a new pot of tea. With a little thought and awareness, you can extend your appreciation of that moment to the maximum.
Awhile back, I wrote about the “golden pour,” that first perfectly flavored cuppa from that freshly steeped teapot. This article goes beyond a simple cupful. This is about a whole golden potful.
Sometimes in our house, hubby and I are drinking pots of tea back to back, that is, we will be finishing off one 6-cupper while the next one is steeping. Our timing isn’t always quite right, so the fresh potful will be ready, but I’ll still have some tea in my cup from last potful. Thus, anyone listening at our keyhole will hear: “Honey, can you help me finish this?” (Of course, if the eavesdropper doesn’t know that I’m talking about tea, I can only imagine what he/she would be thinking was going on!)
I should clarify that we’re not talking about a gong fu session of short steeps in quick succession but a regular steeping of a pot of a hearty black tea or black tea blend or even a nice Darjeeling such as Margaret’s Hope.
Black teas are usually steeped in water that has been brought to a full boil and need about 5 minutes to fully infuse that tea goodness into the water. That’s about 12 minutes total for the whole process, time enough to gulp down that final cuppa from the previous potful, wash out the cup, and get it ready for that golden steeping of tea. You may even have time to whip out the Walker’s Shortbread or McVities’s Digestives.
A lot of fuss is made over steeping the perfect potful. The British are especially keen on this and often deride us poor Yanks for our lack of tea steeping prowess. However, even here in the U.S. we can make a perfect potful that maximizes the flavor characteristics of our tea and making tea time a pure delight. Drinking the tea within a short time of the steep being finished is a big key, though, to truly enjoying that new pot of tea. Otherwise, the tea flavor changes, either due to the teapot holding in warmth too efficiently so that the tea continues steeping even with the tea leaves (loose or bagged) removed or not enough so that the tea cools and looses some of its flavor.
So, steep it up and drink it up for the best tea moment flavor!
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