Salvaging So-So Tea

Bad tea is bad tea, and that’s the end of it. Okay, well, maybe not quite. After all, in such matters where taste and personal preferences are concerned, terms like “good” and “bad” are not necessarily so cut and dried as we might like them to be. While I might consider Lapsang Souchong, Earl Grey, or CTC Assam to be one notch up from slivers under the fingernails, everyone likes what they like and there are plenty of people who are quite fond of the aforementioned.

Too much tea?
Too much tea?

What I will say is that for me there’s no saving a tea that I personally have judged to be “bad.” Such creatures are suitable only for watering houseplants (and only houseplants lacking sensitive taste buds). Although they’ll more likely sit around taking up space in my overflowing tea cabinet until I finally get fed up and do one of my periodic purges, with the duds ending up in the bin — where they belong.

But for teas that fall into the mediocre category there’s sometimes a ray of hope. Let’s look at a few examples. Though I’m not a huge oolong fan, I’ve had the good fortune to try a few really great ones lately. Along with those were a couple that weren’t all that bad but that I wouldn’t quite put in the exceptional category. And as much as I love good sencha (Japanese green tea), the variety that I sampled not so long ago was mediocre at best.

While I can’t quite bring myself to get rid of lackluster tea, I’d really prefer not to have to drink it. My solution, when it came to the aforementioned teas, had to do with flavored tea, which is something else that I don’t typically care for. In this case, however, I’d run across a sample of grape-flavored oolong, which I quite liked. As it’s got quite a strong flavor I just used a pinch or three in each of the so-so teas that I previously discussed. I wasn’t really expecting much in the way of results but, lo and behold, it was just what it took to smooth the rough edges off of the flavors and turn a so-so tea into something reasonably palatable.

Which may not work for everyone, but if you’ve got some iffy tea laying around cluttering up the joint, it might be worth a try.

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