When a Little More Gives You a Lot More Tea

With tea, more can be less or it can be more, depending on how you approach it. More tea leaves can give you a truer and more robust flavor in your cup. Fewer tea leaves will give you a lighter flavor, especially if you are having pu-erh, a nice white like Silver Needle, or a Sencha. Put a few in a cup or gaiwan, add hot water, and steep.

Lately, hubby and I changed our method for steeping black teas. For you to understand the situation, I need to give a bit of background info. We had been steeping up a 6-cupper potful whenever we had a hearty black tea, which is about 80% of the time. Our cups hold 1.5 cups (12 ounces) of liquid each, which includes about an ounce of milk. So, out of the 48 ounces in the pot, we get four cups (11 ounces of tea + one ounce of milk), leaving 4 ounces in the pot. Rather annoying, actually, having that half cup left all the time.

Steeping it up!
Steeping it up!

Time to up the ante. We need a pot of tea that can go the distance, giving us each at least a third full cup of malty Assam or smoky Keemun or even a nice raisiny black Ceylon. How can we use a little more tea leaves to get a lot more (or at least enough more) tea?

Step 1 — Steep in a larger container

Hubby and I purchased a glass measuring cup that holds 8 cups (64 ounces). Sure, we could have purchased an 8-cup teapot, but there was a logical reason for our choice: the glass measuring cup could hold in the heat very efficiently and let us see the steeping process, meaning that we wouldn’t be guessing so much on when the tea was done (even with using a timer, we sometimes oversteeped). We didn’t like the rubbery bright orange lid that came with the large measuring cup, but a lid from a 2-quart stainless steel saucepan fit perfectly.

Step 2 — Make a slight increase in the amount of tea leaves used

Sure, I know that using a generous amount of tea leaves and steeping a shorter time can result in a strong yet non-astringent cuppa. When we steeped in the 6-cupper teapot, we would use 6 teaspoons of tea leaves (one for each cup of water). For the 8-cup measuring cup, we upped the amount of tea leaves to 7 teaspoons, not 8 teaspoons as you would expect. The efficiency of the glass in holding the heat means that we got more infusion from the leaves. The tea turned out as tasty as ever without astringency or bitterness, even from our CTC Assams. We strained the tea into the 6-cup teapot, with the extra going into our drinking cups.

Pretty simple, huh?

So far, the system is working great, giving us each three 12-ounce cups of tea. It means we have enough to satisfy without steeping another whole big potful and then having too much. (Yeah, I know, how can anyone have too much tea?)

Got your own solution to your tea time dilemma? Post it as a comment here.

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