When I say that I’ve written about the curious notion of perfection in a cup of tea more times than I can count I might be exaggerating just a bit. To say that I’ve written about the topic more times than I’m going to count is more like it. I’ll compromise, more or less, by pointing you to the latest such effort I published at this site – just a few months ago.
It’s a popular topic, though – and not just for me – with one of the most recent revelations about “perfect” tea coming from the British press. But before I get to that let me briefly state my position on perfection in tea (one that I’ve stated more in-depth in my previous odes). I’m not sure what it is. I’m not sure if I’d know it if I saw it, and I’m not even sure if it exists.
Not so for the “British scientists” in the article, who apparently have figured it all out. It’s not rocket science, mind you, but it is tea science and one of the astute tea scientists cited in the article claims that one of the steps toward achieving perfection is avoiding disposable cups. I agree wholeheartedly, but I don’t go with his recommendation to use a china cup (“keeps the natural tannins in the tea from sticking to the side”). I’ll stick with glass, thank you.
I agree with some of the other recommendations, however, such as using fresh water each time around rather than boiling the standing water in the kettle. Other things on the list include waiting for five seconds after the water boils before pouring on the leaves – and longer for green, white and other less sturdy teas.
As I’ve noted before, I take exception with the recommendation to allow the tea to steep for three to five minutes. I have to assume that’s for black tea, which I only steep for about two minutes in most cases. As always I recommend that you experiment and see what works best for you.
Last up, there’s that ever controversial question of whether to add the milk to the tea or the tea to the milk. As always, I say skip the milk and let the taste of the tea come through but the scientific types claim that the tea should be added to the milk.
So I guess that settles it. Read the article for all the details and let the perfection begin.
See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.
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