Awhile ago I wrote an article posted on this blog about pouring tea like a Moroccan waiter, being inspired by a Moroccan waiter who had served my tea by pouring it from a gleaming silver teapot that he held above his head, letting a thin stream of tea flow flawlessly from spout to tea glass with nary a drop going astray. I practiced my own version of this and had rather – uh, well, let’s just say that some drops went astray! But the practice sessions continue, with ever better results.
Time out for a bit of an object lesson here: First, we see someone doing something with grace, skill, and supposed ease, and we are often totally unaware of the time, dedication, and hours of practice required for these skilled individuals to achieve their level of expertise. Not every pianist sat down at the age of 4, like Mozart, and began playing (as well as his young and small fingers could manage). Most of us mere mortals must put in lots of practice. Second, this is another one of those pithy observations that, of course, relates to tea. No matter how many articles and videos you read and watch about making that perfect cuppa, in the end nothing beats practice. And just when you think you have it all down pat, practice some more. It can be wince inducing to look back at yourself when you thought your skills couldn’t get any better and see how much better you now are, but it will be worth those efforts. And time. Lots of it.
Let’s not forget the age-old adage that anything worth doing is worth doing well. And so, my perfection of my Moroccan style tea pour continues. My progress to date is, sad to say, far from the level that waiter exhibited.
My blue 6-cupper teapot, affectionately named “Betty” and no kin to those marvelous Brown Betty teapots out there, is my instrument of choice. The lid is a bit of an obstacle. It is not attached with a hinge to the teapot body like that Moroccan waiter’s was. Plus, Betty does not have that long, thin spout. So right away, she has a dual handicap going into this whole endeavor. Nevertheless, she was “game for a go” as the British say.
A few tips, if you want to try this at home:
- Have adult supervision (even if you are an adult)
- Be prepared for the possibility of breakage (teapot, cup, heads, hearts)
- Ditto for spillage (keep that box of tissues handy in case anyone, including you, starts crying over that spilt tea)
- Ditto for splatters (even when the tea makes it into the cup, there is often splattering)
- Wear a raincoat (see #4)
- Keep a mop and/or paper towels handy (again see #4 – no one ever said this was going to be neat)
Ready? Okay, fill your teapot with water (no sense wasting good tea, and tea is mostly water anyway). Set the teacup on a table-height (about 30”) surface, nice and solid and unwobbly. Leave off the teapot lid or secure it to the teapot with tape (we use painters tape so there is virtually no adhesive residue once we pull it off). Hold the teapot firmly in your pouring hand (I pour both left and right handed, so you will have to decide which is right for you). Start by slowly pouring a little into the teacup from about 2 inches above it and raise the teapot gradually as you pour until you can’t control the pour anymore. Next time, start at 3 inches above the cup and keep raising the teapot until you start splashing water around. Continue each trial by starting another inch higher. Hopefully, you will also be stopping higher. Eventually, you will be above your head – and then you can apply for a job at the nearest Moroccan restaurant!
Give it a go and let me know how you succeed.
See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.
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