Thursday, January 05, 2006

The perfect cup of tea

Both Joe Cathey and Jim West are arguing about how to make a perfect cup of tea. As a longtime tea drinker, I must disagree with Jim. If you follow his advice, you end up with a cup of tea that tastes like old coffee! Maybe minimalists like it that way :)

On the other hand, if you do it Joe's way, you end up with a tea that is too smooth. Tea is supposed to have a bite to it. No way on the milk. For that matter, no way on the honey or sugar, either.

The correct way is to take either an individually sealed tea bag (I like Bigelow teas) or loose tea, add it to a French Press—1 tablespoon per cup & one for the pot, if using loose. Boil your water—preferably reverse osmosis filtered—add it to your French Press. Let it steep for a few minutes before pouring your first cup. It stays hot for at least half an hour in the press, longer if you put something over the press.

Now that is civilized tea. The bookseller way :) But, Joe, I will take you up on that cup of tea in D.C. next year!


Dr. Joseph Ray Cathey said...


Done! You shall have the best cup of tea you have ever tasted. We shall sup in DC. I have posted another piece further refining my thoughts.


Anonymous said...

Neither connoisseur nor blogger so I probably don't count, even less so because if I'm not drinking thick black espresso I'm sipping the brew from fresh garden herbs - if it's tea leaves, it should be made in a china POT, one that pours well and sings as it pours, with water still boiling as it is emptied over enough leaves to make a strong brew that is left to sit a good few minutes, stirred once, strained and drunk out of bone china thin lipped cups, adulterated by neither milk nor sugar. Voila!

Those other things are generally used to make coffee - we call them 'coffee plungers'

jps said...

Yes Steph, I used to have one of those. Alas, I am not good with china and it went the way of all easily breakable things...But, I prefer mugs over thin lipped cups, maybe because they don't break as fast? Or maybe because they have more mass and keep their heat longer.


Anonymous said...

I'm a bit like that with china too - but I'm junk shop junkie and collect old cup, saucer and plate sets for a bargain so I can afford to be a bit clumsy. Or my kitten can. If the cups are small, there's no time to cool and if the pot is good, then the pleasure of the sound of the pouring is more frequent.

Mind you it depends on the occasion. After a long sea swim or a run in the rain or a bike ride through a blizzard - I want a big fat mug of blistering dirty hot tea! And reading or writing - I can't afford the distraction of frequent pouring so a mug is best.