Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Satirical Guide to Tea

I sit here sipping on a cup of tea for I have far to much on my mind to sleep, and yet not enough energy to dance. I figured to pass the time i'd write about something I enjoy and know a bit about, for years I've researched and looked up information on tea, the history, brewing techniques, what to do with spent leaves, how to use tea in cocktails, ect. And I have come a one conclusion there are far to many people with too much time on their hands that need to get a life! That said, if you can't beat them join them. Plus it's either this or plot world domination.

This guide is meant more of something to keep me busy doing something so I don't have to go interact with . . you know . . people, ugh! rather than anyone actually reading it. However if you do great, you too do not have a life, we should start a club or something. If your an amateur to tea and reading this guide for tips, feel free to ask questions in the comments. If your looking for something easy and think that the art of tea is much easier than, lets say, mixology, than might I suggest something more suited to your nature, perhaps pizza connoisseur, rock collecting or perhaps blues dancing. If your already an expert in tea, and most likely tagged, and reading this to riddle me with holes for the information that lies within, most likely because you have a deep seated self worth issues, than I challenge you to a battle of wits, or perhaps something you stand a better chance at, maybe go-fish or crazy-8's.

First off this guide is meant for people that have an appreciation for tea. I know you think that you do but lets answer a few simple questions to see if this is worth your time in reading.

1) When ever your at a restaurant do you order tea? Or iced tea?
2) Is bottled or canned tea your drink of choice?
3) Do you think that Pekoe is a type of tea?
4) If you went to a tea plantation would you want to see the white tea plant as well as the black tea plant?
5) When you open your tea cabinet do you see the words, "Lipton" or "Celestial Seasonings" or "Stash"?
6) Have you ever tried to smoke tea (not referring to lapsang)?

If you answered yes to 3 of the . . . ah heck if you even thought about answering yes to any of the above questions let me redirect you to where your guide is. Click Here

For the rest of you lets begin . . .

The History of Tea

Back in the . . . ok while I find this interesting and could write pages on the subject, the few of you that may still be reading would get board and go back to doing something productive, like playing farmville.

Picking your Perfect Tea

Thats like you asking me what movie you should watch or what song you should listen to with out telling me your mood. Would you like me to hold your hand or help with your homework too. Let me guess your a people pleaser, grow up and develop a back bone and an opinion for yourself.

Tea brewing techniques

1) Always start with fresh cold filtered water. Never reboil water (Re-boiling water is like playing Russian Roulette. It's all fun and games until your brains are sliding down the kitchen walls), never use hot water from the tap and never use an instant hot, and crying out loud do not boil your water in the microwave!

2) Yes temperature does matter!

-for black teas 204 to 208

-for green teas 168 to 186

- for white teas 178 to 192
Note above temperatures are guidelines, accurate but guidelines nonetheless. The sole purpose of them being so precise was to intimidate you.

3) Steeping. This would be a good time for me to mention that if at this point you think we are using tea bags then allow me to direct you to this site. There are many different steeping methods out there, i'm not here to criticize any of them, I here to criticize you for using a retarded technique.

Do not use those cute little tea balls in which you put your tea in a mesh ball, snap it shut, and place in hot water.
Do not use those fancy brewing bags.
Do not use a french press.

There are three acceptable methods for steeping your tea:
-a single cup basket, which fits into the mug of your choice and brews the tea in cup.Shown here. Note use a solid stainless steel basket, not one that has plastic components.
-tea pot basket, usually designed for the tea pot it comes with, and brews the tea in pot, great for sharing tea with friends (better known as Slinky's). Shown here.
-cup strainer, steep your tea in your container of choice than pour into your cup through this strainer to filter out the leaves. Shown here.

The following instructions refer to the first method, but I have faith that with a little common sense you'll be able to figure out the other two (nope your right, your screwed . . oh well).

First pre-warm your cup, take a bit of your hot water, swirl it around in your cup than toss it. Then fill your cup with the hot water from your kettle, no not the instant hot or the microwave (we've already talked about this). Then slowly insert the basket with the tea leaves into the cup of hot water. Do not insert the basket first for NEVER should you pour the water over the tea leaves.

Now allow tea to steep for the appropriate amount of time, then remove the basket.

Steeping Times

Now I am not an expert of all teas, I mostly stick to Assam's and Yunnan's (which are both black for any laymen that are bored enough to still be reading this). Therefore I will give you the information I know and perhaps my tea nerd companions can correct and/or fill in the blanks. Also the below are again guidelines, they are meant to be generic, each different tea within the black, green and white tea families is going to behave differently but this will get you close.

Black teas. On average 4 minutes. The exception being Ceylon's which should only be steeped 2 1/2 to 3 minutes.
Green Teas. A good general rule is 2-3 minutes.
White Teas. Ah white tea that crazy, crazy mistress and moody too. White teas vary wildly, based on many factors, and I do not have enough experience trying to tame this wild young lady to help much. But somewhere between 3 and 12 minutes. You'll have to experiment for yourself. Have fun, she is a great time.

Other Notes

If you have to ask how much tea to use than you really probably have no business reading this to begin with but alas. 1 teaspoon per 8 ounces of water.
And despite what anyone tells you, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER EVER re-steep used leaves. You might as well just open a can of bud light and stick to drinking that.

A Note on Storing Your Tea

The rule of thumb as with most things organic is store in a cool, dry, dark, place in a non-porous, air tight container. Really your best option is to store your tea in an air tight stainless steel canister, ceramic works as well. If your want to be stubborn like me you can use glass containers but they must be kept in a dark cabinet. Do not store your tea in anything wood, plastic, etc. And don't just leave them in paper bags.

To Conclude, no there is to much, let me sum up

This is a comprehensive guide, many questions are left unanswered and statements made without explanation. For one this guide is already too long to hold many peoples attention and two I just got bored and tired of typing at my uncomfortably tall desk. That said if any one asks questions or would like to add corrections or get explanations, I will answer them and add them in the guide where they fit.

No comments:

Post a Comment