Archive for the 'Tea Preparation' Category

June is National Iced Tea Month!

Iced TeaGet ready iced tea lovers, because June is National Iced Tea Month!  To get you ready for this special event, we thought it’d be worthwhile to share a quick overview on how to brew iced tea.  If you’re not already familiar, making iced tea at home is a total breeze!  Just steep your tea normally, but use half the amount of water. If you want to drink it immediately, pour the double-strength infusion directly over a glass full of ice. Or, to refrigerate it, dilute the infusion with an equal amount of room temperature water. This allows the tea to cool gradually, which helps avoid clouding caused by chilling most teas too rapidly. One quart of iced tea generally requires about 1/2 ounce tea. To sweeten, add sugar or honey while the tea is still hot, allowing the sugar to dissolve completely.

Many people are accustomed to brewing their iced tea by leaving it out in the sun. We recommend using the method described above instead, which takes advantage of the sterilizing effects of boiling water, as opposed to the “sun tea” method, which can allow bacteria to flourish.

Note: It is OK if your iced tea clouds! There are many reasons this can occur; a clouded tea can sometimes signify a higher quality tea filled with desirable tea solids, or one that has been cooled too quickly. Regardless, a clouded iced tea is certainly not a bad iced tea! Teas from the Nilgiri region of India seem to resist clouding better than other tea varieties, but here’s a nice selection of teas that are also great on ice.

May 28 2008 | Iced Tea and Tea Preparation | 1 Comment »

Honing Our Tea Tasting Skills in… Las Vegas?

Welcome to Las Vegas Sign

We’re always trying to “raise the bar” in all aspects of our business – environmental performance, customer service, and certainly tea quality.  To that end, I recently attended an advanced training session on tea evaluation (called “cupping”) in Las Vegas, NV, presented by the Specialty Tea Institute.  Yes, they have institutes for this sort of thing.  You might think that Las Vegas would be an unlikely place for such an event – and you would be right.  Strangely, a vast majority of tea-related events seem to occur in Las Vegas, amid the flashing lights, cigarette smoke, and “pling-pling-pling-pling-pling-pling” of the slot machines.  Wierd.

The cupping session explored – often in substantial detail – a variety of topics, including:

  • The physiological differences between people with different tasting abilities – mainly the size, shape and (most importantly) density of taste buds on the tongue;
  • The effect that steeping time and temperature have on tea, as well as the effect of multiple successive steepings;
  • Considerations for matching or replacing one tea with another (such as matching the flavor profile, leaf grade, or other relevant factors);
  • Detecting taints or flaws in the manufacture and/or storage of tea.

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March 19 2008 | Tea Preparation | No Comments »

Drinking Tea in Groups is Good for the Environment!

Steaming Tea Kettle on StoveAs you know, we learned that by delivering our teas in our new paperboard canisters (instead of our previous steel containers), we cut the carbon footprint of tea delivery by approximately 80%.  We’re very excited about this, but, of course, it’s only one piece of the story.  We also learned that, pound-for-pound, the energy required to brew the tea once it reached the customer rivaled that of delivering it to them in the first place (in our new-and-improved packaging)! 

Now, unless your super-power is to boil water spontaneously, energy will certainly be required to boil (or nearly boil) water to brew tea in the traditional fashion.  So what’s an environmentally-conscious tea drinker to do?  Here are a few suggestions: continue reading »

February 14 2008 | Energy and Tea Preparation | 9 Comments »

How to Brew the Perfect Cup of Loose Leaf Tea

Depending on who you talk to, brewing loose leaf tea can be a very simple or very complicated matter. Believe it or not, the government of Great Britain actually maintains official specifications on the “proper” way to brew tea! We firmly believe that tea should be brewed to suit your own personal taste. That said, here are some helpful hints to get you started.

There are three main considerations when brewing tea:

  1. Tea quantity,
  2. Water temperature, and
  3. Steeping time.

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November 14 2007 | Tea Preparation | No Comments »

Brewing Tea with a Countertop Hot Water Dispenser: Pros and Cons

The kitchen remodelling industry abounds with accessories aimed at delivering hot (if not boiling) water in a speedy fashion. Recently, one of our customers asked for our opinion regarding the pros/cons of brewing tea with a countertop hot water dispenser. First, her question:

I was wondering if you’d mind sharing your opinion about hot water. We are remodeling our kitchen and are considering a sink mounted hot water dispenser. The water is filtered and held in a tank underneath the sink, then dispensed through a small faucet on the sink. There are products with adjustable temperature settings. Some can get up to 200 degrees. I drink mostly Chinese black, oolong, green, and white teas (with an occasional pu-erh and rooibos thrown in). I don’t want to spend the money if this device is going to make a lousy cup of tea. What do you think?

We generally advise against using water that’s sat in your kettle leftover from the prior day’s boiling. Using leftover water can result in a brew that seems flat or stale. Water that’s straight from the tap is freshly aerated. Most countertop hot water dispensers (that I’m aware of) don’t actually aerate the water. This is one consideration (albeit a picky one).

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November 03 2007 | Tea Preparation | 7 Comments »

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