A Tea Addict's Journal

Pot warming

January 10, 2008 · 4 Comments

I was in Peet’s today, waiting for a guy to make me a pot of (too much leaves) keemun.  When he was preparing the pot, I noticed something — he actually warmed the pot.

That was a surprise for me.  I didn’t expect to see it.  Perhaps Peet’s is more meticulous, or perhaps because this guy drinks tea, or perhaps because this is Portland?  Pot warming, methinks, does help you up the temperature of the water you use to eventually brew the tea significantly, especially if the pot is initially quite cold, as it could prone to be in colder climates.  I don’t know how much heat it will require to heat up a ceramic pot of that sort of thickness to close to the temperature of boiling water, but I’d imagine it’s enough to drop the temperature of the water by a few degrees if the pot started out cold.

I’m purely guessing here, but I’d think that it will matter the most for English style brewing, because there, you only get one, maybe two shots at making the tea, and a lower temperature will change the way the tea comes out.  For a short, multiple infusions brewing style, a lower temperatured first infusion might not be horrific (although I sometimes wonder if too low a temperature in the initial rinse will mess up the tea for the session — as I sometimes feel is the case).  I couldn’t even get more than one cup today, as there was simply too much leaves in the pot and I couldn’t drink another without feeling queasy from the caffeine because I already had an earlier session with my survival kit and aged oolong.  Mainly I was just impressed that the staff at Peet’s bothered to heat the pot at all.  I wonder how long it will take them to start rinsing the leaves….

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4 responses so far ↓

  • wyardley // January 10, 2008 at 2:28 am | Reply

    The Peet’s by my old house always pre-warmed the pots (and had the mugs sitting on top of something that warmed them as well). Peet’s is definitely one of the best of the chain type places tea-wise, though I still haven’t liked most of the tea I’ve had there that much. I haven’t had tea there since way before I became such a tea nerd, though.

  • lewperin // January 10, 2008 at 2:55 pm | Reply

    With short multiple infusions, I think there are teas you do not want to brew at a full boil. (Green oolongs, for me, come under this heading.) In this case, it’s nice to avoid warming the pot or gaiwan for the first steep. On subsequent steeps, even though the brewing vessel is fairly warm from the preceding steep, the mass of the hydrated leaves will limit the resulting temperature after you pour on the boiling water. This can be a good thing, I’m sure.

  • Anonymous // January 10, 2008 at 3:10 pm | Reply

    With my 2 cup chatsford boiling water drops to 180F within a minute of pouring. Preheating the pot once gives a pretty stable steep temperature of 195F over 3 or 4 minutes. Preheating with boiling water twice (getting the pot stabilized at 195F and then adding freshly boiled water again) allows a steep temperature of 205F.

  • MarshalN // January 10, 2008 at 10:04 pm | Reply

    I definitely agree that there are teas that you don’t want to preheat the pot for. If it’s a green or a light oolong, then you don’t really need it as much.

    I do wonder if they do pot warming for green teas. I suspect they do.

    I’d rather like to see them rinsing the leaves, as I think that can improve the tea more than preheating a pot will. But…..

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