A Tea Addict's Journal

Fighting bad tea

January 27, 2009 · 3 Comments

I’ve been traveling a lot recently, which means not much time and chance to sit at home to make tea properly. When on the road, I am usually quite lazy and don’t always bring my own tea, and at any rate, circumstances often doesn’t allow me to brew tea in a good setting. Sometimes even hot water supply can be a problem. That means one thing — I buy from stores for tea to go.

That, however, has problems. Two recent experiences remind me why this is so perilous sometimes

1) Buying a cup of teabag tea which was infused with water that was not hot to the touch, but only lukewarm. I don’t know how this happened, but somehow the water that came out of the coffee brewing machine at the coffee shop delivered water that is less than hot, which means the tea was barely brewing. Only after much complaining did I get a new cup. They even claimed, initially, that that’s how warm the water is going to be and nothing was wrong. Do these people even know what tea is?

2) At another store that sells loose tea that gets thrown into a bag and then brewed. That’s usually a recipe for better tea, coming as it were from loose leaves instead of factory floor sweepings. That is, until the person decided to use so much leaves that when expanded, the bag of tea was about the same size as the cup that I bought….and this was a darjeeling. At least if it were a Taiwanese oolong or some such which expands greatly, it won’t be as much of a problem. Darjeeling, in heavy doses, is deadly. I asked for a large cup half filled with hot water, diluted the tea with basically double the volume of water, and it was STILL too bitter.

Tea education is obviously necessary. Where to start, however, is a real issue. Until then… I should remember to bring my own tea and just ask for hot water.

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