Measuring Tea

Measuring Tea 

This morning, I decided to treat myself by using some of my fancier teacups and enjoying a cup of tea.  In my rotation (yes, I have a rotation of tea), I pulled out the Teasource.com Singbull 1st Flush.  Amazing tea with incredible characteristics but I started to think of something.  How do you accurately and easily measure tea?  How can I make sure that every cup is consistent with the next one?  Let me explain my process to make a cup of tea.

Here are the elements that I’m concerned about when I brew a cup:

  1. high quality product,
  2. good clean, filtered water,
  3. an adjustable tea pot to control the water temperature,
  4. a steeping vessel,
  5. measuring an accurate portion of tea to steep.

On the back of the package, it calls for 8 oz of water heated to 212 F and 1 teaspoon or 3 grams of tea leaves to steep for 4 minutes.  Here’s my method that I use, and it works for me.  Tea purists (and I can hear you out there), I’m happy with my final product.  Especially when I wake up early, bleary eyed and need caffeine.

High Quality Tea

There are several sources out there for great tea.  Some of my favorites presently are the following sites:

These sites are great sources for variety and reasonable pricing.  I try to take advantage of their sales by receiving their emails.  Also, if possible, order a good amount at a time to lessen shipping charges.

All these sites primarily sell loose tea.  I’m a big believer in using loose tea for two reasons.  Tea bags never steep as well as they should and some companies use lower quality tea in the bags, which brews an average tasting cup.  Once you go loose, you won’t find any tea bags that mimic the same quality.  (If you have any that do, contact me at artofthepair@gmail.com and I would love to try it).  I travel with loose tea and a collapsible strainer all the time now.

Clean, Filtered Water

I am a huge believer in good water.  Not only for tea but for drinking in general.  I use a Zero Water filter system to manage the quality of my water. I find that it filters impurities the best and leaves a great neutral taste.  I have used this system now in three different states (all with crappy water) and it neutralizes the water.  Suggestion – purchase extra filters in bulk (much cheaper).

Adjustable Tea Pot

Before getting an adjustable pot, I thought that all tea brewing was the same.  I could never determine why I did not care for green tea blends.  I was boiling the water and pouring that over the leaves resulting in poor cups of tea.  Tea purists – stop giggling, I was naïve then.

After much research, I purchased a Bonavita adjustable digital tea pot.  I can adjust the temperature using built in preset temperatures or adjust the water temperature to 1-degree intervals.  Plus, I love that it can hold the water temperature at any level indefinitely.  They are not cheap but well worth the cost.  There are other similar brands out there and they all work.  I just stick to the one I’ve used for years.

Steeping Vessel

Ok, I’m about to make the purists mad at me again.  I have a few teapots that I love.  I have multiple types of strainers that fit into your cups that will hold the tea and can easily filter the leaves.  I have travel strainers that work well for steeping.  However, for me, what I love to use is a French press.

Yes, I said it… a French press that most use for coffee.  I’ve found that this allows me to do the following:

  • See the tea leaves steeping so I can adjust how long it steeps
  • Easy to clean and use (after two brews – I rinse it out and its ready after a quick inspection)
  • It filters out almost 95% of the leaves (only misses the tiny ones or leaf dust)
  • It’s quick to use.

If friends are over, I will pull out the tea pot.  I love using them but making a small amount of tea is a pain.  Especially in the cold months when I must also heat water to pour into the pot to warm it.  Hence that is why I mostly use the French Press. 

I’m not a coffee drinker so I do not have to worry about using the same press for coffee.  THAT IS A HUGE NO NO!!!  That is like making tea in a hotel room using the room’s coffee maker.  You just infused your tea with whatever coffee was in the machine prior.  BLEAH!!

Measuring Tea

The last variable is tea measuring.  This is something I have struggled with for a long time.  Do I use a teaspoon to measure out the tea?  Do I use an accurate measuring teaspoon spoon to measure?  What happens if the tea leaves are exceptionally long and do not fit in the spoon?  Will my digital scales accurately measure 3 grams per cup of tea?  Do I want to go out and purchase an accurate scale that measures that small and not look like a dealer?

All these questions come to mind every morning when I’m making my tea.  And to be honest, here’s the answer:

  • How awake am I to measure?

I’m getting better remembering to use my scale but some mornings, I just pour the tea in the bottom of the press until it looks like a teaspoon.  Yes – that is lazy.  How can I do this and live with myself?  Again, how tired am I that morning?

 Ladies and gentlemen – I love tea.  I thank my dad for teaching me tea from a young age.  Some mornings, I don’t care to be accurate.  I’m not in a formal class so I don’t need to be accurate.  Some mornings I just need to enjoy.

Final Thoughts

I hope I was able to provide some simple procedures and information on how I brew tea.  This morning while enjoying my cup, all these thoughts traveled through my brain until finally a voice said:

  • Relax, shut up, stop thinking and enjoy what someone across the world has produced for you at a great price.

And I did just that.  I hope everyone today enjoys a great cup.

#theartofthepair