Questionable activity at 10:30pm on a worknight. #tea #tieguanyin #gongfucha
If you’re in the Milwaukee area and you’re into tea (or just curious), come check out a Rishi Tea tasting at Discovery World! I went to a few last year, and this series is going to be even better. I was pretty convinced that I “wasn’t into black tea” (aside from the Earl Grey “builders brew” of course) until I tasted some brewed properly by the guys at Rishi, which definitely didn’t need any added milk or honey and weren’t overly bitter like most of the commonly available black tea out there. So I guess this is kind of an advertisement, but I’d be going to this event even if I didn’t work at Discovery World ;)
Got this in the mail today from Handmade Tea, check them out if you’re into unique blends. Actually I’m not typically into blends at all, but these have been really great so far. Caleb, the guy who runs handmade tea, puts great effort into blends that make sense to the tastebuds even if they don’t make any sense on paper. Anyway, his video (“The stigma behind tea blends”) convinced me to give it a shot, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised since.
ISO 3103: The standard cup of tea
In his article A Nice Cup of Tea, the author George Orwell gives step by step instructions to the reader on how to brew a cup of tea that will make the drinker “feel wiser, braver or more optimistic”.
However, his guide is quite descriptive, and if you’re a quantity-obsessed analytic person like me and you would prefer a cooking recipe that tells you to add “25g of chopped parsley” rather than “a handful of chopped parsley”, then I’m afraid that Mr Orwell’s treatise won’t be of much use…
But help is at hand! In 1980, sub-committee 8 of technical committee 34 of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) published a standard method (codenamed ISO 3103) for the brewing of tea. If you’re unsure when to add the milk (ie if you’re one of those people who put the milk in first) then all you need to do is consult ISO 3103:
- The pot should be white porcelain or glazed earthenware and have a partly serrated edge. It should have a lid that fits loosely inside the pot.
- If a large pot is used, it should hold a maximum of 310 ml (±8 ml) and must weigh 200 g (±10 g).
- If a small pot is used, it should hold a maximum of 150 ml (±4 ml) and must weigh 118 g (±10 g).
- 2 grams of tea (measured to ±2% accuracy) per 100 ml boiling water is placed into the pot.
- Freshly boiling water is poured into the pot to within 4–6 mm of the brim. Allow 20 seconds for water to cool.
- The water should be similar to the drinking water where the tea will be consumed
- Brewing time is six minutes.
- The brewed tea is then poured into a white porcelain or glazed earthenware bowl.
- If a large bowl is used, it must have a capacity of 380 ml and weigh 200 g (±20 g)
- If a small bowl is used, it must have a capacity of 200 ml and weigh 105 g (±20 g)
- If the test involves milk, then it is added before pouring the infused tea.
- Milk added after the pouring of tea is best tasted when the liquid is between 65 - 80 °C.
- 5 ml of milk for the large bowl, or 2.5 ml for the small bowl, is used.
Now it may seem like a bit of a waste of time for a serious scientific committee to embark upon the task of quantifying tea, however this standard does have some industrial and scientific merit. For taste tests (say, in product control or psychology experiments) it is important for the tea to be brewed to such a standard for meaningful sensory comparisons to be made. ISO establishes a standard for doing just so, and has a chuckle along the way.
Notice that ISO 3103 makes no mention of sugar. For all the tea-sugarers out there, I’ll wrap up with this quote from Orwell:But still, how can you call yourself a true tealover if you destroy the flavour of your tea by putting sugar in it? It would be equally reasonable to put in pepper or salt. Tea is meant to be bitter, just as beer is meant to be bitter. If you sweeten it, you are no longer tasting the tea, you are merely tasting the sugar; you could make a very similar drink by dissolving sugar in plain hot water. To those misguided people I would say: Try drinking tea without sugar for, say, a fortnight and it is very unlikely that you will ever want to ruin your tea by sweetening it again.
(top photo: macalit)
Revamping my tea setup at work.. best decision of the year. Temperature controlled kettle + a cup that is the right size for the strainer. Enjoying some Rishi Jade Oolong. (Taken with instagram)
This happens way too often at work, but normally not due to “forgetting” as much as being pulled away to do something just as the tea has finished brewing :(
This is a great tea video discussing present-day American tea culture, where it’s going, and also some common misconceptions about tea.
by mintwater / vsergeev
I pour the filtered water into the water kettle and plug it in.
Lately, I’ve been brewing tea in the Chinese “gongfu cha” style. A style that is showy enough to attract some quizzical looks, which I was neither prepared for, nor did I have an answer to…
This pretty much tracks my path down the rabbit hole as well.