By Bruce Richardson
I’m requested sometimes if water for tea could be heated in a microwave or a coffeemaker. The plain reply is sure. Nonetheless, my main query to the inquirer is, does the usage of a microwave add to your sense of formality?
Lu Yu was the primary tea grasp to deal with these questions. He didn’t have microwaves or coffeepots to take care of, however he did face a society that wanted a little bit of steerage in making tea correctly.
The crude tea practices he encountered in eighth-century China included crushing tea in a mortar and making it right into a cake earlier than boiling it along with rice, ginger, salt, orange peel, milk, spices—and typically onions! In his celebrated work, Ch’a Ching (Holy Scripture of Tea), he gave instruction on tea preparation that reworked tea making from a utilitarian chore into an honored ritual.
With the tea novice and the spirit of Lu Yu in thoughts, listed here are seven easy steps to set you on the suitable path to creating good tea.
1. Tea kettles and teapots usually are not the identical. This may occasionally sound too fundamental, however I point out it as a result of new tea college students usually don’t notice they want each utensils. And a microwave doesn’t substitute a teakettle! You possibly can management the temperature of water solely with a stove-top kettle or an electrical kettle.
2. Coffeemakers usually are not designed to make tea. Tea takes time to steep, and coffeemakers are unable to carry out that process. Remember that the oils in espresso will contaminate a vessel after one use and forevermore negate the opportunity of making good tea in that container.
3. Gather teapots in varied sizes. Don’t limit your search to only English or conventional Western teapots. Asian iron and clay pots maintain warmth nicely and are the pots of selection for making inexperienced, oolong, and white teas. Show them all through your property, and see what number of conversations they spark.
4. Develop a relationship with a number of tea suppliers. Similar to dad and mom who wish to speak about their youngsters, tea retailers are wanting to share the pedigrees of their teas. They yearn to share brewing strategies, water temperatures, and tasting notes with you.
5. Make sure your tea is recent. Ask your service provider how lengthy the tea has been shelved. If it has been on the shelf greater than 9 months, go away it for another person. Purchase in small portions, and purchase usually.
6. Retailer your tea at dwelling in an hermetic container. Tea is sort of a sponge. Preserve it away from odors, warmth, moisture, and light-weight. Don’t retailer tea within the freezer, and retailer solely inexperienced teas within the fridge.
7. Water temperature is vital to brewing nice tea. In terms of water temperature, simply bear in mind—the blacker the tea, the warmer the water. Common tips are as follows: white tea, 165°; inexperienced tea, 175°; oolongs, 200°; black teas and herbals, 212°. Inserting a small quantity of sizzling water within the teapot first to heat it’s at all times good, however you should definitely discard that water earlier than including the tea leaves and the ultimate water.
Tea making ought to develop into a ritual for any critical tea scholar. Like all self-discipline, it calls for constant apply and a focus to particulars. When you’ve mastered these fundamental steps, tea making will circulate simply out of your spirit and infuse you and your visitors with serenity.
From TeaTime March/April 2012