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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Tea -- Must to Know

Gourmet vs. Supermarket Tea

Remember when your choice of coffee ranged from Folgers to Sanka? And then Starbucks came along to show how much better it can be. The same is true of tea. The varieties on offer in your supermarket are the bottom of the barrel: low-quality bags containing tea dust - the tiny leaf particles that break off when tea leaves are processed. They'll add color to your cup, but not much flavor. A far cry from the abundance of flavor and intoxicating aroma found in a cup of full-leaf gourmet tea. Chances are, you are no longer drinking Sanka. Once you try our teas, you will not wish to drink anything sold in the supermarket either.

Keep Air and Light Out

Tea tastes best when consumed within a year after production. To shield tea against the damaging effects of air and light, it should be stored in opaque and airtight canisters. Metal tins seem to function best in this role. Most of our teas, including the one-ounce samples, are available in the airtight, UV-blocking tins pictured here.

Two Factors: Time and Temperature

Suggested ratio is one teaspoon of leaves per cup of water. However, the light and voluminous teas will taste best with twice that. To steep, please use boiling water (212F) when preparing black, dark oolong and herbal teas. And it's important to use cooler (180F) water when steeping green, light oolong and white teas. And remember to not over-steep, or your tea will taste bitter. Rule of thumb is 5 min. for most black, 7 min. for dark oolong and white, and only 3 min. for light oolong and green teas.

Assuring the proper temperature for green tea is easy with our variable-temperature kettle and electric tea maker. Both permit you to set the goal of 180F to assure a perfect cup of green or white tea.


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