“Strange how a teapot can represent at the same time the comforts of solitude and the pleasures of company.” – Author Unkown

Well – we knew some people had some rather strong opinions on tea – but we were recently forwarded this essay by George Orwell – and think he has taken strong opinions to a whole new level.  I must admit that I cringed as I read through most of it – but hey – read for yourselves – and tell us what you think:  George Orwell.

Well – if you have to ask – then you’ve probably never had loose leaf tea.  Here is an article that was just printed in Scotland’s Daily Record that made us snicker.  There are many problems with commercial teabags – quality and flavour being the most important.  The leaves used are ground down into fine particles – fannings and dust in the tea world.  Firstly, you would never do that to a leaf of high quality.  Second – the smaller the cut of leaf – the greater the surface area of leaf to water – this results in instant colour when steeping but no flavour.  Unfortunately,  the line between flavour and bitter is crossed so quickly that is almost impossible to brew a good cup of tea using this quality product.

I must admit that I do not order tea in a restaurant – nor do ask for it as someone’s home – unless I know it’s of loose leaf quality.  I know that sounds terrible – but there is nothing worse than a bad cup of tea.

What’s been your worst cup of tea?

Begin with good tea – tea – even loose leaf quality – is the cheapest beverage in the world next to water – so there really is no excuse to be drinking poor quality tea.  Use freshly drawn water – we recommend filtered water – but if you are lucky enough to have access to fresh spring water – use it.  Measure 1 tsp per 6oz cup into an infusor.  Make sure your infusor is large enough to allow the ‘agony of the leaves’ to take place properly.  Allow your water to reach a boil when brewing black teas, pu-ehr, herbals – and longer oxidized oolongs.  For white, green and lightly oxidized oolongs – use water that has reached approximately 80C.  Allow your tea to steep – 3-5 minutes for white, 1-3 minutes for green, 2-4 minutes for oolongs, 3-5 minutes for black except for Darjeelings – which require only 2-4 minutes.  Sit back – and enjoy. 

In addition to the bi-weekly tea seminars we have been offering – we are now introducing The Tea Specialist Certificate.  This certificate is designed to provide a thorough understanding of tea – where it comes from, how it’s made – its history and social impact – its health benefits.  We will taste a large array of teas during the two day span of this seminar.  For more information, please follow this link:  Tea Specialist Certificate

Should you clean your teapot after every use or not?  There are those that believe – STRONGLY – that you should never clean out your teapot – that the tannin build up in the teapot adds to the flavours of the tea.  There are others that believe – STRONGLY – that by not cleaning your teapot, you will never have a clean and pure tasting cup of tea.  Our position on it is quite simple – it depends on whether you enjoy different types of tea or if you prefer drinking just one type.  If you do drink different types/categories of tea – white, green, oolong, etc – then we suggest either cleaning your teapot thoroughly, or keeping a different teapot for every different type of tea that you drink.  A white tea is far too smooth and delicate for example to be drinking out of a teapot with black tea tannin buildup.

What do you think?

Welcome to our first blog.  Why a blog?  Well we love tea – and we know a lot of you love tea – and have a lot of questions – so we thought this would be the perfect way for all of us to share our stories about tea, our questions and queeries – as well as anything else you want to chat about.  We’ll keep you up to date with what is happening with us – and let’s see where this blog takes us.  ENJOY!  Don’t forget to visit our site at www.theteaemporium.com