Tea Time

If there’s one food product that makes me a total and complete snob, it’s tea. The reason is that we Americans, for the most part, have no idea about how to make tea, let alone choose high quality ones.

If you think I’m overstating the case, consider the following facts.

  • We Americans tend to drink more iced tea than we do hot tea. I have no evidence to prove this, but I believe this to be true, at least in my travels.
  • Iced Tea in of itself isn’t a bad thing. But when it’s oversteeped, it’s horrible.
  • As a general rule, a restaurant is more likely to oversteep than not. You can thank the food vendors for this, who sell equipment and product that encourage lpaces to put an extra large tea bag into a giant vat of water, and then walk away and forget about it.
  • Sweetened tea (an iced tea variant found in the south), is more sugar than tea, and the sweetness often overwhelms the subtlety of the taste of tea.
  • Restaurants who should know better will often serve a customer a cup of hot water and a less than quality tea bag, when hot tea is ordered.

This is not to say that great strides haven’t been made in the American tea world over the past three decades or so. The fact that I can find loose leaf tea in some supermarkets is testament to that.

But really, we have a long ways to go.

Over the next few weeks, likely into the new year, I will be doing some more research on the various teas of the worlds – what they mean, what the differences are, and most importantly, how to make a perfect cup.