A plea for a decent cuppa

27 Aug 2007

A good cup of tea and sit down

From high street coffee shop chains to a visitor’s café at some attraction (such as the one I went to at Alnwick Castle last week), I’m being left with a bad taste in my mouth.

All that specialist equipment, ‘barista’ training, and trouble spent over making a good cup of coffee – then when you ask for a cup of tea, you get a tea bag dumped in a mug, and over-boiled water from an urn poured over it. The muck you get at other end of this passionless process is fairly undrinkable.

It’s to these folks that I want to get this message across: Boil some fresh water please.

To brew tea leaves, the water needs to be oxygenated. Constantly re-boiling water removes that vital element – the water needs to be freshly drawn (throw out any old water in the urn), and freshly boiled if it’s to stand a chance of getting the flavour out of those leaves. Even with tea bags, you can get a good result.

If the the tea can be made in a pre-warmed pot (a cold pot means a loss of brewing heat), with loose tea, then so much the better. The time the tea is left to brew is down to personal taste and the type of tea (for example green tea needs very little brewing time) – but no longer than 5 mins or the tea will be ‘over-stewed muck’. The ideal is to be handed a freshly made pot and a mug, and leave it up to the customer to finish the job.

All I want is to be able to go out with coffee drinkers, and be able to get a cup of tea, made with the same attention as their cappucinos or lattés. Thanks for listening!

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