A man who I look up to only because of his perseverance in fighting his illness and moving on with life as though nothing has affected his day to day activities. I had an enlightened chat with him about the various going-on’s in my life and the conversation conveniently veered towards food. Now, this man, before his entrée into the world of business had taken up a management course in hotel & catering, a fantastic cook himself and more so with the abundance of knowledge of the finest foods in the world. A well traveled person who has tried and tested many varieties of the cuisines in his travails. He was a walking talking dictionary of food and, for a change, a person, who had as much passion in eating as he had in making food.
He had made himself comfortable with a cup of tea and his audience which comprised of me and a small group of his family members quickly got enraptured in his tirade about the “perfect cup”.
He started off with a dose of how the mushrooming coffee and tea bars make commercially appreciated tea and instead connoisseurs of tea would probably leave drinking tea forever if they tasted the variety we got in most of these places. He even gave an insight into the tea tasting profession which is much revered in tea growing states and a particularly high end job which pays handsomely. A little gyaan on the various stages tea went through to finally get nitrogen packed in most commercial brands was discussed and then he finally got down to how one should brew the perfect cup.
Now, I do not know if it was the stages involved in brewing the perfect cup or the fact that I brewed a cup step by step the way it was reiterated to me – but there is something meticulous about brewing tea the right way which finally satiates your senses, mind and body like how fine wine would.
A coincidence that recently I should get a whole bag of flavored teas from one of the finest tea estates in Sri Lanka, which got me tearing open a box of Jasmine Tea and getting down to brewing my own little tea cup the connoisseurs way.
I started off by pulling out a small cottage shaped curio ceramic teapot which was the only ceramic teapot I had and coincidentally from Sri Lanka! (yes, the first thing one should do while on an attempt to make tea is to get a teapot which is ceramic) and proceeded to the first step in tea making.
The teapot, well washed and free of any out worldly smells is to be warmed. Now we can, of course, not warm it over a flame or in the oven, so the warming of the pot is done by pouring hot boiling water into the pot, closing the lid and pouring out the water through the spout in about four minutes.
The tea is then spooned into the hot pot to a ratio of one spoon per person and one small extra for the pot. The lid is closed and the tea should be given a minute for the natural heated vapors to soak in. This step ensures that the leaves are gently made accustomed to the heat they would be subject to in the next few minutes and more so in getting the natural oils and flavors (in case of flavored teas) activated for the final brewing.
Some of the finer points to be noted:
No boiling or zapping the tea into oblivion as you would then be practically burning the leaves and having a mish mash of bitter flavors
No re-heating should be done – as this method is only for instant drinking and meant to be that way
No using boiling water when commencing with the actual brewing
Time bound and precision inspired, as only then will you enjoy the real and actual flavors
The steps for the perfect brew can be used for any tea possibly made by mankind
This way you'd be proud of the fact that it’s a world of difference making it the way it’s actually supposed to be made. Try it one fine day when you have all the time in the world, I assure you, its nothing less than a relaxing spa treatment.