Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Liturgy of Tea

Steve Skojec, over at Inside Catholic has a great meditation on The Rubrics of Coffee .

I have little to add, just a few words about my brew of choice, tea.

I disagree with good Fr. Rutler - herbal teas are indeed real teas. It is the fruit based ones that aren't, being Tisans, instead. Herbal tea has a fine medicinal and pleasurable tradition that I won't gainsay.

As far as making tea - Steve is right, the water must be right. I am not a strict purist in that I do use filtered tap water.

The water must be cold to start and boiled in a proper tea kettle, the microwave is anathema. I recommend a cordless electric kettle - it sits on an electric base and you can pick it up, and move it, etc, to pour without a cord hassle.

The pot must be properly warmed, first. So boil more water than the pot holds.

Loose leaf tea is best and should be strained when poured. Second best is a tea ball or filter insert in your tea pot. Tea bags are only to be used as a last resort.

For plain black tea, PG Tips is the best generally available brand, but don't use it for iced tea.

If you want to go out for tea, Peet's is the only place.

And, for you coffee purists, if you ever find yourself in Portland, OR, Stumptown is the only place to get the black brew.

And, because I am a poseur (in the words of my British friend), I recommend Luzianne for iced tea. It brews quite well if left overnight in the refrigerator.


Kamilla said...

For a truly unusually divine tea experience, I recommend the Green Peony at Peet's.

Ethan C. said...

I confess that I'm sometimes guilty of the microwave heresy, but maybe that's only because I don't have an electric kettle and so have to use the stove.

Lately, my concoction of choice has been Twinings Loose leaf, 4 parts Prince of Wales to 1 part Lapsang Souchong.

Rachel Pierson said...

Coffee; anything but Kenyon--with creamer, hazelnut, if you have it.

Judy K. Warner said...

Oh, Ethan, are you another Lapsang Souchong fan? I agree about mixing it with something else; it's too much by itself. It was Winston Churchill's favorite tea.

I buy my tea at The prices are very good and there's a wide variety of loose teas, but the shipping is a bit high, so it's best to buy a lot at once, or get a group order together. Every once in a while they have free shipping for a month.