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Caught the show on UK Food the other day, good showing by your good self as ever - never heard that bit about Iced Gems before . . . nice to know that I can still learn something.
Anyway, onto more important matters.
As you know, I always like to push the envelope and go a bit eXtreme with my biscuit eating - desperately scouring the shelves to find weirder and weirder tea time treats (with disastrous results sometimes like those bloody awful Apple and Cinnamon jobbies from Asda) and have
now moved onto experimental tea drinking thanks to the works coffee machine.
I'm currently running a very nice (and very big) metal thermal mug courtesy of Starbucks. No handle, rubber grip, rubber bottom, doesn't fall over easily . . . very nice all round.
The problem I have with it is that I don't drink tea really hot and due to the thermal properties of the mug it now takes over 30 minutes to cool down to a drinkable temperature (instead of the usual 10 or so). Because of this my tea invariably ends up with a skin on it (which I thought was odd because I always believed that the skin was formed when the tea cooled but it turns out it's a function of time) which I have to scrape off or drink through.
In order to alleviate this situation I have taken to blasting my tea with the coffee machines cappuccino wand to give it a nice thick frothy covering . . . it works quite well, significantly reducing skin formation while I wait for it to cool and surprisingly the covering of bubbles doesn't seem to do anything to keep the tea warm for longer (good job too).
Anyway I've christened my new creation a Cappeteano . . . it's a bit of a faff and I can't do it at home as we don't have a coffee machine but while the technology is here I might as well use it.
Just as a matter of interest . . . What sort of technical advances do you think would benefit tea drinkers in the future???
|Nicey replies: Adam,
The tea is simply trying to form a protective skin to stop you giving it any more abuse than you already have. Possibly in future we might have super powerful computers watching over our every move and advising us when we are in danger of making a really offensive cup of tea by bunging it a cross between a tin can and a thermos then blasting steam through it, I expect.
BTW I'm back on UK Food next Wednesday as apparently we failed to fit all of the biscuit universe into seven minutes.
(Its alright I know Adam personally so you can all be as rude as you like about his misguided tea making)
i love the site but am dismayed by your verdict on the Two-Cups-Per-Teabag issue. this is wrong, manifestly wrong and uncivilised, and not what i expected from such an esteemed tea-conoisseur. i use TeaDirect fair trade teabags, one per mug. the packet quite clearly says 'one per mug' too! mind you, the mug i drink from is rather large and i like it that way - perhaps two teabags is suficient for less vat-like cups.
sometimes i drink Earl Grey and that definitely requires one bag per mug cos it's not the strongest flavour in the world to start with and those of us who like it nice and strong with not much milk need to give the teabag a good swirl to get a decent-sized mug out of it.
i don't use Yorkshire Tea so maybe it has just escaped my attention that some brands ARE designed for two cups per bag. what if you only drink tea alone though? seems a bit needlessly cruel to singletons. perhaps they could dry the teabag out and re-use it? i don't fancy that though.
PS. on the issue of how long to leave the bag in for, i swirl it round for more than 'a few seconds' - more like 30 seconds to a minute at least (depending on how badly i'm trying to put off going back to my desk). i like it strong you see, but not stewed (where bits of tannin-y crap appear on the top - yuk!). leaving the bag in long enough to get lots of flavour but taking it out just before it hits 'the tannin barrier' is a skill which takes a long while to acquire, as my non-tea-savouring boyfriend is learning through trial and (mostly) error. i have pointed him towards your site in the hope that this will advance his education a little.
|Nicey replies: Kate,
Its not manifestly wrong, as it is manifestly possible for people who like their tea a certain way to use one bag to two mugs. I would not be after a second go on your bag if it were at the cusp of producing stewed tea, would I? Remember NiceCupOfTeaAndASitDown defends peoples right to make tea how they like it.
We get Yorkshire tea, teabags nowadays. Its states on the front of their packets that one teabag makes two mugs of tea. I can confirm this. I too used to be an extravagant one bag per cup man. I didn't believe one bag properly stretched to two cups. Now it seems Yorkshire tea have specifically
designed their bags to make two mugs. Or it could be that their tea bags were extra strong in the first place (which seems more likely come to think of it) and the two mugs per bag boast is a cunning marketing ploy. Trust those yorkshire types to be careful with their tea.
|Nicey replies: Well it just so happens in our 'Summer lets try some different tea bags' oddessy, that the Wife opened up our pack of Yorkshire Tea Bags this morning, sent to us by Taylors for evaluation. I did notice that they looked fairly large. I'll try my new cramming one onto a spoon and nodding sagely test in a little while. Also from Yorkshire, Bothams sent us some of their very nice Resolution tea bags which worked well and they easily made two mugs.
BTW We were up in Newcastle a little under 2 weeks ago, thats an awful lot of bridges you have there.
Just to add to the debate, I was under the impresssion that almost all teabags produced these days were designed for the mug. The teabag manufacturing companies have resigned themselves to this fact, despite whatever "serving suggestion" may adorn the packaging. This is how most tea is made these days. The tea in teabags is "designed" to release it's colour and flavour as quickly as possible so the mug drinker knows the bag has done it's work, can hoist out the bag after a few seconds, burn his/her fingers, make a mess on the top of the flip-top bin and be off on their merry way. Release of colour and flavour in a few seconds is of less importance to the more up-market brands (Twinings etc.) as they expect more of their bags to be used in pots, hence the rather disappointing mug performance of the more costly bag.
I, of course, speak from a position of absolutely no authority on this matter.
By the way, I agree with Katie, my personal preference is one bag per cup.
I'd like to stick up for Katie a little. I am a one bag per cup man, not because I am a man of infinite tea resources, but due to the fact that surely the second cup made will be of superior strength and quality. Also, I have always heard the theory when making a pot of tea, that x+1 bags should be used. Where x is the number of cups required. This is even more excessive than the one bag per cup method employed by Katie.
One thing I can't disagree with however is the main ethos in all tea making matters. Make it how you like it. In fact I think I will...right now. Excuse me.
|Nicey replies: Jim,
I hear what you are saying but I think its one 'spoon' each plus one for the pot. As I said teabags tend to be a bit generous so I think that equation may not hold true except for people who have big teapots and like strong tea. In a very scientific test I've just scrunched a Pyramid bag onto a teaspoon and it looks like a heaped spoonful. Perhaps other people could estimate the contents of other bags?
I would say that because the flavour of the tea leached from the leaves changes as the tea brews due to higher molecular weight tannins being released, then the second cup can taste different if both are not made in quick succession. Again as with all tea matters personal taste is every thing here, but for the Wife and I the teabag is only in the mug of boiling water for a matter of a few seconds to get it to how we like it nice and refreshing.