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||I found your site after it was mentioned in the bulletin of the UK Online User Group. I too have thought for quite a long time that dark mugs make bad tea and consequently only ever use them for coffee. Something to do with the heat not being reflected back into the tea, I always thought. Also, the thinner the walls of the mug, the better as it absorbs less heat energy.|
I wonder if anyone can help me track down a mug. I noticed on your "Personal Mug Awareness Week" article a picture of a 'Jar Jar Binks' mug from Star Wars Episode One. The first ever present I ever bought for my girlfriend (now wife) six or so years ago, was a 'Yoda' mug from the same series. This mug was very special to her and nine times out of ten, she would drink from it, even if it meant digging it out from a hundred weight of washing up to give it a rinse.
Unfortunately I totalled said mug a couple of years back, whilst waiting for the kettle to boil (I was raiding a jar of chocolate spread from the top of a kitchen cupboard when a tin of beans fell out and landed on the unfortunate drinking vessel) and the manufacturer, Downpace, don't seem to make them anymore. I think she's forgiven and forgotten a long time ago, but I would really like to bring her a morning cup of tea in a replacement Yoda as a surprise on our wedding anniversary next year. If you or anyone else can help me track one of these down in the meantime, I will be forever in your debt.
Great site, by the way, and one of the best URL's I have seen for a long time.
|Nicey replies: That's a charming story of mug affection. Good luck finding a Yoda.|
I'm new to your site but reading Jim Fussel's question about the colour of the mug affecting the quality of the tea reminded me of an experiment I did quite some time ago, before I had a life, to investigate this very phenomenon.
Being a true scientist, I didn't keep any notes so what follows is from memory. Basically I reasoned that water temperature is crucial to the proper brewing of tea so if the colour of the mug had an effect on the water temperature then this might be a possible explanation for the "dark mug
makes bad tea" phenomenon. As I'm sure we all know from school physics, a dark body (or mug) will radiate heat better than a light coloured mug (the so-called 'black body radiation'). So when we pour boiling water into a mug, it will cool down faster if that mug is darkly coloured. To prove this I pointed an infra-red thermometer at the outside of a white mug and a black mug while I brewed some tea. After a regulation brewing period the thermometer measured that much more heat was being given off by the black mug. Investigation of the water temperature inside the mug revealed that the water in the black mug was about 3 degrees cooler than the water in the white mug. So my theory was correct - the black mug allowed the water to cool down faster. Whether this actually makes any difference to the quality of the tea I have no idea, but it sure sounds plausible. As I recall, further investigation was hampered by the fact that I now had two mugs of tea in front of me and therefore it was necessary to go and have two sit downs, by which time the urge for discovery had left me.
I definitely don't want to enter into the dangerous territory of mugs vs cups. It's like dogs vs cats - though dogs are clearly superior beings, you are never going to convince a cat lover of this by rational argument, or any other means for that matter. Some people (normally old people) like cups, the rest of us like mugs, and that's just the way it is. Live and let live, I say.
However, I do have strong views on the colour of the drinking vessel, be it cup or mug. I noted some correspondence earlier in which the author described her favourite mug which bore the legend 'World's Sexiest Woman'. Although she loved the message printed on the outside, she was
understandably distressed by its lurid orange colour.
It is quite obvious to all but the most inexperienced tea drinker that tea must always be drunk out of a vessel that is very pale in colour, preferably white, off-white or cream. Anything else just won't do. It makes your tea look watery and unappetising, black and navy blue being the worst offenders.
While we're on the subject of unappetisiting cups of tea, does anyone else have a view on the 'scum' you get when you leave your teabag in too long? I personally prefer to have a bit of this scum on my tea as it demonstrates that the teabag has not been whipped out too soon. Anyone can make a cup of tea that, judging by the colour, APPEARS to be the right strength, but once
tasted is revealed as watery and insipid. If you've got scum however, you know it's been brewed (or 'mashed' as I believe they say up north) to at least the minimum acceptable level.
I would also like to add that informative and interesting though Jenny Hugh's 12-point list on the superiority of the cup was, it is disingenuous to say that your site is not called nicemugofteaandasitdown, as everyone knows that 'cup of tea' can refer to any drinking vessel that contains tea.
Fair enough on the other 11 points though.
Keep up the good work.
|Nicey replies: You'll set off Jim Fussell again with all this talk of dark mugs.
Yes why not have a Scum debate, scum dosn't get its fair crack of the whip does it.
|Ronnie Lee Ellis
||I'm one of Those tea drinkers, yes one of the ones who drinks loose leaf tea bought from a merchant (rather than the grocery store) and knows most of the letters mean in "Darjeeling Seeyok FTGFOP-1." I have the decency to keep it to myself though.|
Back when I worked in property management, I drank green teas in the summer, out of a glass tea mug (there's another card for the cup vs. mug argument -- tea mugs. They're different from coffee mugs ^.~;; ) I drank it in the Chinese manner, which means to put the tea leaves in the bottom of the mug and keep topping it up until the flavour runs down.
Like most people, I'm quite territorial about my drinking vessels, particularly so as the mug was a
gift. One afternoon, I came back from a showing to find that my tea mug had vanished. After some frantic searching, I found it in the hands of one of the more .. er, shall we say, "less pleasant" of my tenants. Not only had she nicked my mug, she was drinking coffee out of it. "That's my tea mug," I quavered, staring at it, rather amazed by her audacity. She looked at me with that haughty-snotty expression as if to say "So it is, and what are you going to do about it?"
This woman had been a thorn in my side for some years and now she had nicked my blinkin' tea mug and tossed out m'tea! "You threw out my experiment?" I heard myself blurt, "You killed Earnest?! Just when I'd had him going nicely?!"
I wished I'd had a camera for her face. She never touched my tea mug again. *NObody* ever touched my tea mug again. ^.~
Is mise le meas
|Nicey replies: Ronnie nice story of mug rage there. Also top marks on using some of the less popular and often overlooked keys on the keyboard. Keep drinking that Green Tea.|
And how right you are - tea is enjoyable (and necessary) regardless of the vessel it arrives in.
I am in the habit of drinking copious tea at work, obviously from a mug as I don't have room at my desk for a pot as well, and as my mug is approximately a half pinter, I have no problem dunking anything up to digestive size, which is perfectly adequate.
Perversely I drink coffee at home in a cup as I have a nifty cappuccino thingy, which will only fit a cup underneath, but this is fine as the matching saucer is perfect for balancing those nice Italian stick-like chocolate spread filled wafer things - although questionably a biscuit (?)
Hope that wasn't too much of a rant!
Cheers once again,