The Science behind Tea: An insight into how paying attention to small things can lead to a great cup of tea

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It is said that Tea is slowly becoming one of the most popular and healthy drinks in the world. The reason why it is so favored is because it is extremely easy to make, tastes and smells wonderful and is known to have many health benefits-no i am not particularly talking about weight loss tea but tea in general. Having said that, many at times, the tea that we taste is just not good. So maybe the tea leaves weren’t good quality? Aha, a bad workman always blames his tools and in this case the tea companies. Well, although the issue might be that of the quality of the tea leaves, there are many other factors which ultimately decide the taste. These factors might be minuscule but have a big effect on the cup of tea.


1) Porcelain cups vs Disposable cups: According to tradition, tea has been served in porcelain cups for ages. However, when we’re travelling or perhaps in a local tea stall, we are served tea in a disposable tea cup. More often than not, i have noticed that there is a flavor loss or perhaps the tea wasn’t up to the mark. Very recently, i came across an article that spoke about this issue and reasons why the tea loses its flavor when served in a disposable cup. disposable cup

Tannin, the integral part of tea, gets stuck to the sides of the disposable cups, thus reducing the taste and effect of tea. On the other hand, the smooth sides of a porcelain or glass tumbler ensure that nothing gets collected on the insides and that the drinker doesn’t miss out on anything.


2) 100-80-60 : If you ever wonder whether temperature plays a big role as far as tea drinking is concerned then remember the catch phrase 100-80-60.  Now lets break it down.

100 is the boiling temperature and ensures a fast reaction of the mixtures and contents of the tea. Keep in mind that once 100 degrees Celsius is crossed, an increase of every 10 degrees would mean an incremental increase of reaction speed, so you don’t want to go that high.  Once the hot tea is ready, don’t just pour the tea into the tumbler. Remember the art is in the wait. So wait for a few minutes, while the kettle/ tea pot cools a bit, till about 80 degrees Celsius.  Maybe, make a peanut butter sandwich while you’re waiting for the kettle to cool a bit. Once it is 80 degrees Celsius it is advisable to pour the tea into the tumbler.

Once the tea is in the cup, don’t be in a hurry to finish your cuppa, no matter how much you want to drink the tea! Again, the art is in the wait. According to scientists, 60 degrees celsius is the perfect temperature to start drinking. ie actually tasting and enjoying your drink as opposed to burning your tongue. In the mean time while your waiting patiently to drink your tea, let the swirling tea stimulate your mind and come up with some new ideas or thoughts, maybe write a poem or read a book. After about 5-7 minutes you can now start enjoying your favorite beverage. Unlike commonly held tea etiquette of not slurping your tea while drinking, according to many tea experts,  it is perfectly fine to slurp your tea, and although many people might find that uncouth or impolite, slurping actually activates your taste buds and lets you taste the multiple flavors and nuances of the Tea. Professional tea slurpers or Tea tasters as they more commonly known, take as many as 4 years to master the Art of Tea tasting and evaluating.

3) Fresh- Although it is said that the tea leaves can be steeped multiple times, it is strongly recommended that the water be changed at a regular interval. The oxygen present in the water is a huge contributor to the essence and flavor of tea, which evaporates after multiple steeps. This in turn leads to a faint bitter taste due to the absence of oxygen to smooth things out.



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