A few weeks back we had some friends over for dinner. My lovely wife, Chia-Ling (Sunshine), put together a fantastic dinner with so many traditional Taiwanese dishes our bellies were bursting by the time the 4th dish was served. We sat around most of the evening eating, sipping on our drinks, talking, laughing and so on. A perfect night, no doubt!
After dinner came to an end I prepared an after dinner assortment of teas and desserts. With the kettle heating up and the leaves splayed across the table for everyone to enjoy, I posed a question to our friends who were over that night.
"What makes Taiwan tea so special and different from so many of the other types of tea on the market?"
Answers came from all directions and with ample consideration and discussion given to each one: Knowledge and experience of the farmers. Climate. Soil. Air. Rain. Ours is better than theirs! Taste. Smell.
And so on. And so on.
Then I weighed in on the subject with a point that was missed by everyone in attendance.
"The fact that the tea drinker can steep, re steep and steep yet again makes Taiwan tea very unique," I shouted with glee. A few heads nodded up and down, and a couple others grinned with pleasure.
I'm certainly not going to say that all Taiwan tea not only trumps but puts to shame all other teas. Certainly not. I've enjoyed many different types of tea - herbal, blends, you name it - from around the world. Some of these beverages are exquisite in taste, aroma and appearance. I even have a few in my own personal collection.
Nevertheless, the degree to which you can steep and re steep a tea is very important to me and should be to the customer, too. Most high-quality teas can be steeped at the very minimum 3 times; some teas even more. Of course, there are some important considerations when it comes to how many times one can use the same tea leaves:
1. Length of time one steeps their tea leaves.
2. Quantity of leaves used.
3. Temperature one steeps their leaves.
4. Quality and type of tea (This being the standard benchmark.)
So, the next time you walk the aisles of your local market in search of the best tea at the best price, consider not only the price you are paying for your tea but the quality, taste and the number of times that you can steep this very special drink.
If you would like to learn more about tea, the best ways to steep or just have a question you'd like answered, feel free to comment on this Blog or write Ashley at email@example.com.
Have a great week!
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”