I always chuckle when I see the card in the shop that says Make Tea Not War. I know there are other similar buzz quotes out there, like the t-shirt I saw someone wearing the other day that said, Make Cornbread Not War, but back to tea….
There’s nothing quite like a cuppa! Having lived in Asia and the UK, I’ve been around and appreciated tea culture wholeheartedly for quite some time. There’s something so great about the ritual of having tea with friends, family, or alone. And while there are plenty of tea drinkers in the US, tea drinking is not at all mainstream here, with the exception of iced tea, I guess?
In the Lotus Shop, I sometimes have customers ask how to use some of the tea accessories we carry, or how to make tea, and I think there might be this idea that making tea is difficult or a hassle to clean up afterward. So I thought I’d try to dispel this myth with what I do that’s really pretty easy. For the record, I’m no expert — but, just someone who enjoys tea from time to time…
For Japanese green tea (sencha), put about a scoop and a half in the pot. Boil water and let it cool a little. Pour the water on top of the tea. Wait about 40 seconds, then pour the tea into cups using short, quick back and forth motions rotating to each cup until all the tea is served — don’t leave tea in the pot. Set the lid at an angle on the pot. Enjoy the tea! You can use the same tea leaves for another round by adding hot water again. This time, wait about 20 seconds before pouring.
For Chinese jasmine tea or oolong tea put a spoonful of tea in the bottom of a cup. Boil water and add immediately. Cover the cup with a lid. (You can use a saucer on top if your cup doesn’t have a lid) Wait a couple of minutes. Remove the lid and enjoy!
For Chinese Pu’er tea, put about a tablespoon of tea into a small pot. Boil water and add immediately, but then, immediately pour out the hot water to “rinse off” the tea. Some people do this step again, but I just do it once. Then fill up the pot again, and wait about 10 or 20 seconds. Pour into cups or glasses to serve immediately. Pour all of the tea – don’t leave tea in the pot. You can use the same tea leaves for a few rounds of tea by adding hot water again, and pouring immediately.
Oh, and for clean-up, I dump the leaves in the trash as best I can, then I rinse the pot, pouring out the remaining leaves through a paper coffee filter and throw it away. I don’t use soap to wash my teapots, as it is said that the teapot gets sort of seasoned over time and your tea will become more delicious. I’ve heard that you should not put tea leaves in the garbage disposal.
If you have any tea making tips or methods to share, I welcome them. And feel free to drop by the Lotus Shop and talk tea with me!
– Hilary Arai