Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Perfect Cup of Tea with Cindi Bigelow

It is warming up today, but we are recovering from some very cold weather here in Oklahoma. It was only 3 degrees Fahrenheit yesterday morning when I went to work, so the 41 degrees of this afternoon was a welcome change. That is one thing I love about Oklahoma; if you don't like the weather, stick around. It won't last long! So, I don't expect our snow (which fell on Sunday) to last much longer.

But this post isn't primarily about the weather. It is about tea.

I love tea, but my appreciation for the beverage is reaching new heights since last night. Why? Because making tea is an art, and art requires technique -- something I was sadly lacking. I have a feeling yesterday's discovery will have ramifications that will last long after this cold weather has disappeared.

It happened like this. Zachary was giving me a ride home from church and bell choir last night, and, in an effort to combat the bitterly cold temperatures, we were imagining our favorite hot drinks (after Zachary tried to get a reaction out of me by suggesting ice-cream -- which worked). Hot chocolate and tea were both brought up, but we both agreed that tea was the beverage of choice.

I told Zachary, "I am going to go home and make a hot cup of tea." Something better than my usual efforts was about to be enjoyed, but I didn't know that when I said goodnight to Zachary and headed in.

Dad had something to show me almost as soon as I stepped in out of the cold -- a YouTube video made of Cindi Bigelow demonstrating how to make the perfect cup of tea. She is the president of the family-owned Bigelow company and is the granddaughter of the woman who created the Constant Comment recipe (a favorite of mine). As Cindi put it, "I do think there are some fun things you will really enjoy learning about [...] that will really make a difference to ensure that you are getting all the flavor in a cup that you deserve."

Her video made my mouth gape with enlightenment. You see, I knew I had some bad tea habits -- such as occasionally forgetting my brewing tea until it is stronger than medicine, etc. -- but I had no clue that I was still missing out when I made a "good" cup of tea. Watch the video, below. If you are anything like me, you might pick up on a few new things.

While I was watching the video, my dad was practicing his new skills, and he handed me a perfect cup of Constant Comment at the end. I smelled the difference before I tasted it. It was a clearer fragrance, and the taste lived up to my new expectations. It was quite possibly the best cup of tea I have ever tasted. It was fresh and pure, and the slight bitterness I am used to was gone.

Based on her video, I can now recognize a few of my worst tea making habits.

1. Occasionally reusing the water in the tea pot
2. Letting the water boil too long
3. Brewing the tea for longer than 4 minutes (Cindi prefers 3 minutes)
4. Not covering the cup while it brews
5.  Squeezing the tea bag to get the most out of it (doing so actually makes the tea bitter -- not better)

What do you all think? After watching the video, did you learn anything new, or were you already making the perfect cup of tea?


Caitlin said...

Wow! Great hints. I know I'm going to be using some of them when I get home tonight!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for answering my question so quick. I like tea very much and I shall try tofollow the instructions. I've read your character study of Christy. Christy was on TV in the Netherlands too. I liked the serie very much.After that I have bought the book.It is translated in Dutch. The book is more interesting. I recognize the different sort of christian people. Greetings from the Netherlands

Zachary Pruett said...

Well I never even thought ring out the tea bag, but I'm guilty on all other infractions. :)

Very informative, thanks for sharing. Love you!

Joy said...

I am Scottish and one thing Scots know is tea! I would agree with the video except for one point. Never pour rolling,boiling hot water over your tea bag. It should be hot, but not boiling as it enters the cup. Like anything in life, it takes practice. I enjoy tea any time of day!
Tea preferences are individual, that's what makes sharing a cup with a friend a unique experience.

Bigelow Tea said...

We are so glad you found Cindi's video helpful! Thanks for sharing it with your readers too. Nothing makes us happier than knowing that people out there are enjoying perfectly brewed cups of tea! Enjoy your Constant Comment ... and take care!
-Deb for Bigelow Tea

Elizabeth Ellen Moore said...

Thank you all for commenting!

Sandy Skinner said...

Well, I realized that I broke almost ALL the tea rules! I reuse my water, it boils furiously, I don't put a cover on it and I squeeze the tea bag!
I do remember my Grandmother always using Constant Comment with her other black tea bags for the best sun tea ever.
I always think of her when I enjoy Constant Comment.
Thanks for the education on proper brewing. I will enjoy Bigelow tea even MORE now.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the info...although the only one I used to not practice was the squeezing of the tea bag. Good to know that Iam now making it correctly; it also minimizes the caffeine. One bag of generic black tea along with CC tea is AWESOME!

Robert said...

Elizabeth and Deb (from Bigelow Tea)...

One of the recent Bigelow teas I've tasted for the first time is Plantation Mint. The blend of black tea and spearmint leaves is gentle and soothing.

...One of my new favorites!


Robert said...

I forgot to mention...

Constant Comment was my parents' favorite. ...At least that's my recollection. I know it was around the kitchen quite a bit.

I love that tea!!