Thursday, January 13, 2011
A Perfect Cup of Tea with Cindi Bigelow
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?