Are You Making Tea All Wrong?

Written By: Chef Marian - Aug• 31•14

Tea Steeping

Tea Steeping

For decades now, I’ve been drinking Tea. And I think it was from a Dr. Oz Show a couple of years ago, that I learned your green tea needs to steep 20 minutes to get the full benefit of the antioxidants. 

So, when I get tea, I leave the bag in. When I make a pitcher, I leave the bags in…

And I thought that was all there was to it!

But apparently not!

In the Men’s Journal (did you even though there is a Men’s Journal) ? They’re talking about tea. “Just ask Jesse Jacobs, the founder of a tea company (omitted name and website here) who knows how to make a damn good cup”. Here’s what Jacobs recommends: (and I’m purposefully not giving you his link or business name because I think he’s just ‘workin’ you. Looking for that next sale). When someone doesn’t provide good, reliable content, just fluff? That pisses me off a little.

A LITTLE CHEF?

Well, ok. A lot! And I have this blog. So I get to make fun of what he says, and tell you the facts as I know them, contrary to his ‘expert’ advice!

Step 1: Trade the tea bag for whole leaf, unflavored tea.“The first thing with brewing the perfect cup is to source good tea. And good tea is tea that’s produced in small batches, and that is unflavored, because unflavored tea will have its own flavor … If possible, stay away from tea bags, Jacobs recommends. Well, I think he says this because he is no longer selling tea bags.

“In terms of health benefits, caffeine, and flavor, you suffer all of those in exchange for convenience. And even price.” Geez. I’m sorry to say this, but this guy has his own agenda. While it may be true that if you carefully brew your own tea you may get more flavor? These days there are incredible teas out there in beautiful satchels that really work well. Health benefits differing from loose tea to bags? Hmmm. Probably not

But what does good tea look like? “Anyone can become a tea expert just by looking at the leaves,” Jacobs explains. “The leaves need to be consistent in size, shape, and color. And that consistency is only possible when there’s a human hand involved in the process, picking and processing the leaves. No machine can mass produce consistent tea leaves.” Again, I’m sorry. Why do the leaves need to be consistent in size, shape and color? Well, I went out roaming the web for the answer to that one. And what I found is that if a leaf is broken or crushed, which does happen in packaging…. the flavor can suffer. But what kind of flavor are we talking about here? If you put one green tea up against another, would a crushed leaf seriously make a difference in the flavor? And do we want to invest all this time and energy to find out? Well, if and when the mood hits you, there are always these pricy ‘tea houses’ out there. We have some on Mira Mesa Blvd. Ten bucks or more for a cup of tea. lol rotf. Until the bill comes! lol But I am thinking that if you said you wanted to pay $20 to sample a bunch of the teas not made with a tea bag, that would be one way to find out!

Step 2: Use fresh, boiling water. No! We’re taking water from the toilet! “Bubbling, brook-fresh is ideal from a mountain stream, really, really? Who gets their water from a bubbling brook stream? Aaaah! That’s that fantasy cottage I’ve always heard about. The one’s you see in those Thomas Kincaid paintings….. Who can measure up to this guys’ standards? You see what I am saying here? This guy is off the wall. but second to that would be filtered.” I beg to differ. Second to that is not filtered. Second to that is distilled water, because it’s alkaline. Jacobs suggests boiling about a mug of water per 1 Tbsp of tea and steeping it for 3-5 minutes. Didn’t we talk about steeping earlier? And in the article he then sends you to his website to buy all these ‘oh so important’ tools to be able to brew your own tea and buy his tea in bulk! lol

Step 3: Make it personal. “The most important thing is – here’s the deal – tea is personal. Brew it to how you like it. 

Whew! Well he’s off the hook. His last sentence? There’s no right or wrong way to brew tea “Brew it how you like it”. Well, tea has been around almost 5,000 years and its’ popularity is growing. Last check? It’s a 6 billion dollar industry. And like with all industries, you have to separate the one’s with knowledge from the rainmakers. I hope you’ve gotten at least one thing from this ….. do your own homework! Even if someone sounds credible, they may have their own hidden agenda! And it’s usually connected to selling you something! lol

Keep enjoying tea…. green is good, oolong is ooogully good for ya. And just experiment. Try a couple of different bags in a pitcher. You can blend your own like I do! 

Happy Eating and Drinking,

Chef Marian