Following up last week’s blog some of the most important elements that affect your perfect cup of tea, we decided to complement that advice by zeroing in on an all-too-common mistake people make when preparing their tea, one that seriously impacts your cup of tea for the worse!
Unless you’re a serious tea connoisseur, you (like most of us) use the same cups and mugs for your different teas and beverages. We might have Dragonwell green tea one day and Wuyi Shui Xian oolong the next, using the same mug (washed, of course) without giving it a second thought. Because these wares are non-porous, it’s not usually a big deal as long as they’re cleaned well.
But did you know that you might be accidentally compromising the flavor of your tea?
Most of the time, this doesn’t tend to be a big deal, but there are flavors that tend to stick around in our cups—particularly strong flavors from herbal teas and blends, such as mint, coffee, smoke, or lavender. Even flavors like bergamot, citrus, and jasmine, especially if they’re from essential oils, can linger.
The last thing you want to do is get excited to drink some Silver Needles white tea only to find that it tastes “off,” minty or citrusy. This is all the worse in professional establishments, such as coffee shops, where they may be a little less discriminating about what’s been brewed previously in the teapot or served in the mug.
While we are on this topic, this is another reason why we tend to discourage plasticware and sometimes even metalware.
The metal can sometimes impart undesirable flavors into your tea, usually if it has developed a patina, trapped water, or has rusted. From iron teapots (unglazed) to stainless steel thermoses, we’ve tasted some pretty bad tea poured from these things.
To be clear, metalware is not necessarily or always bad; it’s just that, depending on a handful of factors, they sometimes do affect the flavor of your tea for the worse, usually the longer the tea is kept in them and the more they’ve been used. If the tea you pour from your thermos, for example, isn’t tasting as you expect, then it’s probably your thermos and time to either clean it thoroughly or switch it out.
Similarly, when you leave your tea in a plastic container, such as a bottle for refrigerating, it can give your tea a plastic flavor, which isn’t too tasty. This is usually a problem for people making iced tea than it is for anyone else.
The bottom line is that if you’re picking up a flavor that shouldn’t be there and you know it’s not the water to blame or the quality of the tea leaves, start thinking about switching out the teacup or mug.