Sunday, 7 March 2010
Questions? Tea tasting in Dießen am Ammersee
Took a daytrip towards the mountains yesterday and stopped halfway there at the Ammer Lake in Upper Bavaria. Had packed map, dogs and tea into J’s car and we were off. Once we got there, it was unbearably cold by the water, so we sat in the car and did a comparison of the two Assams I’d brought along.
He asked me a few things on our drive. I’ll answer what I can right now, and find out the rest and post it here when I know it. He says he's heard to rinse the pot with boiling water before preparing the tea. Right?
Definitely. I used to think this was ridiculous and still don’t bother doing it with green or white tea. I’m convinced when it comes to black tea, though. It has to be steeped as HOT as possible. Some call it a rolling boil. So preheat your pot with boiling water, before you pour rolling, boiling water over the tea (Sounds like a Sousa March, eh? The March of the Rolling, Boiling Tea).
Next question: how long? This one is embarrassing for me because I was one of those people who told myself I like strong tea, so I’ll steep it a long, long time. Truth is that this doesn’t make the tea stronger. Instead, it only makes it bitter. Here, I have to plead ignorance and say that I was misled by a friend in Hertfordshire. Whenever I visit him, I watch him drop a bag of Tips in his large mug and let it stay in there for ten minutes (or more). I thought 10 plus minutes was normal for black tea. It’s not.
Four to Five minutes (closer to four) is best for most black teas. Anything more and you’re not getting stronger tea. Bitter tea isn’t stronger.
As for our taste test? We compared Assam Mangalam and Assam Khongea. To us, they were both perfect for the blustery weather, but indistinguishable. Guess I need to drink more tea to be able to make that comparison.
The photo is of the little tea shop near the station in Dießen am Ammersee. It was closed. It was Sunday, after all.