Another Japanese pot of tea, water comingto the boil at Nakamura-san's hermitage.
I despair of getting a good cup of tea when traveling or out to eat, resorting to stuffing an electric kettle with my PJs (so it doesn't take up extra room in my bag), hunting out microwaves — and, I confess, when truly desperate for a caffeine fix, drinking a Diet Coke. The Irish travels were a joy, a decent cup of tea could be had anywhere. Even at fast food places.
The trouble is not the tea, but the temperature. The correct temperature for brewing black teas is 212oF. The advent of the Keurig hasn't helped things, for while "Keurig believes that the optimal temperature for brewing coffee, tea and hot cocoa is 89°C (192° F)," I don't. Different flavor compounds are extracted out at different temperatures, so tea brewed at too low a temperature tastes different, and frankly, not to my liking, de gustibus non est disputandum1 notwithstanding.
When I stay with my dad he pulls out a little tetsubin, a small cast iron Japanese tea pot. He warms the pot while bringing a kettle of water to the boil, and sets out a mug for me on the counter. The sugar is tucked in my mother's now classic Corningware sugar bowl. It's the perfect pot of tea, brewed with bags of Lipton and love — and water of the correct temperature. What else should I expect of an organic chemist?
1. In matters of taste there can be no dispute. But proper black tea must be steeped in water just off the boil, green tea is better at 180o.