How to Enjoy Chinese Teas the European Way

Some people hesitate to buy some of the more premium Chinese Teas, thinking they also have to invest in a host of special teawares. Well, they could, but it’s not 100% necessary. You can enjoy those teas the “European way.” After all, Europeans do it all the time. And so do most tea drinkers here in the U.S.

Tea issues:

One big issue with Chinese teas is that they are often best when steeped loose, the reason that offers the vast majority of its teas in loose form with only a few bagged in pyramid sachets. To many tea drinkers both in the U.S. and Europe, especially countries like Ireland which still holds the record as the most tea consumed per capita, tea is black dust in a bag, often with a string and tag attached.

No way to get a true taste from teas like Bi Luo Chun and Yunnan Black Tea in this form. That in itself is offputting, especially to those too busy to take the extra time to steep their tea loose in water heated to just the right temperature. They tend to think, therefore, that they can only enjoy these premium teas in a special setting. However, others are doing so every day.

European and U.S. style teawares:

In Europe and here in the U.S. steeping tea in a mug is more and more commonplace, so much so that a company in the UK started a “Save the Teapot” campaign awhile back. They bemoaned the demise of steeping tea in a teapot due to the wide use of teabags. Again, too, time is a factor here. Why dirty a teapot when you can put the hot water directly in the mug and dunk in the teabag? Better yet, just fill the mug with water, zap it in the microwave to heat the water to a super boil, and then add the bag. Sounds lovely…uh, well, actually it doesn’t.

Fortunately, there are increasing numbers of tea drinkers on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean who want to drink their tea loose. Teapots with steeper baskets integrated in the design are one solution. The other is a method of steeping that involves either a small teapot or two larger teapots (the loose tea is steeped and then all the liquid is strained out either into a big cup or another teapot). And yes you can do this with any of the fine Chinese teas available on the market. And don’t forget steeping mugs with filters integrated in them and insulated to keep your tea hot yet stay cool enough outside for easy handling.

Here is one of our pu-erhs steeped in a ceramic teapot, but it could just as easily be steeped in that travel mug:

(photo used with permission)

Here is a fine green tea from China called “Longjing” or “Dragonwell” steeped in a cup using an infuser basket:

(photo used with permission)

Any black tea from China can be steeped in a regular porcelain or ceramic teapot, the way you would black teas from India, Africa, and elsewhere:

(photo used with permission)

So, go ahead and indulge in those wonderful teas from the land where tea drinking began — China!

About Janice and Stephen Shelton

Purveyors of Premium Teas
This entry was posted in Enjoying and Preparing Tea and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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