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|People usually suck at making tea and that is my main complaint with Starbucks and their tea making ability... or lack there of... Here's everything they're doing wrong and how to make the best cup of tea.|
|Ahh... Starbucks, born in 1976; the Pike Place market of Seattle became their very first home. They specialized in tea and coffee but now they're known mostly for their coffee... and it's because they destroy their tea!|
One morning I had arrived early for work and decided to treat myself with a special morning coffee. However, the prices for their special coffees were ludicrous. As in, they suggest we have a coffee and cream shortage or something so I ordered an orange herbal tea which was still more expensive than if I bought my own box of tea.
The woman seemed pleased that my order was simple as it was quite busy. I expected her to just put the tea bag in the water and then give it to me however I had to wait for 5 minutes. When it got to me, it smelled like seaweed and canned spinach. Upon tasting it, it was reminiscent of salt water, pepper, and a strange citrusy muddy flavor. I can't exactly say it tasted like anything else. I was so disgusted and I had burnt the crap out of my tongue to boot. The cup was burning my hand even with the damn cardboard sleeve on it. They did not give me a cup of tea, they gave me a cup of scalding hot ocean water with old burnt tea leaves, burnt orange peels and burnt herbs. I would have thrown it at the woman who made it but she probably would have blistered instantly or burst into flames and I wasn't looking to injure anyone seriously over my poorly made tea.
Tea is a wonderful refreshing drink you can enjoy several times a day. Hot or cold, it is a great substitute for water. However, just like anything else that can be cooked, you can over cook tea. The temperature of the water would have been fine if she had given me control of the timing for the tea. However I do not recommend a short steep time with boiling hot water for the best cup of tea, I recommend a longer steep but that requires lower temperatures.
Something to keep in mind, some teas are more delicate than others.
Green tea is an amazing anti-oxidant and cancer fighting tea however if you're pouring boiling water over it, you're dissolving the amino acids and tannins. When green tea is prepared properly it is frothy and thicker than most teas. It has a gentle floral nutty flavor and it goes down smoothly, like a syrup almost. When it is burnt, it is extremely bitter as that is the taste of dissolved tannins, the sea weed smell is likely the dissolved amino acids. The tannins are the polyphenols that make tea so healthy to drink however when you destroy them, you are drinking their dead liquified carcases which greatly reduces the benefits of drinking it in the first place.
WARNING: on most boxes of tea, the instructions say, "Pour boiling water over teabag, steep for 5 minutes." Do yourself a favor and get a big magic marker -preferably black- and draw a nice big square right over the directions. For some reason even the companies that make the tea haven't a clue on how to properly prepare their own product.
If you don't want to spend forever in your kitchen trying to find the best temperature, I suggest throw your kettle on the stove, turn it on high heat and let it boil till the whistle blows, Remove the kettle from heat for 5-9 minutes then pour it on your tea. Steep it 1-2 minutes and throw the bag away. Do not reuse your bags... you think you're saving money but you're only cooking the tannins longer. If your tea still tastes disgusting, throw it out, it is probably a bad batch or it's old.