Friday, August 12, 2011

The Many Ways of Tea.

I notice a bit of interest around the foodie ridges recently, on the subject of the cold-brewing of coffee. It is not a new idea, as we found out in a previous post (here) – but as I am wont to say, there is nothing new under the sun, and everything old is new again. Drinking one’s tea or coffee cold – by chilling after a standard hot-brewing process) of course not new, and we have also discussed the cold tea topic in a previous post.

It might be thought that there is not much more to say on the brewing of tea, but there is! there is! Here, for those of you disbelievers, are some ideas found in Cassell's Dictionary of Cookery (1870's)

Tea Made Overnight.
When tea is wanted for a very early breakfast, make it overnight and pour it away from the tea-leaves before it gets cold. If this is done, one need not fear that it will taste bitter, as cold tea generally does when it is warmed up, for it acquires this taste with long standing on the tea-leaves. In the morning it will simply need to be warmed until it is sufficiently hot to drink - that is, until it has reached a temperature of 140 deg Fahr, or nine degrees above an average night temperature of 50 deg., whereas if the tea had to be freshly made it would be necessary to bring the water to boiling point - that is, to 212 deg, and this would take some minutes longer.

Tea, To make (Debuisson's method)
Put the tea into a kettle with cold water. Cover it close, and set it on the fire, and make it nearly but not quite boil; then take it from the fire. When the leaves sink, it is ready.

Tea, To make (Dr. Trusler's method)
This was to make a very strong infusion by pouring boiling water upon the tea, and let it stand twenty minutes, putting into each cup no more than was necessary to fill it about one-third full, then each cup was filled with hot water from a kettle: thus the tea was always hot and equally strong to the end.

Tea, Spirituous Syrup of.
Pour a quarter of a pint of boiling water on three ounces (avoirdupois weight) of fine young hyssop. Let it stand an hour, then add to it a pint of brandy or proof spirit; let it steep for ten days, shaking it every day; strain it, and sweeten it with clarified syrup. A spoonful or two of this in a tumbler of water is a very refreshing beverage.

Quotation of the Day
Tea is drunk to forget the din of the world. 
T'ien Yiheng


ACravan said...

Thanks very much for this. Curtis

Lapinbizarre said...

“The Jesuit that came from China, A.D. 1664, told Mr. [Edmund] Waller .... the water must remain upon the tea no longer than while you can say the “Miserere” psalm very leisurely”. Sir Kenelm Digby’s Cookery, London, 1669.

The Miserere psalm (Psalm 50 or 51, depending on tradition) takes roughly two minutes to recite "very leisurely", so this is still, to my mind, a pretty good guide to the length of time that the hot water should remain on the leaves, though a clock is simpler, if less picturesque, than reciting the Latin text.