Making a great cup of tea has nothing to do with making a sales call, does it?
Drinking a great cup of tea has a lot to do with the daily enjoyment of life and like many things worth doing, it requires an appropriate set of tools, a process and it takes time to achieve the desired result. So does making a great sales call - doesn't it?
Tea-bags are quick and easy short-cut, but typically they contain very finely chopped tea.
A cup of tea made from the low-cost tea-bags you find in most supermarkets often contains tea so fine, it's almost like dust. This is designed to impart color and flavor in under a minute.
But this type of black tea, often delivers too much tannin which produces a bitter flavor... and even the best tea-bags fall short of a properly brewed cup of quality loose-leaf tea. This is one of the reasons that tea is often served with milk and sugar - to mask the bitter flavors.
Isn't that a bit like a bad sales call?
It's easy to pick up the phone and dial the number but without taking the time to understand anything about the buyer, their likely issues, their digital profile or the changes in their industry or their competition, the buyer on the other end of the call is likely to have a less than satisfactory experience if they answer the phone.
Essential Tea-making Equipment
- A fine porcelain teapot. I have broken a few teapots over the years, but my latest pot from Bredemeijer has an internal tea strainer. The model shown will make 5 mugs of tea and features a thermal insulator (the silver bit) that keeps the tea hot through the second cup.
A tip for new owners, after you pour the first cup, remove the internal strainer, or else the tea becomes bitter from extracting too much tannin from the tea leaves.
- Brewing Basket If you are just getting into tea and don't want to risk the cost of a teapot, a tea infuser or brewing basket works just fine and they are available in almost any suprmarket or cookery store.
- Fine bone China tea-mugs or cups if you prefer them.
- Top quality tea. I prefer black tea and after a lot of experimentation, have found an organic whole leaf, organic flowery orange pekeo Ceylon tea, to suit my taste, but there are many flavors and types of tea and taste is a very personal thing. This one is my favorite from Herbco and I have tried all of their teas. Have fun exploring thier catalog.
- Boiling water, from either spring water, rainwater or filtered water to remove the undesirable chemical tastes associated with chlorination of town water.
What is Tea Anyway?
Tea, Camellia Sinensis is the second most consumed beverage Worldwide, after water. Tea consumption per capita in Britain is 10 times that of US tea consumption, yet USA coffee drinkers only drink 50% more coffee per capita than the Brits. (Source Wikipedia).
A surprising fact: by weight, tea actually contains more caffeine than coffee, but the amount of tea required to produce a drink is far less than coffee.
Most tea in the USA is consumed cold, in the form of iced-tea drinks.
Before I share with you the method of making a fine cup of tea, you may be asking, why bother?
If you haven't had a great cup of tea in your life, then you are missing something special. In Asia, tea making and serving is a ceremonial event.
In Britain and its former colonies it is often a cultured event and takes the form of afternoon tea or tea parties. If you ever visit Turkey or Persia, the first thing you will be served on making a new acquaintance or renewing a friendship is a cup of tea.
Most people I have met in the US have never had a great cup of tea because they have either used heavily chorinated water, or water that is not boiling, poor quality tea in bags, used a heavy, thick mug that extracts much of the heat from the water or have not left the tea to steep for sufficient time to extract the flavor, or a combination of all of these errors.
- Heat the tea-pot using very hot water.
- Bring the filtered/spring/rain water to boiling point.....it has to be boiling or close to it.
- Empty the hot water used to warm the teapot and add three to four heaped teaspoons of tea to the pot.
- Pour sufficient boiling water over the tea to make the right amount of tea.
- Wait 4 minutes until the tea is brewed.
- Pour the tea into the cup. (If you are using a heavy cup or mug, then you may wish to heat the mug prior to serving the tea, lest it go cold too quickly.)
- Add milk and or sugar if you prefer and stir... but great tea, like the one above is perfect on its own
- Savor the flavor of a great cup of tea with a friend and enjoy a few minutes out of your hectic day, a moment for conversation and relaxation.
My next article will expand on what it takes to make a great sales call.