Margin For Error

My tea consumption has changed a bit lately.

As I am now working in an office for some of the week, I find I am a bit restricted:

  • I have about 500mls of tea when I get up, of course.
  • I have about 500mls of tea when I arrive in the office.
  • I have about 500mls of tea mid afternoon.
  • I have one or two 150-300ml cups of tea each evening.

The key here is that my consumption is about 2 litres or so, which is about right, but it is being made up of bigger, less frequent cups. In previous times, I mighty have 12 150-250ml cups of tea.

This has two side effects:

  1. I have fewer varieties of tea in a day
  2. If I get a cup wrong, I pretty well just have to drink it anyway.

Too strong? Too weak? Wrong temperature? Tough, it’s drink it or miss out.

It has led me to the conclusion than some teas work better in large cups than others.

Why? I have no idea.

For come reason, I cannot get Craigmore (Nilgiri) right in a large cup. Doke Silver Needle is better the bigger the cup. Of the two go-to Darjeelings that we keep next to our tea making station, Margaret’s Hope is consistent at any volume whereas Giddephar is much better in a tiny cup. Jasmine tea demands a small, handle-less cup.

It’s the same with our own blends. There are some obvious differences. If we brew up 1910, Lord Petersham or Queen Adelaide, they work great in a huge cup. But 1001 Nights is always in a  small cup – I serve it in Moroccan-style the glass which is a fixed, small size.

I love delicate china cups, glass cups, tall tea glasses, off-the-shelf mugs and my whopper 600ml ” I love Tea” mug. It’s not that I’m not fussy: I am. I hate thick walled, boring coffee cups. I hate polystyrene and melamine.

What is it that makes some teas brilliant in small doses but found wanting in a large mug? Why do some just work in a huge mug?

I don’t really know. That’s why I’m asking.

7 thoughts on “Margin For Error

  1. Surely it’s because tea drinking isn’t just about getting fluid down your neck or a caffeine hit. It’s the full experience so needs all the right accoutrements.

  2. I don’t like drinking from thick walled mugs either. And I find that some teas taste better in smaller cups than in super sized ones. Why? I don’t know. I like delicate teas (jasmine, green, etc.) in thin small cups, and hardy Assams in mugs. Before I drink a cuppa I look at my very large assortment of mugs and cups and decide which one will taste right for the tea. It does vary a bit, day by day. Sometimes it’s also just a mood thing.

  3. I think that the key is the lip of the cup. A thin lipped cup results in a better aeration of the tea when you take a sip, making the sip more flavorsome. I don’t know that size of the cup is all that important (I never really challenged that idea and did a comparison), but I do know that the lip matters. I usually use my Kati tumbler which is a thick, double walled “mug sized” tumbler, but the lip is quite thin like a smaller “teacup” so I get a good aeration.

    But the Kati tumbler isn’t my favorite, my favorite mug broke a while back and I’ve not yet replaced it. Instead, I’m using a mug of comparable size but the lip is much thicker and I’m not getting as much aeration and I notice the difference. So, I’ve asked Santa for a new mug. Hopefully he listened this year! (He didn’t last year.)

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