Saturday, April 15, 2023

Brewing Tea Overseas

I had just returned from a long overseas trip from Europe.  Here are some of my observations and adjustments I did for my tea brewing sessions while I was abroad.    

1.  Water

I could drink water straight from the tap in those countries while I was in Europe.  Tap water would taste different from different states or countries but it is an economic and convenient option than bottled water. 

The main issue is boiling water. Many hotels 'upgrade' their room hot water by providing coffee machines (with coffee capsules).  These fancy equipment is nice and the coffee actually tasted good. However, if you use the hot water to brew tea, there is a faint coffee aroma in the hot water and  this makes Chinese tea brewing unsuitable.  And....there were 2 European hotels during my trip where there were no kettles or coffee machines in the rooms and I had to go to a common pantry to get hot water. 

Anyway, I think an ideal solution is to bring along a travel kettle. There are many inexpensive travel kettles; smaller than 1 litre and with dual voltage selection where you can bring this kettle to different countries with different voltage requirements. Don't forget a multipurpose wall plug as well. 

2.  Tea

The tea I took for my travel had hibernating issues. Some of the tea tasted flat or subdued before the tea recovered again (about 1-2 weeks).  I cannot explain but serious overseas tea drinkers had advised to drink their tea, ordered from overseas, one week after arrival, to allow the tea to rest. I had brought along raw, ripe pu erh and some oolong for this trip and found my raw pu erh 'hibernated' during the air flight but woke up 1 week later.  

3. Tea Ware

I had used a small porcelain teapot and 2 teacups during my tea. It was adequate for my use. The teapot was about 150ml and I normally had 4 infusions of tea at one tea session. As I did not bring along a tea tray or tea waste bowl, I, on most occasions, do not rinse out the tea but drank from the very 1st brew.   It was more a matter of convenience.  Most Chinese tea we buy now are generally clean and there is no health risk not to rinse the tea. I was told by a tea buddy friend that unrinsed tea had the most caffeine but I cannot verify this fact. 

Anyway, these are my 2 cents of how to brew better Chinese  tea overseas. I believed there are better ways and would appreciate if my tea readers would share how they brew their tea when on a trip.

I will be visiting the USA (Seattle, Portland and Chicago in June) for about 3 weeks and look forward to more tea adventures again. 


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