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Serving tea: loose leaf tips for tea rooms
When serving tea it is important to follow a few points to ensure that your good loose leaf tea is given due justice in its preparation. Too often tea can be disappointing when drunk away from home and so we have noted these points – which may be helpful in ensuring your customers become regulars. We all know how satisfying a good cup of tea can be but making it in a commercial environment can present a few challenges which might be taken for granted when enjoying good tea at home.
- Use teapots that have a ‘cage’ i.e. holes at the base of the spout to prevent leaves flowing down the spout and possibly blocking it and passing leaves to the cup. Most teapots manufactured these days use a cheaper process where they do not feature this, assuming you are using teabags.
- Glass teapots are the best as you can see how brewed the tea has become before pouring. They are also easy to clean and it is simple to remove the used leaf from their integral filters. We offer La Cafeiere teapots.
- Have two or three kettles available, not food-service style hot water dispensers which do not offer fresh, boiling water. Kettles can be filled with fresh water, boil quickly and can be poured on the leaf when the water is actually on the boil.
- Ensure enough tea is used, the tendency is for some establishments to be rather mean so that there is insufficient flavour.
- Place a little timer on the customer’s table set for the recommended brewing time (at least three minutes – so patience is rewarded).
- Some customers will drink their tea without milk (assuming it is black tea). Therefore you may need to choose lighter to medium bodied teas which are not too tannic. In my opinion many black teas are better without milk anyway.
- When preparing green teas the freshly boiled water should have cooled a couple of minutes before pouring on the leaf. You can advise customers that the tea is ready to pour as green tea only requires two or three minutes infusion.
- Offer some savoury foods to complement the teas (in addition to cucumber sandwiches!), not just the traditional English scones, cakes and sweet pastries. This particularly applies to green teas and oolongs.
Serving tea can be a minefield but attention to detail is the key to ensuring the distinctive character of the tea being served is carried through into the cup. These simple steps can help satisfy your customers and make sure they come back again and again.