Ok, so we're agreed that we haven't got the foggiest what represents the zenith of cha, personal preference aside. We at Vulture Central are, nonetheless, determined to at least narrow the field for the benefit of those who have not yet partaken of the divine nectar and are seeking enlightenment.
We're still mulling just what kind of test might enable us to get closer to our goal, and are obliged to those readers who pointed us in the direction of the splendid ISO 3103, aka BS 6008, which quite rightly secured the 1999 Ig Nobel Prize for Literature:
- The pot should be white porcelain or glazed earthenware and have a partly serrated edge. It should have a lid that fits loosely inside the pot.
- If a large pot is used, it should hold a maximum of 310 ml (±8 ml) and must weigh 200 g (±10 g).
- If a small pot is used, it should hold a maximum of 150 ml (±4 ml) and must weigh 118 g (±10 g).
- 2 grams of tea (measured to ±2% accuracy) per 100 ml boiling water is placed into the pot.
- Freshly boiling water is poured into the pot to within 4–6 mm of the brim. Allow 20 seconds for water to cool.
- The water should be similar to the drinking water where the tea will be consumed.
- Brewing time is six minutes.
- The brewed tea is then poured into a white porcelain or glazed earthenware bowl.
- If a large bowl is used, it must have a capacity of 380 ml and weigh 200 g (±20 g).
- If a small bowl is used, it must have a capacity of 200 ml and weigh 105 g (±20 g).
- If the test involves milk, then it is added before pouring the infused tea.
- Milk added after the pouring of tea is best tasted when the liquid is between 65 - 80 °C.
- 5 ml of milk for the large bowl, or 2.5 ml for the small bowl, is used.
Quite magnificent, although we want to jig the parameters according to our readers' opinions. Accordingly, we've prepared the following poll to better determine the lie of the land. Note that we don't offer a selection of tea types. This would be impractical, given the sheer number suggested.
When we've examined the results, we'll use them as the basis for a final showdown, using the most popular teas you've already nominated. Exact details of this epic experiment will follow in due course, so take it away...
You set an impossible challenge.
Any true dedicated tea drinker knows that the ideal formulation and dispense ritual depends entirely on the circumstances and the company present.
There are infinite subtle variations on what is exactly right in given circumstances. Indeed, the very banning of mention of biscuits makes a wide swathe of tea drinking options completely invalid.
Not sure what the outcome of this poll will be. Will it be some sort of frankentea, one bearing the hallmarks of being designed by a committea (sorry) or perhaps it'll just reflect tea à la mode (or is it "à la mean"? I can never remember which is which).
Someone at work gave me the wrong mug and I had a colleague's tea with sugar in it. It made me want to die. How can people drink that?