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You know what's nice about tea sachets? Not having to measure anything. I knew very little about tea before getting a job with two leaves and a bud, but it's a steep learning curve. (Steep. Ha! But pun not intended.) One of the first items in the office I met was the little blue scale that we use to measure out loose tea.
"Aim for about 2.5 grams per cup of tea," Bess told me on my first day, putting a pinch of tea onto the scale. It turns out, each of our sachets contains about 2.5 grams of tea leaves, herbs, flowers and fruit pieces, depending on which sachet you're brewing. And since these are substantial, full-leaf teas (not cut up into little pieces to fit in a little paper teabag, that is), you can forget about your grandmother's tiny teacup. A sachet from two leaves and a bud is for a mug — anywhere between 8 and 16 ounces of tea, depending on your taste preferences.
Recently two leaves founder Richard Rosenfeld mentioned that over the years of fixing mugs of tea, he's perfected his perfect, 2.5-gram pinch of tea. Perhaps even enough to not have to use the scale at all. You can imagine my reaction: "You're going to have to prove that for the blog, you know."
So, we gather it all together in his office: little blue scale, a couple of sleeves of loose tea, and Richard's fingers. We spread some tea out on a white piece of paper, and he gathers some up with those perfect pinching fingers. (A note here: Never just dump loose tea straight from the package on to your scale. The point of picking tea up with your fingers from a large pile on a table is because you want a good sampling of all the tea in the bag — whole leaves, broken pieces, buds from the tea plant — for the best flavor.)
Richard places the pinch of tea in the scale and ... uh oh. He's way, way off. Instead of 2.5 grams of tea, he's managed to put an entire 6.1 grams of tea onto the scale at once. Pretty far from perfect.
But, this is the part of the blog where instead of being amused, I have to be honest. He was measuring Genmai Matcha, a unique loose tea we sell from Japan known as "brown rice tea" because it has puffs of roasted brown rice in it. To be fair, it's difficult to get an accurate pinch of this tea when your fingers are thrown off by rice, green tea leaves and powdered green tea (that's the "Matcha") that turned Richard's fingers bright green.
So we turned to the bag of loose Organic Assam tea — the tea that Richard drinks every morning, without fail. We dumped it out on a piece of paper, he pinched, we measured ... 2.4 grams. Don't you hate it when somebody is as good at something as they claim to be?
But here's the thing about that little blue scale: it's not the one tasting your tea — you are. If you like the taste of 6.1 grams of Genmai Matcha in a 10 ounce mug of hot water, go for it. The beauty of loose tea is the ability of making it just how you like it, little blue scale and perfect pinches be damned.
One last note: Richard is actually fond of putting 6 or 7 grams of Genmai Matcha into a filter and steeping it for only 10 seconds. Since the Matcha dissolves quickly, that method makes for a mug of tea with big green tea flavor, and less taste of the roasted rice. Me, I like steeping 2.5 to 3 grams of Genmai Matcha for several minutes in an average-sized mug of tea, so I can get that roasty, toasty rice flavor. "Different steeps for different creeps," Richard says.
That's Richard — perfect pinch and a way with words.