Early on in my tea journey, for whatever reason, the thing I feared most was “watery” teas. So I packed every steeping with the highest amount of leaf recommended and steeped as long as I could without overbrewing. I really had it in my head that this was the best way to enjoy tea. I scoffed at my mother who would dunk a teabag in her mug of gently microwaved tap water for ten seconds, then stick the wet teabag on a plate in the fridge for later. Okay, maybe I still roll my eyes a little at that, but for reasons besides just the understeeping.
Anyway, the point is that I have come to appreciate less leaf and less steeping time in my teas over the years. Not just because it’s more budget-friendly (my goodness, a decade ago when I was subscribed to $80 worth of monthly tea subscription boxes?? Imagine having that kind of disposable income these days), but because it’s gentler on my stomach, which…. the years of stress and anxiety, especially in recent times, have certainly taken a toll on. For several years I had a very difficult time drinking Japanese greens without it upsetting my stomach and giving me a sore throat, until I realized that with less leaf and a lower steeping time I could not only enjoy them again, but perhaps enjoy them even more.
I crave the quieter things these days. Tea has always been that little moment of peace in my daily life and I’ve benefited from turning the volume on that down too. The first steeping, maybe 20 seconds, then 5-10 for the second and third, longer after that, though I start to lose track. It’s mild and sweet with traces of memory from a simpler time when such teas were a novelty. It gradually turns watery and grassy, but I keep resteeping it anyway, because why not? It’s still comforting, and this 100g packet can last all month if I enjoy each serving til I’m full and sloshy.
It’s hilarious that I can still get into this account, and bizarre to read back over my decade-old tasting notes when I was a person I can barely identify with anymore. But at least we still have tea in common.