Hundred-year-old Tips for Selecting Tea

tea cup

There are so many kinds of tea. It’s always challenging to decide which purchase  . . . bags or loose? . . . black, green, or herbal?  . . . strong or mild? . . . organic, fair trade, or unidentified pedigree? . . . cheap bargain brand or pricey gourmet blend? . . .

I need help. So, when I saw information on how to select tea in a hundred-year-old home economics textbook, I eagerly read the advice:

Selecting Tea

In buying tea, choose the variety most pleasing to your taste. It should be free from stems and from powdered particles. When put in boiling water the leaves should not entirely unroll in a short time. Soak a pinch of tea, unroll the leaves, and  note their size and shape. Also note proportion of large to small leaves and stems.

A very low priced tea is not really cheap. More is needed to give the required strength than with more expensive teas and it also yields more tannin, which we wish to avoid. Tea does not keep well, so it should be bought in small qualities and kept in air-tight glass jars.

A good grade of English Breakfast with a flavoring of Orange Pekoe makes a very pleasing tea.

The Science of Home Making: A Textbook in Home Economics (1915)