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If you have ever driven a car in Europe you know it is utterly confusing. They have different signs, they drive like maniacs in the cities, but most confusing of all are the distance markers and speed limit signs.

The problem is that they are in the metric system, which is something us Americans have no idea how to translate.

Tea, oddly enough, is very similar. It is difficult to figure out how much tea to use to make a solid brew. The biggest issue is that proper measurements are done in weight, but who actually has a tiny scale laying around their kitchen?

A proper cup of tea should have about 3 grams of tea

Since loose tea is fluffy, it is hard to tell how much one tea weighs next to another. It is like the old saying, “what weighs more, a pound of lead or a pound of feathers?”

The answer is…they both weigh the same, but the pound of feathers is much fluffier so it takes up more space. With tea, very large leaves take up much more space than really small ones even though they weigh the same. Because of this, the only true way to get the perfect serving is to weigh your tea.


For you Mathematicians out there, there is another method

The method I am talking about is fantastic if you have a tea that you love and drink every day. It will take some simple arithmetic, but it will give you a precise measurement. It will also allow you to “eyeball” the amount of tea with great accuracy.

Let’s say you buy a 3oz tin of tea. To figure out the grams, you first need to convert the amount of ounces to grams (1oz equals 28 grams). Therefore, each ounce has approximately 9 servings.

So if you buy a 3oz tin of tea, it will have 27 servings. Take that tin and divide it up into 27 equal parts – each part is equivalent to one serving of tea.

If this sounds like a lot of trouble, it is. There is a very special tool that solves this problem. Luckily, it is found in almost every household around this country.

The invention of the teaspoon

We all have them and we all call them by the same name – teaspoons. But most people do not actually realize why it is called a teaspoon. They are called teaspoons for one specific reason – a teaspoon will generally measure out 4 grams of black tea. To get the 4 grams, it should be a heaping teaspoon and should have so much tea that it almost spills over.

As a general rule, for a very fluffy tea, like Silver Needles, two teaspoons will suffice. If you really want to be accurate, take your favorite tea and measure how many teaspoons give you 4 grams. From then on you will know exactly how much tea to use.

Summary

There are many ways to measure your tea. In my mind there is no substitute for a gram scale, but I also sample teas for a living. A much simpler alternative is to just use a teaspoon and you will slowly adjust the size of the teaspoon to your taste.

Now if they only made a “teaspoon” that converted kilometers to miles….

photo: www.flickr.com/photos/kotsifi/5532225617/

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