Every morning, I make a full pot of tea in my little 1.5 liter metal Japanese teapot. Because it has a perforated insert into which I can spoon whole tea leaves without worrying about having to eat them as I drink the tea, I can dispense with tea bags altogether. I buy mostly Indian loose black teas (Darjeeling, Ceylon, Assam) by the pound. The general rule of thumb is that one pound (0.45 kilograms) brews some 240 cups of tea. Compare that with the Specialty Coffee Association’s estimate of 48 cups of coffee from one pound of beans.
In a heat wave such as we are now experiencing in Southern California—especially during the coronavirus quarantine—I become positively lizard-like. What keeps me from going reptile all the way is the iced tea I drink. As of 10 pm, there are only a few thimblefuls of tea left in my pot. While I was sitting in my library reading Marie NDiaye’s La Cheffe, I was cooled not only by the iced tea, but by the condensation from the glass sending icy droplets onto the hairs of my bare stomach (as I am not wearing a shirt while inside).
My Indian tea of choice lately has been the Ahmad of London brand, which is popular in the Indian and Iranian food stores in my part of town. At present, I am drinking their Darjeeling tea, which I find to be the best. It also happens to be the most expensive (600 grams for US$36).
I am particularly conscious of the heat because the apartment building in which I live was built in 1945, when insulation was not commonly used. That was before global warming. Now I feel as if I am living in one of those punishment hotboxes from Bridge on the River Kwai or Cool Hand Luke.
If you want to make your iced tea taste particularly good, add a splash of good dark rum, such as Myers’s Original Dark Rum from Jamaica. I also add the juice of a fresh lemon and some Splenda (as I am diabetic).