Making Tea

My dad thinks like me, at least a little bit.

This occurs to me because I just made a cup of tea. (Not properly, according to Douglas Adams, by the way. In Salmon of Doubt, which I recently finished, he stresses that one should use boilING water, not boilED water, and discusses warming the teapot and such. I poured water from the hot spigot on the water dispenser into a paper cup from my desk drawer. So the tea I'm discussing here is not British Kitchen Tea, but American Cubicle Tea.) I have this way I dunk the tea bag into the water. A long time ago I noticed that if you pour hot water over a tea bag, it wets the bag itself first, filling in all the little pores with surface tension, forming an airtight membrane. Depending on how the water splashes and such, you can get more or less water into the tea before the bag gets completely wet, preventing any more air from getting out and consequently any more water from getting in, especially since the air, now trapped by the hot water, is also heated, and so expands. If you do it just right you get a little inflated balloon full of hot air and dry tea.

So I have this habit where I fill the cup with hot water first, then lower the bag in, so that water flows in through the bottom of the bag while air can still flow out at the top.

I guess I assume that everybody would make the same observation, and that everybody would make tea this way (when they're not doing it in the kitchen and using a pre-warmed pot). But invariably I see people heading for the water dispenser with the little tea tag already dangling from the lip of the cup, and I have many times noticed little balloons floating on top of cups full of weak tea. Why doesn't everyone make tea the same way I do? I could assume that I'm just smarter than everyone else and be smug about it, but I think it's more realistic to conclude that I'm anal-retentive and that over-analyzing the way one dunks a tea bag is asinine.

A couple of weeks ago while I was visiting my dad, he made a cup of tea. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed him lowering the bag into the cup, letting water flow in the bottom while the air flowed out the top.

The way I think may be asinine, but I'm not the only one, and I know where I got it from.