ISO 3103

ISO 3103 is a standard published by the International Organization for Standardization (commonly referred to as ISO), specifying a standardized method for brewing tea, possibly sampled by the standardized methods described in ISO 1839[1]. It was originally laid down in 1980 as BS 6008:1980 by the British Standards Institution.[2] It was produced by ISO Technical Committee 34 (Food products), Sub-Committee 8 (Tea).

The abstract states the following:

The method consists in extracting of soluble substances in dried tea leaf, contained in a porcelain or earthenware pot, by means of freshly boiling water, pouring of the liquor into a white porcelain or earthenware bowl, examination of the organoleptic properties of the infused leaf, and of the liquor with or without milk, or both.

This standard is not meant to define the proper method for brewing tea, but rather how to document the tea brewing procedure so sensory comparisons can be made. An example of such a test would be a taste-test to establish which blend of teas to choose for a particular brand or basic label in order to maintain a consistent tasting brewed drink from harvest to harvest.

A revised standard is currently under development as ISO/NP 3103.[3]

The work was the winner of the parodic Ig Nobel Prize for Literature in 1999.[4][5]

Details

Tea bowl, Meissen Factory, Germany, c. 1730, hard-paste porcelain - Montreal Museum of Fine Arts - Montreal, Canada - DSC09242
A white porcelain tea bowl

To maintain consistent results, the following are recommendations given by the standard:

  • The pot should be white porcelain or glazed earthenware and have a partly serrated edge. It should have a lid that fits loosely inside the pot.
  • If a large pot is used, it should hold a maximum of 310 ml (±8 ml) and must weigh 200 g (±10 g).
  • If a small pot is used, it should hold a maximum of 150 ml (±4 ml) and must weigh 118 g (±10 g).
  • 2 grams of tea (measured to ±2% accuracy) per 100 ml boiling water is placed into the pot.
  • Freshly boiling water is poured into the pot to within 4–6 mm of the brim. Allow 20 seconds for water to cool.
  • The water should be similar to the drinking water where the tea will be consumed.
  • Brewing time is six minutes.
  • The brewed tea is then poured into a white porcelain or glazed earthenware bowl.
  • If a large bowl is used, it must have a capacity of 380 ml and weigh 200 g (±20 g).
  • If a small bowl is used, it must have a capacity of 200 ml and weigh 105 g (±20 g).
  • If the test involves milk, then it is added before pouring the infused tea unless that is contrary to the organisation's normal practice.
  • If milk is added after the pouring of tea, it is best added when the liquid is between 65-80°C.
  • 5 ml of milk for the large bowl, or 2.5 ml for the small bowl, is used.

Criticism

The protocol has been criticized for omitting any mention of prewarming the pot.[6] Ireland was the only country to object, and objected on technical grounds.[7]

Competing standards

In 2003, the Royal Society of Chemistry published a press release entitled "How to make a Perfect Cup of Tea".[8]

See also

References

  1. ^ "ISO Standard for sampling tea from containers of all sizes".
  2. ^ Royal Charter and Bye-laws, 1981, The British Standards Institution
  3. ^ "ISO/NP 3103 - Tea -- Preparation of liquor for use in sensory tests". www.iso.org. Retrieved 2018-04-09.
  4. ^ "Fancy a quick cuppa - in 5,000 words?". The Guardian. 2 October 1999. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  5. ^ "The 1999 Ig Nobel Prize Winners". Annals of Improbable Research. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
  6. ^ "Feedback column". New Scientist. No. 2207. 9 October 1999. Nowhere, however, is there mention of the ritual of warming the pot, central to the mystical British Tea Ceremony.
  7. ^ "ISO 3103:1980(en) Tea — Preparation of liquor for use in sensory tests". ISO. The member body of the following country expressed disapproval of the document on technical grounds: Ireland
  8. ^ "How to make a Perfect Cup of Tea" (PDF). Royal Society of Chemistry. 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-08-11.

External links

A Nice Cup of Tea

"A Nice Cup of Tea" is an essay by English author George Orwell, first published in the London Evening Standard on 12 January 1946. It is a discussion of the craft of making a cup of tea, including the line: "Here are my own eleven rules, every one of which I regard as golden."Orwell wrote that "tea is one of the mainstays of civilisation in this country and causes violent disputes over how it should be made", and his rules cover such matters as the best shape for a teacup, the advisability of using water that is still boiling, and his preference for very strong tea. He also considers what he calls "one of the most controversial points of all" – whether to put tea in the cup first and add the milk after, or the other way around, acknowledging, "indeed in every family in Britain there are probably two schools of thought on the subject". Orwell says tea should be poured first because "one can exactly regulate the amount of milk whereas one is liable to put in too much milk if one does it the other way round". "I maintain that my own argument is unanswerable", he writes.

Black tea

Black tea, called hóngchá (红茶) or red tea in China, is a type of tea that is more oxidized than oolong, green, and white teas. Black tea is generally stronger in flavour than the less oxidized teas. All four types are made from leaves of the shrub (or small tree) Camellia sinensis. Two principal varieties of the species are used – the small-leaved Chinese variety plant (C. sinensis var. sinensis), used for most other types of teas, and the large-leaved Assamese plant (C. sinensis var. assamica), which was traditionally mainly used for black tea, although in recent years some green and white teas have been produced.

While green tea usually loses its flavor within a year, black tea retains its flavour for several years. For this reason, it has long been an article of trade, and compressed bricks of black tea even served as a form of de facto currency in Mongolia, Tibet and Siberia into the 19th century. Black tea accounts for over 90% of all tea sold in the West.

Camellia sinensis

Camellia sinensis is a species of evergreen shrub or small tree whose leaves and leaf buds are used to produce tea. It is of the genus Camellia (Chinese: 茶花; pinyin: Cháhuā, literally: "tea flower") of flowering plants in the family Theaceae. Common names include "tea plant", "tea shrub", and "tea tree" (not to be confused with Melaleuca alternifolia, the source of tea tree oil, or Leptospermum scoparium, the New Zealand Tea Tree).

Camellia sinensis var. sinensis and Camellia sinensis var. assamica, are two major varieties grown today. White tea, yellow tea, green tea, oolong, dark tea (which includes pu-erh tea) and black tea are all harvested from one or the other, but are processed differently to attain varying levels of oxidation. Kukicha (twig tea) is also harvested from Camellia sinensis, but uses twigs and stems rather than leaves.

List of International Organization for Standardization standards, 1-4999

This is a list of published International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards and other deliverables. For a complete and up-to-date list of all the ISO standards, see the ISO catalogue.The standards are protected by copyright and most of them must be purchased. However, about 300 of the standards produced by ISO and IEC's Joint Technical Committee 1 (JTC1) have been made freely and publicly available.

Steeping

Steeping is the soaking in liquid (usually water) of a solid so as to extract flavours or to soften it. The specific process of teas being prepared for drinking by leaving the leaves in heated water to release the flavour and nutrients is known as steeping. Herbal teas may be prepared by decoction, infusion, or maceration. Some solids are soaked to remove an ingredient, such as salt from smoked ham or salted cod, where the solute is not the desired product.

Tea

Tea is an aromatic beverage commonly prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis, an evergreen shrub (bush) native to East Asia. After water, it is the most widely consumed drink in the world. There are many different types of tea; some, like Darjeeling and Chinese greens, have a cooling, slightly bitter, and astringent flavour, while others have vastly different profiles that include sweet, nutty, floral or grassy notes.

Tea originated in Southwest China during the Shang dynasty, where it was used as a medicinal drink. An early credible record of tea drinking dates to the 3rd century AD, in a medical text written by Hua Tuo. It was popularized as a recreational drink during the Chinese Tang dynasty, and tea drinking spread to other East Asian countries. Portuguese priests and merchants introduced it to Europe during the 16th century. During the 17th century, drinking tea became fashionable among Britons, who started large-scale production and commercialization of the plant in India. Combined, China and India supplied 62% of the world's tea in 2016.

The term herbal tea refers to drinks not made from Camellia sinensis: infusions of fruit, leaves, or other parts of the plant, such as steeps of rosehip, chamomile, or rooibos. These are sometimes called tisanes or herbal infusions to prevent confusion with tea made from the tea plant.

Tea blending and additives

Tea blending is the blending of different teas together to produce a final product. This occurs chiefly with black tea that is blended to make most tea bags but can also occur with such teas as Pu-erh, where leaves are blended from different regions before being compressed. The aim of blending is to create a well-balanced flavour using different origins and characters. This also allows for variations in tea leaf quality and differences from season to season to be smoothed out. The one golden rule of blending is this: Every blend must taste the same as the previous one, so a consumer will not be able to detect a difference in flavour from one purchase to the next.

There are various teas which have additives or different processing than "pure" varieties. Tea is able to easily receive any aroma, which may cause problems in processing, transportation or storage of tea, but can be also advantageously used to prepare scented teas. Tea can be flavoured in large blending drums with perfumes, flavourants, or essential oils added. Although blending and scenting teas can add an additional dimension to tea, the process may also sometimes be used to cover and obscure the quality of sub-standard teas.

Tea in the United Kingdom

Since the eighteenth century, the United Kingdom has been one of the world's greatest tea consumers, with an average annual per capita tea supply of 1.9 kg (4.18 lbs). The British Empire was instrumental in spreading tea from China to India; British interests controlled tea production in the subcontinent. Tea, which was an upper-class drink in continental Europe, became the infusion of every social class in Great Britain throughout the course of the eighteenth century and has remained so. Tea is a prominent feature of British culture and society.In both the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, the drinking of tea is so varied that it is quite hard to generalise. While it is usually served with milk, it is not uncommon to drink it black or with lemon, with sugar being a popular addition to any of the above. Strong tea, served in a mug with milk and sugar, is a popular combination known as builder's tea. Tea is often accompanied with sandwiches, scones, cake and/or biscuits, with a popular British custom being dunking the biscuit into the tea.

Tea leaf grading

In the tea industry, tea leaf grading is the process of evaluating products based on the quality and condition of the tea leaves themselves.

The highest grades for Western and South Asian teas are referred to as "orange pekoe", and the lowest as "fannings" or "dust". Pekoe tea grades are classified into various qualities, each determined by how many of the adjacent young leaves (two, one, or none) were picked along with the leaf buds. Top-quality pekoe grades consist of only the leaf buds, which are picked using the balls of the fingertips. Fingernails and mechanical tools are not used to avoid bruising.

When crushed to make bagged teas, the tea is referred to as "broken", as in "broken orange pekoe" ("BOP"). These lower grades include fannings and dust, which are tiny remnants created in the sorting and crushing processes.

Orange pekoe is referred to as "OP". The grading scheme also contains categories higher than OP, which are determined primarily by leaf wholeness and size.Broken, fannings and dust orthodox teas have slightly different grades. CTC teas, which consist of leaves mechanically rendered to uniform fannings, have yet another grading system.

Tea tasting

Tea tasting is the process in which a trained taster determines the quality of a particular tea. Due to climatic conditions, topography, manufacturing process, and different clones of the Camellia sinensis plant (tea), the final product may have vastly differing flavours and appearance. These differences can be tasted by a trained taster in order to ascertain the quality prior to sale or possibly blending tea.

Teapot

A teapot is a vessel used for steeping tea leaves or a herbal mix in boiling or near-boiling water, and for serving the resulting infusion which is called tea. Dry tea is available either in tea bags or as loose tea, in which case a tea infuser or tea strainer may be of some assistance, either to hold the leaves as they steep or to catch the leaves inside the teapot when the tea is poured. Teapots usually have an opening with a lid at their top, where the dry tea and hot water are added, a handle for holding by hand and a spout through which the tea is served. Some teapots have a strainer built-in on the inner edge of the spout. A small air hole in the lid is often created to stop the spout from dripping and splashing when tea is poured. In modern times, a thermal cover called a tea cosy may be used to enhance the steeping process or to prevent the contents of the teapot from cooling too rapidly.

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See also
ISO standards by standard number
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