OK folks, this is the light at the end of the tunnel. Just as I suspected, tea is universally measured by weight. Every blessed variety of Camellia sinensis can be prepared at the ratio of
2.25 grams of dry leaf to 6 fluid ounces of water.
This is why you use a scant teaspoon for those CTC's and several soup spoons' worth of whites. I found this information at www.uptontea.com
. Their website was refreshingly stodgy, and I bought a scale as they insisted. (And then, surprisingly, they revamped their literature to be less stodgy.) Upton Imports doesn't sell scales, though; I could only find suitable models on websites that ostensibly offered them for weighing marijuana. I purchased the charming little Vector VX-10, which runs about $20 with shipping. Is it staggeringly inconvenient and unnecessary? Yes. Is it giddy fun? Oh yes. It just feels better to know there is a source that all these volume measures come from. I like to know that I can compare a CTC and an orthodox tea on equal flavor footing. No, I am not shackled to all this measuring apparatus every time I want a cup of tea. I just find it useful for developing a discriminating understanding.
As a postscript, standardized measurement is a vital component as tea-drinking becomes an increasingly commercialized endeavor. No one would argue that more or less than 2.25 grams per 6 oz produces an unacceptable flavor, but nobody wants to purchase "a few scoops" of tea without knowing how big the scoop is. Every morning I measure out portions of sliced meat that must weigh between .47 and .49 pounds. I am sure my cohorts at Adagio have analogous tasks.