Having been recently accused of “vile” habits in regard to tea-drinking, I feel that I need to clear the air. :)
I’ve never been officially tested, but I am almost certainly a supertaster. (This explains, among other things, my aversion to most vegetables and my status as a nationally ranked beer judge). I’ve never been medically tested, but I did go through the BBC test and some rough taste-bud-counting with blue dye and a mirror.
So I do not generally follow accepted wisdom with tea. To prepare tea, I get a nice glass of cold water and plunk in a tea bag. Same goes for other tea-like substances, such as yerba mate. The result is a much slower steeping process, where subtle flavors shift throughout the day and with different refills. Does it get bitter? While tannins are part of the tea flavor, you don’t get that intense, mouth-puckering astringency like you would hot-steeping tea for too long. It’s more gradual and interesting.
Different kinds of tea have different spectrums of flavor, as revealed over the course of a day. Earl Grey and green tea are particularly nice. Some interesting combinations are possible too, by combining two teas which reach their flavor peaks at different times.
I say keep an open mind, and don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it. :) -m