Tea Brewing Guide

21 08 2008

Learning how to properly brew a cup of tea can completely change your tea-experience and the way you drink it. For connoisseurs making the tea is a ritual and without it, drinking the beverage would be neither as fun or as special. A proper brewing process is essential to enjoying tea and it’s excellence to the fullest.  You can do that by following some simple guidelines below

Generally the brewing process for all teas is the same. We boil the water, pour it into the the cup and wait for the tea to steep. If you’re preparing loose leaf tea it’s good that the leaves have some space to expand while in water so you can get the full benefits of their taste, aroma and valuable substances. Also for loose leaf tea you should use approximately 1 teaspoon per cup. For each type of tea you can read the specific guidelines here.

Black Tea

Steeping time – 4-6 min
Temperature – 100 degrees Celsius

Green Tea

Steeping time – 2-4 min
Temperature – 80 degrees Celsius

Steeping time for green teas has to be shorter then other teas if you want to avoid the bitterness in the liquor. It’s recommended to steep japanese green teas even shorter 1-2 min

White Tea

Steeping time – 4-6 min
Temperature – 80 degrees Celsius

Oolong Tea

Steeping time – 5-8 min
Temperature – 100 degrees Celsius

Rooibos Tea

Steeping time – 5-8 min
Temperature – 100 degrees Celsius

Herbal Tea

Steeping time – 5-10 min
Temperature – 100 degrees Celsius

Although these guidelines can be very helpful, you still should experiment with each tea, to see what works best. It’s also a matter of taste, so if you find that brewing a particular tea a certain way gives you a liquor of appealing taste, then you should go for it.

The quality of water also affects the final result and you should always use fresh water. I usually use mineral water for making my tea, because the tap water where I live is of poor quality. If you’re using tap water you should always boil cold water and not hot. Hot water contains additives that reduce the amount of oxygen in the water (oxygen is needed for the flavor to be extracted from the leaves).

Of course you don’t have to stand over the water with a thermometer, the temperature doesn’t have to be exact. After bringing the water to a rolling boil, you can wait for about 30-60 seconds before pouring it over green, yellow and white tea leaves. For other teas you can just pour the water directly. I can strongly recommend getting and electric water cooker, because it turns off automatically and doesn’t over-boil the water, causing it to lose more oxygen.

Additionally you can preheat the pot or cup you’ll be brewing the tea in to avoid a fast temperature drop. That will further intensify the flavor.

If you’re an enthusiast of bagged tea, you should know that the paper the teabags are made of affect the flavor of the tea. Alternatively you can buy tea in silk bags, instead of paper.

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