How to Brew Delicious Tea
Everyone knows that there are all kinds of tea on the market. What you may not know is that you need to use specific brewing techniques for each type. If you don’t use the right technique with the right type, you may end up brewing yourself a cup of BLEH instead of a cup of AAAAH!
Black tea is the standard coffee-alternative you find in the United States. It’s bold, rich, and astringent. You can find flavored black-teas, such as Earl Grey, or go for the more traditional English or Irish Breakfast. These are usually caffeinated (about half the caffeine of coffee), but you can find non-caffeine options.
Black-teas are dried and cured leaves, so it takes boiling water and time (three to six minutes steeping time) to unlock the optimal flavor. Be patient when steeping it: if you are using loose leaf, wait until you see the leaves uncurl. If you’re using the bagged sort, wait until the water turns a uniform color without stirring.
Green tea is a wonderful option that has gained popularity in recent years. Flavors range from the bold and smoky Gunpowder to the sweetly subtle jasmines. The caffeine content of most green-teas is less than black-teas, but can vary greatly.
Most people automatically ruin green tea by brewing it in water that is too hot. Water should be 160 degrees Fahrenheit or less, in order to preserve the green color and delicate flavor. Green-teas are often good for brewing multiple pots, but watch carefully and beware of over-steeping: three to four minutes is the maximum steeping time for green teas.
White tea is an option that is relatively new to the market, but the flavors are even more delicate than green-tea, with even less caffeine. It should be steeped in water just below boiling, for four to six minutes.
There are hundreds of varieties of herbal teas. Not only are herbal-teas delicious, but many of them claim to have healing properties. Chamomile has a light floral or grassy flavor and is said to be relaxing. Mint kinds supposedly calm the stomach. Fruity varieties like lemon and orange wake you up (without caffeine) and are a source of vitamin C. Generally speaking, herbal teas should be brewed at a lower temperature than black (slightly less than boiling), but longer than green (four to five minutes).
Tea is a wonderful way to relax and enjoy something that is good for you. Brewing it yourself takes time and a little practice, but it is a great way to connect with a slower and simpler era.