How to Properly Brew Your Tea
Our forefathers may have dumped it into Boston Harbor, but tea is still a part of many Americans’ lifestyle.
Brewing tea, like most enjoyable things in life is very much a personal experience. Whether using tea bags or loose leaf teas, the brewing process is very similar and involves several things: type of tea, strength desired and water taste and temperature, to name a few.
Water is one of the important aspects. If you do not like the taste of the water from your tap, don’t use it to brew tea. Filtered or bottled water will suit you much better. If you are using tap water, use cold water because hot water heaters can add contaminants that may affect the taste.
Water temperature also plays a big role when brewing tea. Most tea can actually be brewed with boiling water, but some teas are not quite as robust as others and would like a little consideration for their delicacy. Black and herbal teas are the most robust and can be steeped in boiling water. Green and white teas will burn and produce a bitter taste with boiling water, so it works best to let the boiling water stand at room temperature for 1-2 minutes before adding to the tea. Oolong tea falls between green and black tea and should be brewed at about 190 degrees.
The chart given below is meant merely as a guideline, please experiment and decide for your self what you like.
Green 160 degrees 2-4 minutes
White 180 degrees 4-7 minutes
Oolong 190 degrees 2-8 minutes
Black Tea Boiling water 4-6 minutes
Herbal Teas Boiling water 4-8 minutes
When trying a new tea, taste it frequently as it steeps. Allow that first cup to steep until it is either too bitter or too strong. Make a note of the time that it tasted the best to you on the package and you’ll consistently have your perfect cup of tea.
If you have never brewed loose leaf tea, you might want to consider giving it a try. The brewing procedure itself is part of the experience of a gourmet tea.
Whether you are using grandma’s heirloom China teapot or the sleekest looking French Press, the procedure is pretty much the same. With the French Press you can watch the leaves rise and unfurl, to release the color from the leaves. This can be a very soothing experience.