How to Brew the Perfect Cup of Tea


brewing-1.jpgUnlike teabags, which make very fast and harsh tasting brews, loose leaf tea is delicate, and if made right, will make a flavorful brew, far surpassing tea bags.   Tea bags also contain much lower grade tea, called “fannings” and dust”, which is basically leftover from the production of finer quality teas.  We only sell high quality loose leaf teas. 

Amount of tea to use:  Typically the ideal amount of tea per 8 ounce cup is 1-2 teaspoons, depending on how strong you like your tea.  Experiment and find what you like.  For ground teas such as chai, 1 teaspoon is a good measurement.  For green teas, 1.5 teaspoons, and for white tea and oolong teas, since they are rather bulky, 2 teaspoons.  

Time: The finer the grain, the quicker the brew time as the surface area of the tea exposed to the hot water is greater. Ground teas are ready to go in about two minutes or less, while large leaf varieties may need more than five minutes. The general rule is three to five minutes, blacks longer than greens. The longer a green or white tea steeps, the more likely it is to become slightly astringent or "bitter" to the taste.

Temperature: For BLACK TEA , the hotter the water the better. Bring it just to a boil and let it back off a couple of degrees.  RED TEA and other HERBAL TEAS are great brewed with boiling water as well.  OOLONG TEA should be prepared with 180 to 190 °F (82 to 88 °C) water (not boiling). GREEN TEA and WHITE TEA are usually a bit more delicate and do better in water that is in the 160 to 180 degree range, so it may make sense to let the water cool a bit before brewing the tea in this case. If you don’t want to get out the thermometer, just bring the water up to a boil as usual and then take it off the stove, allowing it to cool for five minutes or so before pouring it on the leaves.

Making a Pretty Good Second Pot

High quality teas can be brewed several times from the same leaves and sometimes the taste even improves with reuse.  This tends to be the case with Oolong teas in particular. 

You can get a good second pot out of just about any tea type. If the tea is loose in the pot, first pour off the cold excess liquid through a filter and return the leaves to the pot. Fill the pot about 3/4's full of fresh hot water. If desired, add a bit more fresh tea. Let this pot steep a few minutes longer than the first.

If the tea is in an infuser or paper filter, simply put it back into fresh hot water as above. It is a lot easier to add a bit more fresh tea if you are using a filter rather than an infuser.

Brew your tea, taking note that with successive brews, you will want to steep longer for improved flavor.

Making Iced Tea:

Many of our teas are fantastic iced as well.  The basic formula for making iced tea is using the same ratio of tea per 8 ounces listed above, depending on the type of tea, but you want to concentrate it.  So measure the amount of tea you will need for a pitcher of tea, depending on how much that pitcher holds, in ounces.  Then brew that amount of tea in a small amount of water, about 2 cups or so.  Brew according to the time mentioned above and then strain.  Then add to the pitcher and fill the rest of the pitcher with cold water or a cold water and ice mixture.  Sweeten to taste.  Stevia or honey is an excellent and healthy iced tea sweetener.  We prefer our iced tea unsweetened with just lemon.  

What is so great about tea is how you can experiment with amounts of tea and time you brew and find what works for your tastes.  Everyone is different, so find what you like.

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