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Get Brewin' with these Tips & Tricks
How a tea is brewed can make all the difference between an amazing tea experience and an unremarkable one. So here’s our primer on all the things to consider when you sit down to brew your next cup of tea.
Know your H2OBrewed tea is 99 percent water, so the water you start with has a lot to do with the final taste of the brewed tea. If your water tastes “off” or has impurities, then your tea will taste the same, no matter how strong you make your brew. Just remember that it’s always best to start your tea experience with fresh, clean water. Filtered or bottled spring water is best; avoid using tap, distilled or mineral water.
Furthermore, water should be boiled only once. Reheating water that has come to a boil and cooled completely will create flat-tasting lifeless water.
Consider the three Ts
Before you simply pour hot water over your tea, consider the type of tea you’re brewing. Different types of tea have different ideal brewing temperatures and steeping times that will yield the best flavor out of that specific tea. So take a minute to think about the three Ts before you brew.
Type. What type of tea are you planning to brew? Green tea leaves, for example, are more delicate and fresh than black tea leaves, so they can be steeped at a lower temperature and don’t need to be steeped as long. Herbal teas, on the other hand, do not contain the Camellia sinensis tea plant, so they can steep much longer than a true tea without becoming astringent or bitter.
Temperature. Tea generally requires a brewing temperature of anywhere from
80 to 100 degrees celsius, depending on the type of tea. If you don’t have an electric kettle with a temperature control, you can wait a few minutes after the water has boiled before using it.
Time. If you steep tea for too little time, your tea can be weak and watery. If you over steep your tea, you could risk a mouthful of bitterness and astringency. Taste your tea after the minimum recommended steeping time and then decide if you’d like it to steep a little longer.
Different teas, even if they come from the same type category (green, black, etc.), can have different ideal brewing temperatures and steeping times.
Single-cup mesh filters- inexpensive and easy-to-use stainless steel, gold mesh, and nylon infusers designed to fit into some small teapots or right into your teacup or mug.
Reusable tea sacks- have the convenience of tea bags together with the size to accommodate the whole-leaf tea: greater water circulation & room for expansion of rehydrating leaf.
Teapots with Infusers- A 3-cup pot (750ml) will serve two people with a little extra for refills. Pouring the hot water into the pot from a height of about 10 inches will “push” the leaves a bit and speed up the flavour release. To avoid bitter liquor, always remove the infuser once the tea is ready.
Teapot with coiled spout filter- this kind of teapot has the added benefit of enabling you to watch the leaves swirl through the water, releasing their colors. The spout filter stops the leaves escaping from the teapot as the liquid is poured into the cup.
Teacup with infuser- this kind of teacup is relatively easy to clean after use, so they are ideal for infusing tea without too much fuss. Those with lids offer the best infusion because they preserve the aromas released by the leaves.
French Press- A nice alternative to the traditional teapot, the French press makes a quick and easy tea brewing tool with very easy clean up. Simply add tea leaves or tea bag(s) to the French press, pour in the hot water and cover with the lid (with filter and screen attached), allow it to steep for the appropriate amount of time, then press the tea to the bottom.
Measure the leaf. Use the right amount of leaf. Adjust the measure of leaf depending on the class of tea and the method that was used to manufacture the tea. CTC teas usually require more leaves, while orthodox leaves don’t require a lot of it.
Pay attention to water quality. Use pure, clean water. Water with too many minerals will affect the taste of the tea.
Use the correct water temperature. Water heated to the right temperature for a tea will yield a cup that reveals the subtle flavours and characters of that tea. Too much heat and the tea will be damaged and the flavor will be ruined, it will taste bitter. If the water temperature is too low, proper extraction cannot take place, and the tea will taste flat.
Watch your steeping time. Follow the recommended steeping time. Setting a timer is recommended.
Choose the right tea-steeping vessel.
The ideal ration of leaf to water for most tea is 2-3 grams per 180ml. Recommended volume of leaf will vary with the type of tea.
Loose leaf teas should be stored properly as it is quite vulnerable to light, air, and moisture.
Shelf Life. Even though the tea feels very dry, it contains 3 percent moisture and volatile oils, which are vital to its flavour. These oils will
evaporate if the tea is not stored properly.
If stored properly, can last up to 2 years.
Green Tea & White Tea
Black Tea & Pu'er
Over 2 years
Proper StorageSeal it up. If storing the leaves in a bag, make sure it can be tightly sealed after each use.
Keep it airtight. Store in an opaque tea caddy made of tin, ceramics, or stainless steel. Making sure the container is airtight will prevent any odours from permeating the leaves.
Keep it cool. Store in a cool, dry area, ideally in a low cupboard, but not in the fridge. It is important to store the leaves away from spices and any source of heat like the top of the fridge or a stove.