BREWING A “PERFECT” CUP OF TEA:
Taste and preferences are very subjective and everyone will have their own variations for brewing their tea. However, the following specifications can act as guide to help you in brewing a tea that has the balanced flavors, tastes and briskness, that is your preference. Test out these guidelines and then try adjusting the amount of tea, the steeping times and/or water temperature to see where you might want to vary it a little for your particular taste.
1) SELECT A BREWING DEVICE: We recommend using either a glass or white ceramic teapot or cup that has a strainer in it so that the brewed leaves can be removed easily when the specified brewing time is complete. The glass and white ceramic also make viewing the process possible. If you don’t have either, you can alternatively place the leaves in a teapot, and strain the tea off using a hand mesh strainer after the brewing time has been completed.
2) MEASURE OUT THE TEA: Generally, use one teaspoon of dry tea per cup of water. You may want to use more than a teaspoon or less than a teaspoon, depending the the size of the particles of tea you are using, remembering that larger particles take up more volume per weight. Generally, if measuring by weight, you should use 3 – 4 grams of dry tea per cup of water. Add the tea to the brewing device.
3) ADD THE WATER:
Again, use 1 cup of water per every teaspoon (or 3-4 grams weight) of whole leaf tea.
- WATER QUALITY: Do not use hard water or water with chlorine as it will alter the taste of the tea. This is because of the interaction between the Flavanoids in tea and Calcium Hydroxide and/or Chlorine in the water. Hard or chlorine water will ruin your tea. Ice tea made with hard water will cloud up as it cools, especially over time.
- WATER TEMPERATURE AND STEEPING TIMES: This is the step that will make the most difference to the perfection of your cup of tea. Keep in mind that hotter water and longer brewing times will bring out more flavor, bitterness, briskness and even more caffeine from your tea. The trick is knowing how hot to have your water and how long to brew the tea so you go far enough but not too far. Especially with most green and oolong teas, water that is too hot or steeping for too long, will actually diminish the flavor and/or make the tea excessively bitter and astringent. Generally, 170 F water for green tea, 180 for oolong and 195 for black tea.
- Multiple Infusions: Whole leaves are capable of providing more than one infusion and this is one reason for their higher price. In broken or macerated leaves, tea juice is extracted from the cells during rolling and the tea particle is coated with concentrated tea juice which is later dried. When placed in hot water, the tea extract is quickly dissipated into the water. Whole leaf teas on the other hand are carefully rolled to keep the basic structure of the leaf intact. There is very little concentrate coating the exterior. Most of the flavor is still retained within the cells and require repeated brewing to extract all of it. Therefore they are called multiple infusion teas. Whole leaf teas are best brewed in a glass or white ceramic mug, cup or pot as you can view the leaves unfurl. When brewing is complete, drain off the liquid and simply add more hot water to the same leaves for another infusion. The second steeping is generally about half the time of the first steeping, ezpecially with green and oolong teas. This process can be repeated several times, by increasing the brewing time for each consecutive brewing after the second brewing, until there is no more flavor to extract.
|WATER TEMPERATURE AND STEEPING TIME CHART
1 cup of water per every 1 – 2 teaspoons (or 3-4 grams weight) of whole leaf tea
|TYPE OF TEA
||2ND INFUSION||3RD INFUSION||WATER TEMPERATURE
|White tea||6 – 7 min||3 – 6 min||6 – 8 min||at 170 – 190 F|
|Green tea||1 – 2 min||1/2 – 1 min
||1 – 2 min||at 160 – 170 F|
|Oolong tea||2 – 3 min||1 – 2 min||2 -3 min||at 170 – 190 F|
|Black tea||3 – 5 min||2 – 5 min||3 – 5 min||at 170 – 190 F|
4) DRAIN OFF THE LIQUOR
5) ENJOY THE TEA
Store your tea in a tightly closed container in a dark and cool cabinet. Do not store tea in a glass or see-through plastic container, or in direct sunlight.