“There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea.” ~ Bernard-Paul Heroux

OK tea lovers, have you ever made your tea and have it come out flat, chemical-y and/or bitter tasting?

Yup, I thought so. But don’t worry, it’s happened to me too.

Making a cup of tea is quite an easy process when you think about it – just boil water, add tea leaves, and drink. Right?

Well, yes…and no.

3 Important Things for the Perfect Cup of Tea

There are a few simple steps you can take when you’re making your tea that makes it even better than you can imagine. Don’t worry, it won’t change up your tea brewing routine too much. πŸ˜‰

#1 Water Does Matter!

99 % of tea is made up of water then it’s reasonable to assume if your water tastes good, then your tea will taste good too.

Let me tell it to you straight, the best water to use for brewing tea is cold, filtered or bottled water.

Never use distilled or previously-boiled water because it lacks the oxygen levels in the water to make the tea taste good. The key is the higher the oxygen content, the better tasting the tea.

Also, you want to try to stay away from pure tap water. You can still use it, if it tastes good to you, but all too often tap water is full of chlorine, sulfur, iron and other chemicals for cleaning. Those components can make the water taste and smell very noxious and so will the tea as a result.

You didn’t know you were getting a chemistry lesson today did you? But really, I don’t mean for you to run out and buy the most expensive brand of bottled water for your tea – just use your tap water that’s been filtered and you’ll be good to go.

#2 Hot, but Not Too Hot!

The biggest complaint I’ve ever heard about tea is that it’s too bitter, but it really doesn’t have to be that way – trust me.

One reason your tea is so bitter is because you’re using too hot of water when you’re steeping your tea.

Most people think you just boil water and throw in tea leaves and you’re done. Wrong!

Some teas are more delicate than others and therefore require cooler water for break down. For example, White or Green teas require much cooler water than Black teas.

So pay attention to what kind of tea you’re making and what the temperature it requires to brew properly. Most often if you pay attention to the packaging your tea comes in it will tell you the optimum brewing temp.

Here’s a simple chart to get you started:

 

Water Temperatures for Tea Brewing

Black

205 – 212 F / 96 – 100 C

White

160 – 175 F / 71 – 79 C

Green

165 – 185 F / 74 – 85 C

Oolong

185 – 200 F / 85 – 93 C

Pu-reh

212 F / 100 C

Herbal (Tisanes)

205 – 212 F / 96 – 100 C

#3 Remember the Time!

Relating back to tip #2, the second reason your tea can be too bitter is due to the steep time you use.

I’ve seen a lot of people throw in a tea bag (or tea infuser with loose tea), leave it sit in their cup for 10 minutes or more and then drink – never removing the tea bag. I get an awful taste in my mouth just thinking about it.

Here’s what’s really going on in your cup:

After adding the correctly temped water to the tea leaves they start to break down. As they break down they release what’s called tannins (and other things). If steeped too long the tannin concentration is extremely high. Resulting in guess what? Bitter tea.

So pay attention to the steeping time on the packaging your tea comes in.

But just to be helpful, I’ve created a generalized chart for you to follow. Keep in mind this is using the water temps of the above chart.

 

Tea Steeping Times

Black

3 – 4 Minutes

White

2 – 3 Minutes

Green

2 – 3 Minutes

Oolong

3 – 5 Minutes

Pu-erh

1st infusion –Β 10 Seconds

2ndΒ infusion –Β 25 Seconds

etc.

Herbal (Tisane)

5 – 8 Minutes

Sidenote: You can steep most tea multiple times (multiple infusions) just remember to increase the steeping time as you go.

Bonus Tip:

When you’re done steeping the tea do you ever take the teabag out and try to squeeze all the extra tea out?

Now’s the time to refrain from that habit. Or at least try to keep from doing it…

When you squeeze the excess tea out of the teabag it releases tannins into your cup of tea. The excess tannins cause your tea to be more bitter than it normally would.

So next time you make a cup of tea, just let the teabag drip and then remove – and no squeezing!

That is unless you enjoy bitter tea. πŸ˜‰

Now You Know

While it’s hard to mess up a cup of tea, but there is a correct way to getting the best flavor out of your tea leaves.

These 3 tips can get you started discovering how great tea can actually taste if made properly. You can discover what an experience it can really be.

But, ultimately, I encourage you to continue exploring and experimenting to find the way to make the best cup of tea possible for you.

Enjoy and drink up!

Tea is made for sharing!
Jen
 

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