Tea purifies spirit, removes anxiety and nervousness, brings ease and comfort, and is conducive to meditation. ~Author Unknown
Tea is the 2nd most consumed beverage after water. Amazing, right?
Wait! There’s more! Just in the U.S. alone we consume 3.6 billion gallons of tea a year. Now that’s a lot of tea don’t you think?
Yes, I thought so too!
The Perfect Cuppa
So, I was thinking…since the world, in general, drinks so much tea that means we’ve perfected making the perfect cup. Correct?
You’d think so, yet there are some people still struggling to get their tea to taste right.
So I’ve complied a generalized list of a few tips to help you get the perfect cup of tea going right now!
Here’s your tips:
#1 : Time your steeping
What teabies often don’t realize is that different varieties of tea react differently in water. Some are more delicate and don’t take as long to reach the proper steep time, such as white or green tea. Whereas, black, oolong and pu-erh tea take a lot longer.
So it’s important to realize the difference and adjust the steeping time accordingly.
Also worth noting is the time extensions for the different infusions if you’re doing a multiple infusion tea (as what you often do with oolongs).
But, alas, don’t worry. Click HERE to go to one of my earlier posts and you will find a few more tips along with a handy dandy brewing chart with some steep times for you to follow.
#2 : Use the right temperature of water
Like the steeping time, the water temperature is another very critical aspect for making the perfect cup of tea. As I said before, there are certain varieties of tea leaves that are more delicate than others so they don’t require as hot of water to release their flavor – and then there are some that do require hotter water.
If you do use too hot of water for your tea leaves, then the brew will come out bitter. If you don’t believe me try bringing your water to a full boil and adding some green tea leaves to it, steep it for appropriate 1-2 minutes and take a taste. Tell me what you think.
Bitter, right? Yes, that’s what I thought.
So water temp is critical. You can learn more at that link I placed in the last tip, or just click HERE again to go to the blog post about water temp and steep times.
#3 : Use fresh, good and not-previously-boiled water
I don’t mean you have to go to Swiss Alps to get your water straight from one of the springs, but I just mean you don’t want to use water that’s been sitting around for days. You wouldn’t want to drink that let alone make tea out of it would you?
Nope, didn’t think so.
The best kind of water to make your tea out of is filtered or spring water – note, I don’t mean a trip to the Swiss Alps again – like bottled water from the store. It gets kind of expensive to keep buying bottled water though, at least if you’re like me and drink a tea every day, several times a day.
So the other option is to use your refrigerator’s filtration system, or if you really don’t have that you can use a store bought filtered water pitcher you can get at your local supercenter for around $20-30.
Oh, and did I mention you really don’t want to just keep reboiling the same pot of water either. Your tea will taste horrible that way too!
#4 : Don’t get in a hurry to drink that cup of tea
The point is don’t get a hurry to chug down some boiling water – not that I know anybody who would want to do that. Ouch!
But there’s more to it than that.
You want to let the tea cool to approximately 140° F. Now don’t go sticking a thermometer in your tea all the time – you’ll look dorkie! 😉 It’s approximately 6 minutes.
By then your tea will have released all the flavors and it will be at its best. But you don’t want to let it go too long before you finish the cup because when it hits about 17 minutes from the time you made it it will start to get un-drinkable.
Meaning the tea will be cold and gross. 🙁 But I don’t know anyone who could wait 17 minutes to drink their tea, so you don’t have to worry.
#5 : If it’s not stored tight, it won’t taste right
Tea soaks up moisture and odors from around it like spongecake. So if not stored in a tightly sealed container then it will soak up that cinnamon flavor sitting next to it. It might not be bad, but if you’re drinking Peach Black Tea then it probably won’t taste so well.
Also, if tea is exposed to improper storing conditions it also won’t last as long – as in exposed to extreme light and heat. If stored properly – in a cool, dry place – tea can last several years before going stale.
No one wants to drink stale tea and no amount of perfecting your steeping and water temperature will make up for it.
#6 : Loose leaf or the tea bag?
Yeah, yeah. I know. Tea bags are convenient and it’s easier for you to take with you to work rather than a can of loose leaf. Yada, yada, yada.
But really. Try loose leaf tea and you’ll never go back to tea bags. Trust me!
Brewing with loose leaf tea allows the whole tea leaf to unfurl and release so much more flavor than you could ever get with the finely-chopped tea leaves in a tea bag.
As a bonus, you can re-steep the loose leaf varieties and get more bang for your buck. Whereas with tea bags you really can’t get the same flavors on multiple infusions.
Besides, they now have the larger loose leaf tea pouches that you can buy and use if you really must have a tea bag style tea on the go.
#7 : Never use the microwave
Yet another convenience I took away from you. You don’t ever want to use the microwave to heat your water for tea.
Yes, I know, I’m a spoilsport.
But there’s a good reason. Remember that whole water-temp-is-important thing I mentioned not even 5 tips ago? Yeah, that plays into effect here too.
If you use the microwave to heat your water you have no control over the temperature. Often, you’ll get your water to a full boil before you know it. Which is perfect for black and pu-erh tea, but for white and green tea? Not so much.
So take the time and heat your tea on the stove top or get one of those handy electric kettles you can control the exact temperature your water gets to.
Go get your tea on!
Now, I’ve given you a ton of helpful tips to make your next cup the best one possible. So why don’t you go get that water on now and make yourself a good cuppa?