Life is like a cup of tea…it’s all in how you make it.
There’s nothing easier than making a cup of tea. Simply put, in a pinch you can throw a teabag in a steaming cup of water and usually get a fairly decent cup of tea.
But like most really good things in life, if you spend a little extra time and effort into the art of making tea you can yield something more than just a functional cuppa.
So how do you brew a great cup of tea exactly? Here are some general top tips from the experts…
The 3 Main Tips
You know the saying…Timing is everything. It’s very true in the case of making tea.
The longer you steep the tea leaves, the stronger the taste. For most teas that usually means they become bitter on the tongue. But if you’re like most people, you’d rather not have a bitter brew. So really pay attention and follow the steeping instructions.
Occasionally you’ll forget that you have tea leaves steeping and leave them in longer than you should. Don’t let that happen again – use a timer!
Like timing, temperature is critical to an awesome cup of tea. Unless you’re drinking black or herbal tea your water shouldn’t be boiling.
Green, white and oolong tea leaves are significantly more delicate. If you pour boiling water over them you run the risk of damaging the leaves…and your cup of tea. In turn your tea will be lacking in flavor and sweetness.
So in other words, make sure you’re using cooler water when drinking green, white or oolong tea.
While timing and temperature have a great impact on making the best of what you have, but if you don’t have quality tea leaves to begin with…you’re not going to get very far with that superb cuppa. Now I’m not saying that the only way to get a great cup of tea is by buying the most expensive tea leaves…no, that’s not it at all! You can certainly get a wonderful cuppa from cheaper leaves. What I’m saying is that there is a difference in the quality and you should pay attention to it.
So besides quality tea leaves the taste is really affected by the room the tea leaves have to unfurl and steep. The more room they have, the more flavor that can be released into the water. Which is a good thing! So that big mesh-tea-steeping-basket that fits into your cup can produce a way better cup than a tiny tea ball that you have to struggle to stuff the tea in.
Oh, and worth taking note on is the amount of tea you use per cup. Usually the standard is 1 teaspoon of tea leaves per 6 ounces of water. But if you prefer a stronger brew then you might want to throw in a little more leaves.
Finally, the last thing that affects the taste of your cup of tea is the quality of water you use. This one’s technically up to personal preference, but most tea sommeliers recommend using fresh, high quality water. Some people go as far as saying to use fresh, filtered water (which is my personal preference). Just don’t ever use water that you’ve already brought up to temp once!
Don’t Be Afraid…
All these tips come from great tea sommeliers who make it their profession to learn about all things tea. But that doesn’t mean that they all fit to your perfectly tasting cup of tea.
So don’t be afraid to experiment to find what combination of tips works best for you.
I’ll leave you with a small cheat sheet you can use to start your experiments with…one that will help you brew your perfect cuppa!