“Brewing the Perfect Cuppa: A Sacred Tradition or a Careful Science?”
Brewing the perfect cup of tea is an experience that appeals to all the senses.
It can be a ritualistic process from choosing the teaware to then finding a peaceful place to enjoy your brew. For those of you that are new to loose leaf tea, the most important advice I can give you before you reach for the kettle is, slow down... Allow yourself the time to brew a cup of real tea correctly; I promise you it will completely change your experience and keep you away from tea bags forever!
We’ve all been served a bitter and overly astringent cuppa before, and many people have been completely put off tea because of experiences like this. A proper brewing process is essential for to you fully appreciate the sensory delights that good quality tea has to offer. Although the specific timings and temperature rules may at first be a little overwhelming to somebody exploring loose leaf tea for the first time, you need not be intimidated; it's nowhere near as complicated as it may at first seem, in fact, it's pretty damn simple!
We have put together some guidelines written by our certified tea master, to help you brew your perfect cuppa. Although there is a little science to brewing tea, we feel that it’s important to remember all tastes are different, so don’t be scared to experiment with your brew until you find that perfect time and temperature to suit your palate.
What you will need:
- An infuser
- Your favourite loose leaf tea
- Mug or cup
- Tea scoop/teaspoon
As you can see, you don’t need any fancy equipment to make a perfect cup of tea; most people have a mug and a teaspoon in their kitchens- it might just be the infuser that seems a bit alien. Stainless steel basket Infusers are hands down the most effective tool to get the best out of good quality tea. Just place them in a mug or cup and voila! Instant teapot! The design of these infusers allows for water to circulate freely through the leaves, which will give you a more flavourful cuppa cha.
Three easy steps to brewing the perfect cup of loose leaf tea:
- Place 1-2 heaped teaspoons or one tea scoop of loose leaf tea into your infuser and place infuser into your mug.
- Fill with freshly boiled water (see below for temperature guide)
- Leave to brew for desired time (see below for brewing time)
- Once brewed take the infuser out, compost the leaves or keep aside for re-steeping, give it a rinse, and you're all done, a beautiful rich tasting REAL cup of tea!
Black tea is the more heavily oxidised of all the tea types. This is where the rich earthy flavours are derived. To enjoy the full flavour and aroma of good quality loose leaf black tea, steep it in water at a temperature of 95-100 degrees for 2-5 minutes depending on the variety. Blended teas are generally brewed for around 3 minutes.
Oolong or Wulong tea leaves are partially oxidised, living somewhere between a green and a black tea. Oolong comes in many sub-varieties, some of which are darker and more heavily oxidised, with a richer earthy profile while others are much lighter, with more subtle floral and fruity tones. To get the best out of any Oolong bring the water temperature to between 85-95 degrees and steep for 3-5 minutes.
Green tea :
Green teas are delicate and must be handled with care. They are less oxidised than Oolong or Black teas, and so they like brewing times of 1-3 mins and 75-80 degree water. If you over steep Green tea or use water that is too hot, the leaves will release all of their compounds far too quickly resulting in a bitter and an overly astringent brew.
White tea is the least processed of all teas with complex and subtle flavour profiles. Therefore it must be treated with the same care in regards to water temperature as green tea. White teas like brewing times of around 2-5 minutes at a temperature of 75-80 degrees.
Tisanes & Rooibos:
All other herbal teas including fruit teas and rooibos teas are a little more flexible as far as time and temperature go. These are brewed for at least 3 minutes at 95-100 degrees. Keep in mind the longer infusion, the stronger the flavour.
Water quality is critical! Your tea is only as good as the water you use. Therefore, use fresh, cold water (preferably filtered or spring). Water-quality includes making sure your teapot is clean. Any contaminant will change the flavour profile and ruin your brew.
Re-steeping is one of the bonuses that come with your new loose leaf tea addiction. All of our teas ( not including some herbal tisanes ) can be re-steeped at least once- refer to product page for specifics. Some teas, in fact, will taste better and have a slightly different profile the second and third time around if you use shorter infusions- particularly oolongs and green teas. So before you throw your leaves into the compost try to get as much as you can out of them, I mean that's why you pay for the good stuff, isn't it? ;)
Don’t have a digital temperature kettle? Never mind! We have an easy way to get around this. For brewing Oolong, Green, and White teas. Just add 1 part cold water to your mug or pot and then four parts hot water: perfect cuppa!
Finally, relax! Brewing and drinking tea should be a soothing, peaceful experience. Slow down take the time to treat yourself to a good quality tea. It's one of life's simple pleasures.
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