How to Make the Perfect Cup of Tea
Monica Munteanu | On 30, Jul 2013
If you’re passionate about tea then you know that making a cup can turn into an art. Each tea requires special attention, so you have to be prepared when starting the brewing ritual.
We have asked ourselves this question many times: how do you make the perfect cup of tea? Are there any secrets we don’t know about or a special incantation to say before pouring the water? We’ve done some investigation and found out all you need is to just pay a little attention to the details. This is how you get the result you always want.
What are the details, you say? Here is what you have to look out for when you brew:
Whatever tea you are making, water is the second most important ingredient. First of all, use fresh, cold water. Secondly, filtered or spring water are your best choices, tap water being acceptable as well. Don’t use previously boiled or distilled water. Make sure you warm up the kettle before filling it up. You should be using the right tea-water ratio, recommended one teaspoon of tea for a cup of water, that is 250 ml.
Each type of tea when brewed requires a certain temperature and time for brewing. Black teas are made with boiling water, for 3-4 minutes. Oolong needs it just a bit colder, that is 190 F (90 C) for 2-3 minutes. Green tea needs to be steeped for 2- 3 minutes at 170 – 180 F (75 C – 80 C), while rooibos should to be infused at 210 F (100 C) for 5 – 8 minutes. Last, but not least, white tea requires 170 – 180 F hot water with 3 -5 minutes time.
You can use tea bags or loose leaves. The main difference is the size of the leaves. Why does that matter? Because they contain substances and essential oils, which are the basis of the flavour. When the leaves are crushed, those oils can evaporate, thus resulting in a tasteless tea. Tea bags are usually filled with tiny pieces, while loose tea is typically made out of whole leaves, making it a better choice.
Warm up the cup before hand by rinsing it with hot water. Add one teaspoon of leaves per cup, if you’re using loose tea, or one bag. You can use a tea ball or an infuser, but the amount should be the same, no matter how many tea cups you’re preparing. Leave it to steep for a few minutes, keeping in mind the right time for the specific tea you are making. After it’s done, remove the leaves and stir the tea and serve it into the pre-heated cup mentioned before.
You can serve your tea plain or add something to it, depending on your liking. Most people sweeten it, honey being the healthier choice. You can mix in one or two teaspoons. A slice of lemon is also a popular choice.
If you’re looking to spice things up you can always turn to…spices. You could stir it up with a cinnamon stick or experiment with other herbs until you find a taste that pleases you. Our suggestions: cardamom, clove, ginger or mint.
Adding milk has become somewhat controversial. Some may say it’s a great addition, others would argue it should never go near your cup. On the other hand, researchers have found that milk actually diminish the power of antioxidants found in tea. A study in the European Heart Journal in 2007 said that heart-protective antioxidants were totally inhibited by the presence of milk. Ultimately, it’s up to you.
One last accessory that would make your tea a better experience is a piece of cake, biscuits or cookies. You can check out our list of 10 snack to serve at a tea party to get inspired.
The tips and tricks
Is there anything more to know? Well, sure, we’re permanently looking for ways to improve our tea experience. In the meanwhile, here are 6 more tips and tricks for you to keep in mind while brewing.
1. If you pour the water on top of the tea bag, it will reduce the time needed for steeping.
2. If you don’t have a kettle or a stove at hand you can microwave the water, two minutes needed to reach the boiling point.
3. Using warm water will make tea very weak. It’s best to keep in mind the exact temperatures for each type of tea.
4. When brewing leaves you could try boiling the water in a kettle and pouring it on the loose tea in a pot. Then drain it and repeat, thus brewing the tea twice. This method is used in order to release the impurities.
5. Shaking the tea bag in the water after a few minutes of brewing would insure a stronger aroma.
6. Putting the tea in the water before boiling it results in stewed tea. It’s very strong and not for everyone’s taste.
Making the perfect cup of tea is a challenge, but also a fun experience. Remember that the perfect cup means it’s perfect for you, so use our advice to your benefit.
We’ll soon launch our new incredibly tasty tea blends. Join us, there are lots of special gifts waiting for you.