The perfect cup of tea requires more than just buying expensive tea. The right brewing techniques play a critical role in the taste and quality of your tea. Unfortunately, many restaurants, cafes, and households that serve tea do not take the time to understand how to brew tea properly. As a result, visitors are often served improperly brewed tea, which can be a huge turn-off. However, with some simple tips and techniques, you can brew the perfect cup of tea every time.
The trick to steeping tea correctly lies in five areas: water, weight, temperature, time, and equipment.
Start with good quality water. If your tap water tastes funny, your tea will too. Use water with around 150 parts per million (PPM) of balanced mineral content for the best flavor. Use a simple carbon filter water pitcher to remove extra minerals and contaminants like chlorine from your tap water.
Use the right amount of tea for your cup. The golden ratio is one teaspoon of most tea leaves (approx. 2 grams) per 8 ounce cup of water. Note that most mugs are larger than 8 ounces, so adjust the amount of tea accordingly. The size of the tea leaves will also affect the weight, so adjust the amount based on your preference.
Use the right temperature for your tea. Boiling water (212°F) is best for black, dark Oolong, and herbal teas. Cooler water is better for delicate teas such as green, green Oolong, and white teas. Use a thermometer or a kettle that lets you gauge temperature.
Steep your tea for the right amount of time. Black teas need 3-5 minutes, dark Oolong and white teas need 3-5 minutes, and light Oolong and green teas need 2-3 minutes. If you steep your tea for too long, it can become bitter.
Use the right equipment. When hot water is added, tea leaves can unfurl up to five times their dry size. Use a broad and deep infuser basket or a teapot to allow the leaves to expand fully.
Remember that the quality of your tea matters too. Buy the best tea you can afford to ensure a great taste. Avoid commercial tea bags, as they do not allow enough expansion room for the leaves and are often made with low-quality tea.
By following these tips, you can enjoy the perfect cup of tea every time. With a little practice, you’ll soon become an expert in brewing the perfect cup.