Brewing a perfect cup of tea may not be rocket science, but a few decisive details can result in an amazing cup of tea. Good quality water, the right quantity of tea, accurate steeping time, are the most crucial factors that ultimately result in a quality cup of tea. The quality of your tea leaves can also determine the flavor of your tea. Brewing a cup of tea can differ according to your preference, if you want a stronger tasting tea, you can increase the quantity of tea leaves and decrease the amount of water and the opposite if you prefer a mild flavor.
Tea loves oxygen as it helps the flavor develop, so it is necessary to use freshly drawn cold water in the kettle and it is essential that water should never be re-boiled as it would decrease the oxygen content in the water. Not all teas require water at full boil, some teas loose their flavor as they are scorched by full boiled water. Different teas require water at different temperatures for best results.
White Tea requires water at a temperature of 158-180 degrees F (70-82 degrees C).
Green Tea too can be brewed with water at a temperature of 158-180 degrees F (70-82 degrees C), there is a lot of debate over the temperature at which to brew green tea, so trust your taste buds, if the tea is bitter the water is too hot.
Black Tea should be brewed with water at a temperature of 190-200 degrees F (88-91 degrees C).
For good leaf tea, it is ideal for water to be below the boiling point, this is because the amino acids that produce the tea’s flavor dissolves at lower temperatures than tanning. Tea made with water at 100 degrees C is more astringent and less sweet.
There are three methods to brew a perfect cup
Firstly the two tea pots methods, in which the first tea pot is used to brew the tea, and when the tea has steeped to perfection strain into the second warmed pot.
Secondly the Warm Cup method. Pour freshly boiled water into the number of tea cups required, the water then can be returned to the teapot with the tea. This way there will be a precise amount of tea in the pot, and none remaining once it has been brewed and poured.
Thirdly hand-filled tea bags. Simply spoon tea leaves into paper bags large enough so that the leaves have space to swell as they infuse.
White tea is one of the most purest and delicate teas, therefore it takes a longer time to brew than the other teas. Allowing it to steep for 3-4 minutes will produce a perfect cup of white tea.
Green tea should be steeped for about 2-3 minutes. However if you need a stronger flavor you can steep it for a couple of minutes more, this is also ideal if you are making iced tea, or if you prefer your green tea sweetened, the longer you steep the more robust the flavor.
The time that Black Tea takes to steep may vary depending on the cut of the leaf, finely cut leaves take 2-3 minutes, where as the large cut leaf may need 5 minutes to fully develop. Some black tea leaves can be steeped a second time, but most black teas loose flavor if you re-steep. Re-steep works best if the first steeping was only for a short amount of time. Milk and sweeteners can be added to your tea, for this steeping your tea for a longer period of time is ideal as the strong flavors compliments the milk and sweeteners.
Brewing a cup of tea is easy, it takes precision and care and once you know the right way, all you have to do is enjoy the perfectly brewed cup of tea.