The perfect cup of tea requires patience and the right tools. This is the art of preparing tea. Here are some important rules to follow so that you make the best cup of tea, which is especially important if you drink tea daily.
Life’s too short to have bland tea!
How much does preparing tea matter?
Although you can throw teabags into a mug and pour boiling water over them, there are details about making a cup of tea that really influences how the tea tastes. They also help to preserve the healthy compounds that are present in tea.
Learn the Art of Preparing Tea
With that in mind, let’s look at some important tips and tricks for making the perfect cup of tea, as well as some steps you should follow before drinking your must-have morning cuppa.
Warm It Up
Before you start making your tea, make sure the teapot and cup have been warmed up.
This will ensure that the flavor of the tea will be released into the water much quicker. If you use a cold mug or teapot, this will bring the temperature of your water down, which isn’t good for making the perfect cup of tea.
Leave It For Two (Then Six) Minutes
If you make your cup of tea really quickly, you’re not giving the tea a chance to release it’s healthy, delicious flavors.
Researchers from the University of Northumbria School of Life Sciences (via Telegraph) tested how to make the perfect cup of tea for 180 hours and they found that the best way to make tea with a tea bag is to put it in your cup and leave it for two minutes before drinking it.
They also said that you should then remove the teabag from the water and add in the milk. Before drinking it, leave it for six minutes so that it has a temperature of 60 degrees Celsius.
When it comes to how long you should steep tea, follow this general guideline: the darker the tea leaf, the longer you should brew it for, as tea expert Angela Pryce tells The Mirror.
Avoid Water That’s Too Hot
Although you want a hot cuppa, you should avoid making tea with super-hot water as that can cause the tea to taste bitter. How hot your water should be when you make tea does vary according to the type of tea you’re making.
Black tea requires water temperatures of between 90 and 98 degrees Celsius, while green tea needs water temperature that’s approximately 80 degrees, according to the U.K. Tea And Infusions Association.
As for white tea, you should ensure the water temperature is between 76 and 85 degrees because anything hotter will ruin the delicate flavor of white tea. Oolong tea needs water that’s a temperature between 82 and 87 degrees.
Store Your Tea Correctly
You want to preserve the flavor in your tea, so make sure you store tea in an airtight container.
This is because tea is hygroscopic, meaning that it absorbs both odors and moisture. Keep the tea container away from any light and heat, ensuring that it’s in a cool and dry place.
Put Milk In After Water
If you want to add a dash of milk to your tea, always do so after you’ve put the water in your cup and allowed the tea to steep a bit.
If you put milk before water, then you’re disrupting the water temperature that’s required to help you make a delicious cup.
Use Fresh Water
The art of preparing tea starts with using the right water. If you’re making tea with tap water, it should be cold because hot water contains more minerals, such as lime and calcium, that will interfere with the tea’s flavor.
You should also avoid making tea with water that’s been in your kettle for hours or that’s been previously boiled because it will make your tea lack flavor. This is because water contains oxygen and if you boil the water too much, this decreases the amount of oxygen it has, which can alter the taste of the tea.
If you’re worried about wasting water, always make sure you boil just enough water for one cup so it doesn’t go to waste.
If you end up with more in the kettle, use it for other tasks, such as for drinking or watering your houseplants, instead of throwing it down the drain. When you live in a region where there’s hard water, this can be interfering with your ability to make the perfect cup of tea.
The reason for this is because the water will have magnesium and calcium in it – you might even see it forming a scummy layer on the top of your water. Using a water filter can help to reduce and remove these materials from your tea.
Get The Right Teapot
Not all teapots are good for the type of tea you want to make.
If you want to make black tea, investing in an iron teapot is a good choice. This is because iron holds onto heat for a longer time than other materials, and since black tea needs to be brewed in hotter water, it’s a good teapot to purchase.
On the other hand, a glass teapot is good for holding onto heat but not giving your water temperature too much heat, so these teapots are useful for making white and green tea.
What about teapot size?
The teapot should be a large one that’s capable of holding at least eight ounces of water, which is one cup. But other characteristics of the teapot are much more important to consider. The art of preparing tea relies on a careful selection of accessories, teapot included.
The best teapot if you’re brewing your own tea is to choose one with a removable infuser basket. This allows you to control the tea strength. You can also use these teapots as regular teapots, such as when you make tea with tea bags.
How To Brew Tea With Loose Leaves
If you like the idea of making tea with loose leaves instead of teabags, these are the steps you should follow to make the perfect cup of tea:
- First, you will need to measure the number of loose tea leaves to use. A good general guideline is to use two or three grams of loose leaf tea for every 180mls of water. It’s best to use grams to measure your loose tea leaves because different varieties will come in different sizes and shapes, as wikiHow reports.
- Steep the tea in hot water with the use of a tea infuser. Generally speaking, your tea should be steeped for about three or four minutes. However, if you’re not sure how long your tea should be steeped, start with three minutes and see what it tastes like. You can increase or decrease the amount of steeping time if you’re not happy with the taste.
- After steeping the tea leaves, you need to remove the infuser from the teapot, or from your cup, depending on the type of infuser you’ve used.
- Throw out the tea leaves and enjoy your tea.
The Gongfu Method
There are many different ways to brew your own perfect cup of tea at home, but a method that’s worth trying is the Gongfu Tea method.
This originates from China.
- Gongfu pot – this is made from purple clay and is used because it absorbs the flavors of the tea leaves.
- Aroma cup – this is where your tea will first be poured. It will be left for a few minutes in this cup.
- Drinking cup – after being put in the aroma cup for a few minutes, the tea will then be poured into the drinking cup.
How To Make Tea With The Gongfu Method
- Rinse the teapot with hot water to clean it and prepare it so that it will maintain the right temperature for the tea.
- Put your tea leaves into the teapot. You’ll need enough to cover the teapot bottom.
- Put boiling water into the teapot, and then pour it out. That might sound strange but it’s done in order to rinse the tea leaves and remove their dust particles. Be sure not to lose the tea leaves during this process! A strainer containing fine mesh will help you to preserve the tea leaves.
- Add boiling water again, this time to let the tea steep.
- Put the lid on the teapot to maintain the right temperature during the brewing process.
- You can keep pouring boiling water to the outside of the teapot to keep it nice and warm.
Make sure you follow these temperature requirements for different teas:
- Oolong tea: Water should be around 20 degrees Celsius below the boiling point. Steep the tea for five minutes.
- Black tea: Water should be about 10 degrees Celsius below boiling point, and let it steep for about three minutes.
Now that your tea has been brewed for the correct amount of time, pour it into the serving pot and then pour it into the aroma cups.
Enjoy smelling the aroma of the tea in the aroma cups.
Once the tea has been in the aroma cups for a few minutes, it can be poured into a drinking cup.
Facts About Gongfu Brewing
- Although the Gongfu method of brewing tea is great for black and oolong tea, it’s not recommended for green tea.
- The Gongfu method is about using a larger amount of tea leaves, but sticking to shorter infusion times. This is done so that there can be multiple infusions of the tea, as Enjoying Tea reports.
The Tools You Need Depending On The Type Of Tea
If you have larger tea leaves, you’ll need a tea strainer.
Ensure that it fits snugly within the teapot or cup opening. If it moves around, then the leaves will sneak out of the strainer and end up in your cup of tea.
On the other hand, if you have finer, powdered tea, you should use disposable tea filter bags that will prevent the tea particles from getting into your cup.
The strainer to avoid is a tea ball infuser if you are making tea with large leaves as these products are too small to allow the leaves to move and unfurl, which is how they enhance the taste of your tea.
In addition, as wikiHow points out, using a tea ball infuser for powdered tea is also not recommended as the powder particles will be able to slip through the tea ball infuser’s holes.
Pro tip: One of the best tea infusers to use is one that’s a basket infuser. This is large enough to accommodate large tea leaves so that they can release their delicious flavor and versatile enough to be used with teapots or mugs.
Use A Porcelain Cup
The art of preparing the perfect cup of tea demands the right tools for the job. The cup you use to drink your tea will directly affect its taste.
If you use a metal cup, this will make your tea taste a bit metallic.
On the other hand, if you use a plastic cup, the tannins from the tea will stick to it.
And, if you like ceramic cups, they can make your tea cool down too quickly because they’re porous.
The best cup to drink tea out of is one that’s made of porcelain because it retains the heat of the tea without affecting the tea flavor you’ve worked so hard to perfect.
Can You Reuse Tea Leaves?
How you reuse your tea also depends on the type of tea.
- If you have black tea, it will be at its strongest when you first infuse the tea. If you infuse the tea more than once, you’re likely to get a less flavorful cup out of it.
- When it comes to other types of tea, such as white, green, and oolong, you can infuse them a second or even third time. However, you can’t always expect the tea to taste exactly the same way that it did after it was first infused. An example can be seen with oolong tea. Since it has a complex flavor, the taste of it will change quite a bit after being infused a second or third time. That doesn’t mean it won’t taste nice, but it might not be to your preferences.
Your Brain Plays A Part In The Perfect Cuppa
While you might follow all the steps to making a tasty cup of tea, here’s an interesting thing to bear in mind: how your brain perceives the cup or mug you’re using to drink tea can play a part in how the tea tastes. Do what does your brain have to do with the art of preparing tea?
If you drink tea out of a red or pink mug, it will taste sweeter. If you drink tea out of a blue or white mug, it will taste salty.
This is what Dr. Stuart Farrimond, an expert in the science of making tea, has reported, via The Independent.
What About Making A Cold Brew?
During the summertime, you might want to enjoy a refreshing cold cup of tea instead of a hot one. The art of preparing tea can mean a lot of things for different people, and hot beverages are not always a go to.
If so, then you need to brew your tea leaves a little differently.
When choosing the number of tea leaves to make in a cold brew, you should opt for about 1.5 times more leaves than the quantity you’d use to make a hot brew.
A good way to make a cold brew of tea is to put your tea leaves into a jar and pour cold water over them. Let it steep for a few hours.
White, oolong and green teas should be steeped for shorter times than black tea or fruity tea that can be steeped for longer.
Cookie and Kate report that green or white tea should be steeped for six to eight hours, while black or oolong tea should be steeped for eight to 12 hours.
Should you make tea in the microwave?
This isn’t recommended because the increase in temperature happens too quickly and this can cause your tea to lack flavor or taste bitter.
What teas go well with milk?
It’s really a matter of preference, but it’s said that milk works well with classic black teas, of which Ceylon is an example.
To prevent putting in too much milk into your tea, use full-cream milk so you will use less of it.
You might love drinking tea on a daily basis, but if you’re rushing through the process of making tea you might be missing out on the chance to enjoy a perfect cuppa every single time. Have you tried partaking in the art of preparing tea?
In this article, we’ve looked at some of the best methods concerning how to prepare tea, whether you enjoy green, black, or white tea.
We’ve also looked at important factors to help you make delicious tea, such as how long to steep different teas as well as what the best water temperature is to make your cup of tea as tasty as possible.