How To Brew Perfect Tea . . . Tea Travels!™
Article and Photo by Ellen Easton ©2020 – All Rights Reserved
Brewing for Hot Tea:
Preheat a teapot or hot the pot by rinsing it out with hot water. By insulating the teapot, it keeps the tea hot during the brewing process. Bring the fresh cold water to a full rolling boil. Remove from the heat quickly as to not allow the oxygen to escape from the water. Water that has been reheated gives tea a flat taste. Only boiling water can extract the full flavor and benefit from the leaves.
Use one teaspoonful of tea or one tea bag per cup (about 5 or 6 ounces) of water. Pour boiling water over the tea.
Steep for 3, 5, 7 or 10 minutes or the recommended brewing time as per the instructions of your blend. Do not judge the strength of your tea by its color. It takes time for the leaves to unfold and release their flavor. If you prefer your tea stronger, do not steep longer as it will only turn the tea bitter; simply add more leaves before brewing. If you prefer your tea less strong, add hot water after the brewing period. Tea must be brewed to the full time to extract the complex flavors from the leaves.
As to not burn the leaves on delicate white and green teas allow the water to cool before pouring over the leaves.
Always decant the tea before serving to prevent the leaves from stewing in the pot.
Brewing for Iced Tea:
Follow the same rules as for hot tea, but use 50% more tea to allow for melting ice cubes.
Tea may be frozen in ice cube trays and used for iced tea. Tea cubes, when made from the same blend of tea, help to keep the tea from diluting
Allow the tea to cool. Pour over ice into a tall glass. Garnish as desired.
Water Temperature Guideline for Brewing Tea:
Remember good tea begins with good water.
The temperature of the water does not have to be exact to brew a good cup of tea. Do not use boiling water for green or white teas, as the leaves will burn, creating a bitter taste.
An easy way to estimate the water temperature is to bring the water to a boil, allow the water to cool down before pouring over the leaves. Wait approximately 30 seconds for white tea and 60 seconds for green tea before pouring over the leaves.
To visualize the heated water temperatures suitable for white and green teas, the water will have small “crab eye” bubbles on the surface edges, oolong teas will have “fish eye” bubbles across the entire surface and the black teas, herbals and infusions will have “old man’s water” a full, rolling boil.
It is always best to brew the first pot according to the instructions given for each individual blend. Thereafter, you can adjust according to your personal taste.
|Tea / Infusions||Water Temperature||Steep Time|
|Green Tea||150 to 160 degrees F.||1 to 3 minutes|
|White Tea||180 degrees F.||4 to 8 minutes|
|Oolong||190 degrees F||1 to 8 minutes|
|Black Tea||Rolling boil||3 to 10 minutes|
|Herbal (tisanes), Rooibos||Rolling Boil||5 to 10 minutes|
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Ellen Easton, author of Afternoon Tea~Tips, Terms and Traditions (RED WAGON PRESS), a lifestyle and etiquette industry leader, keynote speaker and product spokesperson, is a hospitality, design, and retail consultant whose clients have included The Waldorf=Astoria and Plaza Hotels. Easton’s family traces their tea roots to the early 1800s, when ancestors first introduced tea plants from India and China to the Colony of Ceylon, thus building one of the largest and best cultivated teas estates on the island.
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One Response to “How To Brew Perfect Tea”
Very informative article. Thank you.