Preparing tea is an exercise in simplicity, nothing but boiling water, pouring it over the leaves, waiting for a while and then serving. However true this statement is, there are hundreds of teas on the market that need attention and knowledge in their preparation. Making a delicious cup of tea is a play of tea leaves, the amount of water used, water temperature, the time of infusion, and the vessel the tea is brewed in. Our tea brewing guide covers every green tea to white tea, black tea and herbal infusions.
The following instructions are our key tips on tea brewing:
1. Bring freshly drawn, cold water to a boil in a kettle.
2. When water is at a gentle boil, remove heat.
3. Pour hot water into teapot and teacups and pour off. By warming the cups, the water temperature will be more consistent.
4. Add the proper amount of tea leaves per person to the pot.
5. Allow water to cool to the proper temperature, if necessary, and pour over the tea leaves.
6. Steep for the proper length of time.
7. Strain completely into another teapot or directly into the serving cups.
If you want to learn about the art of tea, there are now many online resources including whole eBooks. My personal favorite is The Art and Craft of tea by Joseph Wesley Uhl. This book taught me a lot about green tea to include the craze matcha green tea.
Steep for the Proper Length of Time
The time it takes for tea to brew depends on the leaf size. The smaller the leaf, the faster the tea infuses. Until familiar with a particular tea, steep for a minute or two, then taste. Pay attention to the taste rather than the color. When the tea tastes right, serve or pour off all the liquid to avoid oversteeping. Here are some general guidelines:
See chart below for more information:
|White||2-3 tsps||3 minutes||176° – 185° F||Glass, porcelain|
Chinese (Pan Fired)
|158° – 176° F
176° – 185° F
|185° – 203° F
|PU-ERH (FERMENTED)||1-2 tsps||3 mins||212° F||Yixing|
|TISANES/HERBAL||1-2 tsps||3 minutes||212° F||Glass, porcelain|
Brew (steep) the tea for the correct time, the suggested times in the table above are only a starting point. Once you become familiar with the different teas you like you will be able to adjust the steeping time to your taste.
Some believe that tea made from second or third infusions can taste even better and/or different. If you follow these guidelines when you start out you should end up with a very enjoyable cup of tea.