Substance and Soul

How to brew the perfect cup of tea

Food and DrinkSamantha WetterholmComment

I mention this at least once a week - I love coffee and tea. Next to plain water, tea is my favorite beverage. I grew up drinking tea but as an adult I have really developed a taste for good quality teas. I enjoy not only the flavor of tea, but the experience of tea. You will not find me taking short cuts when it comes to tea. I’d rather just have coffee if I’m in a hurry.

Now if you are okay with microwaving your water and just tossing your bag in {cringe} then good for you. But if you are interested in brewing tea to maximize the flavor and experience, then read on. I hope you will try these techniques to really up your tea game and get the most out of your cup. 

THE EQUIPMENT. Besides the actual tea, you need some basic tools to get started. A personal pot with removable tea holder works great if you enjoy multiple cups. A small tea infuser that sits in your cup is great for an individual cup at a time. I have multiple types of infusers for whatever mood I’m in. My favorite is my perfect tea maker from Teavana. You also need a kettle for the stove or electric water boiler, a thermometer {yes, you need this}, and a timer. Air tight tea canisters are also great to have. 

THE TEA. Now if you are really serious about tea drinking, you need to go with loose leaf tea. I prefer buying small batches of tea from specialty tea stores. Specialty tea stores usually have more options and varieties and experts to help find the right tea for you. Believe me, it’s worth it to spend a few extra bucks on a small batch of good tea rather than buy a box of bags at your grocery store. I usually have good quality black and green tea on hand. With high quality tea, you can easily get 2-3 brews from your leaves. Start with a simple black or green, then venture out to the florals and flavored varieties, then you can even get creative and make your own blends!

THE METHOD. This is where the magic happens. Once you have the equipment and the quality tea, you can begin the brewing process. Always think of brewing tea as a tea triangle - the amount of tea, the brewing time, and the brewing temperature. To get the best out of your tea, each tea needs to be brewed at the specific temperature for a specific time. If you want to up the flavor or intensity, you increase the amount of tea, not the brewing time. Each tea is different and it is usually helpful to have a little cheat sheet taped to your fridge. Here are a couple things to keep in mind. NEVER pour boiling water over tea because it will burn. And ALWAYS keep a timer for your tea, if you brew it too long the tannins will make your tea bitter. Here are a few key “triangles” that Teavana puts on their tea canisters. 

TYPE; TEMPERATURE; AMOUNT; TIME {per 8 oz water}

white; 175°F/79°C; 1.5 tsp; 4-5 min

white {flavored}; 175°F/79°C; 1.5 tsp; 2 min

green; 175°F/79°C; 1 tsp; 45sec-1min

green {flavored}; 175°F/79°C; 1 tsp; 2 min

black; 195°-205°F/90°-96°C; 1 tsp; 2-3 min

herbal; 208°F/98°C; 1.5 tsp; 5-6 min

I like to drink tea straight, with lemon and honey, or with a splash of milk and a little sugar. My tea wish list includes this amazing Breville One-Touch Tea Maker, swoon.

Experiment and have fun with your tea! I hope you enjoy your next cup! 

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