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We're particular about how we brew our teas, as are most tea enthusiasts. And for each tea enthusiast there is a favored way to brew. This is mostly according to your particular taste.
It all starts with your TEA!!!! I know, strange right? You want to begin with a good quality tea. Your brewed concoction will only be as good as the tea you select. We use only loose leaf tea (no pre-bagged tea for us). Why? Because pre-bagged teas generally (notice I said generally, there's an exception to every rule) contain "dustings" or "fannings" rather than full leaf. The dustings and fannings are what's left after the premium leaves have been sorted out. It's the bottom of the barrel. So go with loose leaf every time.
But the tea you select is not where it ends. Let's look at the Water you're using next. There are differing opinions about this. But here's our take on the subject. We prefer DISTILLED water because it is "empty" water. Meaning, it can extract more of the tea constituents. There is nothing in the water to prevent the best infusion. No minerals, no sediment, no added chemicals, nothing. With that said, just make sure your water is not just plain old tap water. It should, at the very least, be filtered. Some people prefer spring water. Bottom line, if your water does not taste good or is of poor quality it will translate into a poor tasting cup of tea.
Next, let's look at how much tea you are using. Ideally you would weigh out your loose leaf tea. 2-3 grams per 8 oz cup of water is what you will want to use. This equals approximately 1 teaspoon. Most will use a teaspoon just because it's easier than weighing it out. Should you want a stronger infusion, use a little more (don't steep longer.....more on that later). So, 2-3 grams (1 teaspoon) per 8 oz water.
Temperature is another important factor in making the perfect cup of tea. Each type of tea should be steeped at the correct temperature. All of our teas have suggested steeping temperatures on the label. As a general rule of thumb......Black teas steep at approximately 212° F, Green teas at 175° F, White teas at 175° F, Oolong teas at 195° F, Blooming presentation teas at 212° F, and finally Herbal/Mate/Rooibos at 212° F. There are tea kettles that have these temperature settings already built in and with the press of a button you can get the correct temperature every time. We use these types of kettles in the store. It takes out the guesswork.
Timing.....it's all about the timing. If you steep your tea for too long it will become bitter. The amount of time will once again be determined by the type of tea you are brewing up. Black teas steep for 3-5 minutes, Green teas for 2-3 minutes, White teas for 2-3 minutes, Oolong for 2-3 minutes, Blooming presentation teas for 4-5 minutes, Herbal/Mate/Rooibos for 5+ minutes. We give guidelines for each of our teas. This timing is what is referred to as "Western" style tea making. More on this in another article.
So, to recap......Tea Quality + Water Quality + Tea Amount + Proper Water Temperature + Proper Steeping Time = Your Cup of Tea!!! Of course, this is the simple and quick explanation but I think you get the picture. Below is our basic Tea Brewing Guide.