How to Properly Steep Tea
You can feel the stress melt from your body as the warm amber liquid flows in.
A soothing hot beverage can indeed be one of life's most enjoyable experiences. Not too strong, not too weak, and never bitter to the taste. Although each person has their own image of the ideal cup of tea there are a few guidelines that can be followed to insure that you successfully brew your cuppa as it was truly intended to be brewed.
Creating the perfect cup does sometimes take a little trial and error but the process can be quite simple if you follow these tips on the proper way to steep a pot of tea.
1. The number one rule for a good cup of tea is to insure that you are using a good quality tea.
Irregardless of whether you prefer Black, Oolong, Herbal, or Green Tea it is very important to select a high quality grade or blend. Quality does indeed make a difference when you are seeking the perfect cup of tea.
Whenever possible select a loose leaf variety rather than a bagged one. A bagged tea will generally not have the strength of character that a loose leaf tea will bring to your beverage.
Depending on whether you prefer a strong cup of tea or a weaker one you will require one to teaspoons of loose leaf tea per each cup of water. If using a bagged variety then you will generally require one to three teabags per teapot of water.
2. To ensure the finest hot beverage always use fresh water that has not previously been boiled. Boiling water more than once can increase impurities in your beverage.
For the best tasting tea use filtered water. Using filtered water insures that the only flavor you taste is that of your tea. Your tap water may contain fluoride, chlorine, or other residual chemicals or metals which can affect the taste of your prepared beverage.
3. For Black or Herb tea it is acceptable to pour boiling water directly over your tea leaf but if you are preparing green, Oolong, or white tea, allow your water to cool just slightly before adding it to your teapot or teacup.
When brewing black or herbal tea add the water to your pot while it is boiling or just shortly after then allow to steep for anywhere from one to eight minutes before removing the spent leaf.
A longer soak time will cause your tea to become stronger but also more bitter. It is recommended that if you prefer a stronger beverage that rather than increasing the time that you steep you instead increase the amount of leaf that you use.
Your taste preferences will be the sole judge as to the amount of tea that you use and the amount of time that your leaf will be required to steep in order to create your ideal cup.
4. For brewing Green, Oolong, or White tea allow your water to cool slightly after boiling before pouring it over the leaf. Too hot a water will cause these more fragile varieties to produce a bitter and excessively strong flavor.
Simply allow your water to cool one to two minutes after boiling then add the hot water to your teapot to allow these antioxidant rich teas to gently release their full flavor and nutrients into your beverage. This will help to keep bitterness from invading.
5. Loose leaf will release flavor better than bag tea. When steeping your favorite tea allow your leaf to float in the pot rather than being contained within a ball or bag as this will insure the utmost release of flavor.
When the leaf is allowed to float freely within the teapot it best allows for the leaf to unfurl fully and to completely release its flavor into the hot water around it.
Tea balls and bags although suitable will restrict the leaf's expansion and thereby provide slightly less flavor than loose leaf.
6. A tea press is the ultimate teapot. It allows the loose leaf to fully release it's flavor while keeping it confined from the tea liquid itself. Many of these presses are available in clear glass so allow a pleasant view of your beverage as it steeps.
However it is that you prefer your tea the perfect cup is just a few minutes away when you follow a few simple guidelines. Use good quality tea and quality water each time. Also take that little extra care with your water temperature and steeping times to insure that your beverage will come out perfect every brewing. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the wonderful soothing experience that is a fine cup of tea.
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