Tea time is easily the best time (or times … I’m guilty) of the day, but are you brewing it right?
It seems easy – just pour the water over the leaves and let it steep – but no! It all boils down to leaf packaging, temperature and time.
#1 Loose Leaf vs Bagged
Before you start brewing anything, it pays to know WHAT you are brewing.
- Loose leaf: Loose leaf tea is always better quality, as bagged tea is usually the left-overs from loose leaf. You will need to measure how much tea is required, but generally one heaped teaspoon per person is fine. Brewing in a ceramic teapot is best.
- Bagged: Bagged tea is often stored for longer, and therefore can be stale. The leaves can also be damaged during bagging. Damaged leaves lose some of their essential oils, leading to less aroma and flavour. Pyramid teabags are best for brewing as they allow the leaves more room to unfurl and infuse.
Bagged tea leaves are convenient time-wise. There is less maintenance required i.e. no cleaning teapots or spilt tea leaves, and they get the job done. However, for the most rewarding tea experience, you cannot go past loose leaves.
‘Temperature matters … water you saying?’ you ask.
Well sit down, because you are about to be schooled.
Different teas brew at different temperatures, and these can affect whether you burn the leaves or get maximum infusion.
- 90-100 degrees: Boiling water is best for black, oolong, rooibos and herbal teas. The flavour in these teas in brought out by the heat, and, especially for black leaves, cooler water will result in a weaker tea.
- 60-80 degrees: This temperature works wonders for green and white teas. These varieties are less processed – think soft flavours and delicate leaves which are easily burned. Burning the leaves creates bitterness and destroys the gentleness of the tea. In general, green teas are suited to 70-80 degrees, and white teas slightly below that.
Before you place the tea leaves in the teapot, swish some warm water around the pot to warm it up.
#3 Steeping Time
- 1-2 minutes: Similarly, that bitter green tea could have been brewing all nice and cosy for too long. Green tea should be brewed for about 1-2 minutes, or around 80 seconds. White tea goes by the same rule, although the longer you brew the less subtle the flavour will be. A good rule of thumb is to continually taste your tea while it’s brewing, to estimate the optimal brewing time.
- 2-3 minutes: Oolong, rooibos and black teas are best brewed for 2-3 minutes, with oolong on the shorter side of that. This allows the flavours to become richer and really infuse the water.
- 3-5 minutes: Herbal teas need time to fully infuse, as they do not contain actual tea leaves.
Following these tips will get you brewing your best brew in no time! Tea time is an experience, and if it leaves you feeling warm yet refreshed, then congratulations, you’ve done it right.
Comment below and let us know your best brewing tips!
Happy sipping, Bridget xx