culinary review

How To Brew Tea

Last Modified: 10/26/07
First Published: 10/26/07
Views: 4397
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Views: 4397

There are a few things to think about when you want to brew a perfect cup of tea. The quality of the tea and the water matters as well as the brewing method and the brewing time.

Tea Quality

When you look at loose tea, whether it's black, green or oolong, you want to look at the size of the leaves. If the leaves seem intact and in good shape, the quality of the tea is probably higher. If on the other hand, your tea is cut very finely, or more “crumbly” the quality isn't as great.


Water Quality
The quality of your water does of course matter. Preferably use filtered or bottled water. If you're using tap water, then let the water run for a few seconds to make sure the water is fresh.

Heating Water

When you heat water for tea, you want to make sure you remove the water from the heat, just at the point when little bubbles start to form. According to an old Chinese saying, heat the water until bubbles reach the size of goldfish eyes. If you overheat the water, the tea leaves can't react as well with the water and it can result in a flat taste.

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Amount of Tea
If you are using loose tea, then you will need approximately 1 teaspoon per cup. Remember, the more tea you add, the stronger the final tea will be.

Brewing Time
The brewing time will differ depending on what kind of tea you're using, as well as the size of the leaves (larger leaves may require longer steeping time). Black tea usually needs to brew for 3-4 minutes while green tea only requires 2-3 minutes. How strong you like your tea is of course a matter of taste. However, the longer you brew your tea, the more bitter it will become.


Brewing Method
There are a few different methods one can utilize to brew tea. You could either use a pot if you want to brew a greater amount. If you want to brew individual cups then you could either use a tea strainer or a round “tea ball.” We prefer using a tea pot with a straining basket. We particularly like Bodum's glass tea pot which has a straining mechanism that you pull down once your tea is done brewing.

If you are using a ceramic tea pot, then make sure to add some hot water to the pot to warm it up. Then discard the water, add the tea and the fresh hot water.

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