How to brew the perfect cup of tea!
There is no one right answer.
One of the most personally satisfying aspects of my tea business is empowering people to take charge of their own health. One key is listening to your body. That includes listening to what your body is saying every time you brew a cup of tea. How much you enjoy that cup of tea will be directly proportional to how well it meets the needs your body is expressing right then. Make sense?
The best I can do is provide some basic guidelines to get you started and strongly encourage you to experiment from there. Please don’t let some self-appointed tea snob tell you are doing it wrong. If you like it, then it’s right for you. If you don’t like it (and you’re confident you’ve bought a high quality tea) then go back to the basic guidelines and play with the recipe until you find your perfect brew.
Fundamentally, there are just three things to think about. I call them the three Ts; Tea, Time and Temperature.
Tea: Of course, start with the best quality tea. This is not an area where you should or need to skimp. Good quality tea leaves can be reused at least 3 times. We sell some teas that can be reused up to 8 times! If you drink tea several times a day that makes buying great quality tea a money-saver not an indulgence.
The quantity of tea that you use will help determine the strength of your tea. As a general rule you should use about 2 grams ( 0.07 oz) per 8 ounce cup of tea. Teas vary greatly in density so 2 grams of one dried tea might be 1 tablespoon and 2 grams of another might be just ½ a teaspoon. Nobody wants to run around with a scale weighing every spoon of tea but it's worth doing once for each new tea you try, to get an idea. For most teas, 2 grams is between ½ and 1 tsp of dry leaves.
More tea equals a stronger brew. It’s that simple.
(You should also use the purest water you can. Water quality makes a big difference too but it didn’t fit into my 3-T’s memory scheme :) )
Time: The longer the time, the stronger the brew. How long you should brew is dictated by your personal preferences and the degree of oxidation of the tea. White teas and most herbs have no oxidation. Black teas are fully oxidized and green teas and oolongs fall somewhere in between. The greater the oxidation the longer the brewing time. Check out this blog post to read more about the different types of tea, Find Your Cup Of Tea. The following graph provides a rough guideline for brewing time vs. oxidation.
Temperature: Temperature is quite similar to the time. The higher the temperature you brew the leaves at, the stronger the resulting infusion will be. Highly oxidized teas should be brewed at a higher temperature (near boiling). White teas or herbal teas require a much lower temperature or they over-brew causing bitterness.
It’s a hassle measuring the water temperature very time. The easiest solution is a teakettle with a built in (and accurate) thermometer. Failing that, you can judge the water temperature by observing the water. Read more about that here; The Eyes Have It.
The graph below is a general guide for the correct brewing temperature for the different types of tea.
I hope that was helpful. Remember these guidelines are meant as a jumping off place. Play with it. Tea brewing is art not science. Listen to your body and your taste buds and trust yourself to find your own perfect brew.