These steps will show you how to make the perfect cup of tea, every time.
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Step 1: Choose Your Brewing Vessel
Pick the vessel you would like to brew your tea in. Consider the number of people who will be drinking tea. If it is just you, a cup is fine, if it is for a group of people, use a pot with a strainer.
Step 2: Warm Your Teaware
Warm the cup or pot with hot water. Heating up the teaware helps resist cracking of glass or ceramic, and helps to keep the tea hotter longer.
Step 3: Disgard the Hot Water
Pour out the hot water used to warm the teaware.
Step 4: Get Your Tea Ready
Put your loose tea into the strainer, and place it into the cup. You should use about a tea spoon of tea per 8 oz of water.
Step 5: Get Your Water to Your Desired Temperature
Get the water to the desired temperature. Different teas need different water temperature to produce the best flavor. Usually, lighter teas need cooler water. Water that is too hot can burn the leaves and this will make the tea bitter. Here are the temperatures, in degrees Fahrenheit, that I recommend for different kinds of teas.
White tea: 165
Green tea: 170-175
Oolong tea: 185
Black tea: 195
herbal tea: 212
Step 6: Wash Your Tea Leaves
This step is optional, and is meant for higher quality, imported teas that have no added spices, fruit pieces, or flavorings. Pour the water over the leaves and let it sit for 30-40 seconds, then discard the water. This makes the leaves start to open up from how they were withered and shipped, and gets them ready to release the tannins and all their flavor.
tip: after washing the leaves and discarding the hot water, don’t cover the leaves completely. Covering the leaves can trap steam into the cup, and this steam can burn the leaves and make the tea bitter.
Step 7: Steep Your Tea
Pour the hot water over the leaves to fill the cup or pot. Steep the tea for the desired amount of time. Much like how different teas need different water temperatures, different teas need to be steeped for different amounts of time. Here are my recommendations.
White tea: 2 min
Green tea: 2 min
Oolong tea: 3 min
Black tea: 3 min
Herbal tea: 5-6 minutes.
Step 8: Remove the Strainer
Remove the strainer from the cup and set it in a saucer. Your tea is now ready.
If desired, add sugar and or cream!
Step 9: Re-steep Your Tea
This step is also optional, and more apt to higher quality teas that don’t have any added spices or fruit pieces. You can pour more hot water onto the tea to make additional servings. The higher quality the tea is, the more times you can re-steep the leaves.
Step 10: Exceptions to the Rules
Tip: There will always be exceptions to these times and water temperatures. For example, Silver Needle is a famous white tea that should be steeped for 4 minutes. If your tea seems too light, let it steep for a little while longer. You will learn what teas you like to steep for shorter or longer, or at higher or lower temperatures.