Brewing your best "cuppa"

Author: Directors of Tea Leaves  Date Posted:1 May 2019 

Every type, anytime!
 

Five rules

Brewing is the most important step in your enjoyment of tea; known to many as steeping. After you select your tea, there are five golden rules for preparing a delicious cup of hot tea

  1. use a teapot with
    • an infuser, or
    • a strainer for best results
  2. boil fresh, cold tap water; use filtered water if tap water is
    • heavily chlorinated
    • containts objectionable odours
  3. add one teaspoon (2g) or a tea bag per cup to the teapot
    • use more for stonger flavour
    • use less for lighter flavour
  4. pour heated or boiling water over the leaves; generally
    • use heated water for large, green or delicate leaves 
    • use boiling water for black and pu-erh
  5. time the brew by the clock 1 to 3 mins and serve
    • shorter times give more nuanced flavours
    • longer times give stronger flavours

 

Experimenting

Try experimenting, using the guide notes below as a starting point. 

Example 1:  If your green tea leaves tastes bitter or unpalatable try lower temperatures and brewing times to improve the taste. If your green tea still tastes unpalatable try adding Honey or Hibiscus to the brew.

Refer our Blog

TEArecipes Enhance green TEA taste

Example 2:  Black tea variations range between high-grade, large loose leaf (SFTGFOP 1) to fannings grade (CTC) fine cut or broken leaf grades. Normally, low-grades teas will brew faster than high-grade teas

 

Temperature

Boiling water is necessary to brew black and pu-erh tea leaves.

However, boiling water will scorch and ruin the flavour of green, white, oolong and artisan teas. Here are several methods to cool the boiled water

  • allow the boiled water to stand for 5 minutes before brewing
  • pour boiled water into the teapot and drinking cups to preheat and reuse for brewing (best practice)
  • add cold water and use a thermometer.

 

Variables

When a huge range of different types of dry tea leaves immerse in water and rehydrate, they will all transfer different concerntrations of soluable compounds to the hot water.

While all teas share the same soluable compounds, their concerntration varies, depending on the combination of leaf growing conditions due to altitude, topography, climate, soil conditions, temperature, sunshine, harvesting and processing; producing an immense variety of tea tastes. 

 

Welcome to our world!

 

White tea -  Pai Mu Tan

Temperature range   85°C - 95°C

Brewing time             60-120 sec

 

White tea - China - Jasmine Pearls

Temperature range   85°C - 95°C

Brewing time             60-120 sec

 

Green tea pan fried - China - Dragonwell 

Temperature range    70°C - 85°C

Brewing time              30-90 secs

 

Green tea  steamed - Japan or China Sencha

Temperature range    60°C - 70°C

Brewing time              30-90 secs

 

Green Tea - powdered leaf - Japan - Matcha

Matcha is not brewed in the normal way.

Instead it is vigorously whisked into suspension with the hot water. This is done traditionally with a bamboo whisk called a chasen in a bowl called a chawan. Battery powered whisks are also used. Typically, matcha powdered is measured with a special bamboo scoop called a chashaku; one gram per scoop.

Measure two scoops into 70-80ml of water at 80°C - 85°C and whisk briskly.

Temperature range    80°C - 85°C

 

Green Tea - with rice - Japan - Genmaicha

Temperature range    60°C - 70°C

Brewing time              30-90 secs

 

Oolong tea  - Tie Kuan Yin - Iron Goddess

Temperature range   85°C - 95°C

Brewing time             30-120 secs

 

Black tea  - India - Darjeeling Castleton 2nd flush

Temperature range   90°C - 100°C

Brewing time             60-120 secs

 

Black tea  - India - Assam

Temperature range   90°C - 100°C

Brewing time             60-120 secs

 

Black tea  - Sri Lanka - Nuwara Eliya region

Temperature range   90°C - 100°C

Brewing time             60-120 secs

 

Fermented tea -  China - Yunnan Pu-erh Leaf

Temperature range   95°C - 100°C

Brewing time             30-90 secs

 

Multiple brews (re-steeping)

The secret to your maximum enjoyment of those expensive specialty leaves is multiple brews.

As the leaves begin to rehydrate in the water and transfer those soluable compounds to the tea infusion, the taste, colour, body and aroma characteristics all transfer to the hot water, until the eqilibrium is reached.

However, if the first brew is served and the leaves drained before equilibrium, the leaves can be brewed again and again in hot water.

This process will yield one, two or maybe three brews; in the instance of a quality white tea like Buddhas Tears (Jasmine Pearls) or a quality compressed Pu-erh tea brick, three or more multiple brews are possible.

Here is my favourite multiple brew method for a single serve. Try experimenting with quantities of tea, water and times, to find the recipe to suit your palate

  • Slightly increase the amount of tea you use

  • Add 70-80ml hot water for the first brew and serve after 30-60 secs  

  • Add another 70-80ml hot water for the second brew and serve after 60-90 secs

  • Add another 70-80ml hot water for the third brew and serve after 1-2 mins

Multiple brews will give you snapshot tastes; they accentuate nuances in the tea that may become muffled or lost, during longer infusions.

Reminder: Once more, the key is to experiment;

  • keep adding water and enjoy the tea until the flavour fades.
  • increase tea quantity and extend the brewing time to increase the flavour.

 

Refreshing Iced Tea

For small quantities, proceed as for hot tea and pour over ice.

For large quantities, prepare concentrate as follows:

  • Bring one quart of cold water to a roiling boil.
  • Remove from heat and add 8-10 teabags per quart of brewed tea as desired.
  • Steep 3-5 minutes and pour over remaining cold water or ice cubes.
  • To serve, pour into tall glasses filled with ice, garnish or sweeten as desired.

 

 


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