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How to Properly Brew Tea


How to Properly Brew Tea

Courtesy of Annaliese Keller:

Brewing tea does not require special equipment. You may use a saucepan, a lovely porcelain teapot, or a simple clay teapot. Do NOT use mesh ball infusers or “spoon” infusers. Tea brews best in water with the leaves freely circulating. A small, fine mesh strainer is helpful for removing leaves from the finished infusion. There are also mugs available for single cups of tea with fitted strainers that rest on the rim and can be removed after infusing.

Start with cold, filtered or bottled drinking water. Heat water to the correct temperature for the tea you are brewing (see chart below). Do NOT use boiling water for green or white teas. Boiling water will burn the leaves and create a bitter infusion. The cooler water temperature is CRITICAL for green and white tea.

Use 2 grams or 1 teaspoon* of tea leaves per 6 ounces of water.
*Exception: white tea leaves are much less dense and compact than other types. If you’re not weighing the tea, use 2 teaspoons of white tea leaves.

Add water to tea leaves and steep tea according to the chart below.
Please note that these are general guidelines. The amount of steeping or infusion time will determine its strength. Experiment infusing different teas at varying strengths until you discover what you enjoy best.

  White Tea          160 – 170 degrees F            1 – 3 minutes
  Green Tea          180 degrees F                    2 – 6 minutes
  Oolong Tea        190 degrees F                   1 – 8 minutes
  Black Tea            Boiling                             3 – 4 minutes
  Herbal (tisanes)    Boiling                             5 – 7 minutes

Generally, black teas can be infused only once. Green, white and oolong tea leaves may be infused up to three or four times, or until flavor is exhausted. Increase the infusion times by two to three minutes for each subsequent brewing. Oolongs will exhibit very different characteristics with each infusion, with the second and third cup considered much better than the first!

Patricia Rain
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