How to Brew and Steep Tea

Preparing a great cup of tea is an art in itself. It is guided and determined by a lot of elements, the three most important being:

Tea Leaf

Quality - original handcrafting of tea leaves & freshness matter

Quantity - in proportion to the amount of water used

The Water

Quality - use cold neutral pH Bottled Water

Quantity - in proportion to the amount of tea used

The Steep

Vessel - ceramic is best, glass is great, metal can lend an unwanted flavour

Time - key to getting the perfect balance in flavour and tannins (beneficial compounds found in tea)

There are some basic things that you should keep in mind about tea. First, you have to realize that there are different types of tea, some of the most popular ones being black tea, green tea, Oolong, white tea, red tea and yellow tea. Each of these types should be handled differently in terms of the temperatures of water, different steeping times, and different amounts of the tea itself.

Water quality is determines the nature of the tea. Green and white teas taste better with lower water temperatures. They are fragile and in the event that you put bubbling water on them, the completed glass will appear like overcooked vegetables as opposed to a rich sweet, dynamic drink. Dark teas taste better with higher water temperatures that helps to draw out the coveted tannins from the tea. If the water is not sufficiently hot, the tea may taste feeble and ailing top to bottom.

Soaking tea is entirely straightforward. You should simply pour some water over some tea leaves. But you must follow these rules:

Always use cold, fresh water for boiling. Do not re-boil old water.

Pour the water over the tea directly into the cup. Not the other way around.

Always cover the glass with something (e.g. a little plate or a saucer) for the whole time of soaking. When soaking is done, expel the leaves promptly. If you are using tea in teabags, do not squeeze the teabags after the steeping is done.

Don't give the tea a chance to chill off, drink it while it's warm.

Steeping details for each type of tea

Black tea (CTC): 2.5 gms per cup; water temperature 96C (205F); steep for 3 minutes.

Black tea (Orthodox): 3 gms/cup; water temperature 96C (205F); steep for 3 - 5 minutes.

Green tea: 3 gms/cup; temp. 65-80C (149-176F); 3 - 5minutes.

Oolong: 3 gms/cup; temp. 90C (195F); 5 - 7 minutes.

White tea: 3 gms/cup; temp. 80-85C (175-185F); 5 - 7 minutes.

Not all numbers stated above are precise because some types of tea can be steeped for various amounts of time using different temperatures of water. You can add sugar and milk, which goes best with CTC black teas. Lemon goes best with green and orthodox black teas. But add only a little.

Listen to your own palate, and find what tastes best to you. There are no hard rules of right and wrong approaches to appreciate tea. As it is a matter of individual taste.