If you are just starting to explore loose leaf tea, brewing might seem very difficult. Indeed, there are dozens of different ways to prepare the perfect cup. Every type of tea requires different temperature, different amount of leaves, and even a different type of water. We prepared a list of 5 most common mistakes in brewing tea and how to avoid them.
Water is the most important factor in brewing tea. The most common mistake is using regular tap water that is too hard for gentle tea leaves. Only some teas can handle hard water – stronger and bolder Indian or African teas, especially those with smaller particles. Green, White, Oolong and Chinese black teas generally require soft water. Distilled water should never be used for brewing as well. Fruit and herbal teas will taste better when brewed with soft water as well.
One teaspoon of leaves just won’t be enough for some types. One teaspoon of broken, heavier black tea leaves will weigh more than one teaspoon of lighter bigger and unbroken leaves. Bigger leaves will give a weaker infusion. Generally, use less leaves if they are broken and smaller, and more if they are bigger and unbroken. Use small teapots and always cover the full bottom with tea leaves.
Never over-brew your tea. Black tea should be brewed for up to 5 minutes, but try using shorter 1-2 steep time first. Japanese green teas like Sencha should be infused for up to 1 minute, and only for a few seconds for the second infusion. When brewing a new type of tea, start with shorter steeping time.
Every tea is different. Keep the water temperature below 80 degrees for green teas. Japanese teas give much better infusion with cooler water. Most oolong teas can be brewed with 90 degrees, and black teas will require anything from 80-100 degrees. If unsure, it’s always better to use lower temperature and steep it a bit longer.
If you are using low quality or old leaves, tea will always taste bad – no matter how careful you are when brewing it. Keep you tea pouches carefully sealed and all tins closed and away from any source of humidity, light or heat.
Brewing a perfect cup of tea is more than just pouring hot water over random leaves. Allow yourself to experiment with every new type. If you enjoy the process of brewing loose tea and pay attention to every detail, the effort will always pay off.Tags: black tea, brewing, green tea, oolong tea, sencha, white tea