If you’ve ever watched tea enthusiasts and Uncle Iroh from Avatar: The Last Airbender make tea, you would know that it takes more than just pouring hot water over a tea bag to brew excellent tea. As simple as making a cup of tea may seem, there are some things you have to mind when brewing your favorite drink. Make sure that you have everything you need and check out our selection of tea accessories available online here in the Philippines.
Say goodbye to lacklustre brews and learn how to make a perfect cup of tea every single time with our guide to brewing tea!
How to Make A Cup of Tea Correctly
Brewing the perfect cup of tea starts by knowing what you’ll be using--tea bags or tea leaves. While both require some considerations, it’s especially important to measure things out when working with tea leaves.
Before we go into the actual brewing process, here are some things to remember when making a cup of tea:
When you think of how to properly make your tea, perhaps the last thing on your mind is water. After all, all you need is hot water right? Well, not exactly.
Here are three things you need to take note of about the water you use for your tea:
Get the right temperature. Oftentimes, when preparing tea, people tend to just pour boiling water over the tea bags or tea leaves. This actually scalds your tea and won’t help make your tea last longer as the temperature will just drop faster. Instead of directly pouring boiling water on your tea bag or loose leaves, warm your teapot or mugs first. Dump the hot water once your teapot or mug is warm.
Use freshly boiled water. When brewing tea, only use freshly boiled water. Boiling only once keeps the oxygen level up. The increased oxygen levels in the water helps enhance the flavor. Don’t directly pour boiling water on your tea as well! Wait a few moments until the water settles into the right temperature for brewing. This will vary, depending on the brew and whether you’re using tea bags or loose leaves. Always check accordingly so you get your perfect cup of tea each time!
Be mindful of the kind of water you use. Aside from the temperature, you should also be mindful of the kind of water you’re using. While tap water is acceptable, additives such as chlorine and fluoride can upset the balance of flavors. If you want to make a well-balanced and flavorful cup of tea, then your best option is to use filtered water.
A common question tea lovers usually ask is how much tea bags or tea leaves should they add to this brew. Getting the proper portions is important when preparing a cup of tea, especially if you’re using loose leaf tea.
Check your brew’s label for the recommended measurements and adjust accordingly to fit your tastes. Generally, however, tea drinkers add one tea bag or one teaspoon of loose leaves to 220 mL of water when brewing.
If you want a stronger brew, you can definitely add more to your brew! Start small so you don’t make the flavor too overwhelming. Add another teabag or about half a teaspoon to increase your brew’s flavor.
Perhaps one of the most important things to remember when making a cup of tea is the brewing time. Making the perfect cup of tea takes some time, so be mindful of how long you should be brewing your tea bags and loose leaf tea.
In general, these are the brewing times for some of the most common tea types:
- White Tea: 2-3 minutes
- Green Tea: 2-3 minutes
- Oolong Tea: 2-4 minutes
- Black Tea: 3-5 minutes
- Infusions: 3-7 minutes
Note that these brewing times will vary depending on what you’re using, so always make sure to check your tea’s brewing instructions.
Sometimes, you won’t get the boldest flavors if you’re using the wrong brewing tools. Make sure that you're using the right instruments to brew your tea to get the best results.
How to Brew Tea Using Loose Leaf Teas
Loose leaf teas have become increasingly popular over the years. The biggest difference between pre-packaged teas and loose leaf teas is that the latter doesn’t come crushed and pre-packaged in tea bags. This allows loose leaf teas to have a stronger aroma and flavor than the pre-packaged variants. Loose leaf teas can also be re-steeped, making it an eco-friendly option for tea lovers.
There are many ways to prepare loose leaf tea. You may use a french press, diffuser, or a teapot. Whatever method you choose, make sure to properly measure out the amount of tea leaves you brew and never use boiling water as it may scald the leaves.
If you’re asking how to make a cup of tea with loose leaf tea, here’s one method you can do using a teapot:
- Boil water and pour the hot water on the teapot. Once the teapot has been warmed, dump the water.
- Put a filter on the teapot to help you strain the tea leaves. Place the leaves on the filter and pour the water over it. Make sure to take note of how much tea leaves you put to optimize the flavor.
- Wait for your tea to properly brew. Check the label for the recommended brewing time. Do not go over this time as it will make your tea more bitter!
- Once your tea is done brewing, simply remove the filter and pour your drink over your favorite mug. Enjoy your perfectly brewed cup of tea!
How to Make A Delicious Cup of Tea with Tea Bags
Tea bags may get a bad reputation for not being as flavorful or aromatic as loose leaf teas, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create a great cup of tea with it!
One of the biggest advantages that pre-packaged teas have is the convenience they give drinkers. You usually don’t have to worry about measuring stuff out and you can easily steep tea bags in your favorite mug if you’re looking to drink just one cup.
The main thing to remember about pre-packaged teas is that you should follow the recommended brewing time. While it’s tempting to over steep your teabags to bring out more flavor, don’t do so! What you’ll end up with is a bitter brew that won’t satisfy you.
If you’re trying to find a way to maximize pre-packaged teas, then you can try these simple steps:
- Boil water and warm your mug or teapot. Similar to the preparation process of loose leaf teas, it’s important to make sure that your containers won’t rapidly drop temperature.
- Check your tea for the correct brewing time and amount of water.
- Pour the water over your teabags. If you want to have a stronger flavor, add one more bag to your brew.
- Let steep and remove the teabags once you reach the brewing time.
Since all you have to do is pour water and wait, using teabags is a good and convenient way to save time. Preparation doesn’t take too much effort, just remember to pay attention to the brewing times!
Customizing Your Cup of Tea
Sometimes, just tea doesn’t quite catch the flavor you’re looking for. Customize your drinks with milk, sugar, honey, or even lemon juice! These add a different flavor that can greatly enhance the flavor of your chosen tea.
Although you have the freedom to choose whatever add ons you wish, here’s a general reminder to help you mix and match accordingly:
- For darker teas, like oolong and black tea: Try adding a splash of milk to give your tea something creamy.
- For lighter teas such as white, herbal, or green teas: Stick to honey or natural sweeteners to enhance their flavors. Avoid milk, since it doesn’t really mesh well with these teas’ natural flavors.
- For all kinds of teas: Generally, sugar and honey are accepted sweeteners for tea. Avoid using creamers as they are formulated for coffee instead of tea.
How to Find the Perfect Brew for Your Tea
The perfect cup of tea varies for everyone. Light tea, black tea, with milk and sugar, or just plain--it’s really up to you! Whichever way you prefer to take your tea, it all boils down to how you prepare your tea!
Tea preparation isn’t at all complicated, you just have to remember a few simple things. Be mindful of your water temperature, brewing times, and measurements when preparing your tea. As long as you have these in mind, you’re sure to have the perfect brew every time!