“I like my tea a little too sweet.”
“My cup is incomplete without cardamom.”
“Wish I could drink some more.”
In short, some teas are something to someone in some way.
From you to us to every other tea drinker in the world, the meaning of tea changes every time when we try a new cup of tea. For some, it may be a chance to understand themselves deeply, and for others a cup of tea may slow down their world and make it better. From making it too sweet to full of milk, or pouring the milk in first or at the end, or simply – how long to brew it, we all like tea in our own different forms.
Being aware of how people may prefer teas differently, it is evident that the actual beauty of a delicious cup of tea lies in its making. Some might brew tea the way their grandmothers did or by the method used for the first cup of tea that interested them. There are some basic steps that we can all follow to make our tea better than ever.
Let’s have a look at how a few considerations can help you maximize your enjoyment of tea.
Choosing Your Tea
The first thing to determine about your tea is the kind of tea you want – green tea, white tea, black tea or oolong tea? Best way to do is to go by seasons. Like every other agricultural product, there are certain seasons more suitable than others for drinking various teas. Each tea growing region has different seasons in which it harvests tea leaves, and they cannot be plucked until the weather is suitable and the plants are fully grown. For example, producers in India and Nepal begin plucking black tea in early March (first flush) and at the end of spring, usually in May tea producers in East Asia start the production of black tea after the production of white and green tea is already complete. So, choosing your tea keeping in mind the season it is best served in, is a smart choice to make.
Choosing The Right Vessel
For those who have their sentiments attached to their lovely cup of tea, choosing the right vessel is definitely a matter of concern for them. To do so, one must keep in mind its material, size, shape and quality.
- Material: Teapots are made of many different materials but the most popular ones are glazed, metal, enameled cast iron and glass teapots. Each of these has its own advantage of steeping tea. A glazed clay teapot has thin walls that neutralize the taste and make it ideal for delicate teas. Similarly, glass teapots are preferable material for steeping delicate teas, especially green and white. Metal teapots, on the other hand, are used to make very strong tea, infused with herbs and spices. These are primarily used in North Africa and Middle East.
- Size, Shape and Quality: In our tradition, where tea is demanded by almost everyone and in a short time period, large teapots are usually considered convenient as higher volume of tea can be steeped in it. However, there are a number of benefits of a smaller teapot. It allows more control over temperature and steeping time. The number of times it is steeped, it helps you experience the change in its flavour. Talking about the shape of a teapot, the very simple value that it holds is that it defines your comfort levels while preparing it. If it’s too heavy you may have difficulty in pouring it. Also, the quality of teapot directly affects the quality of your tea. So, you must always choose a tea pot that satisfies your need for quality tea.
It is true that one can view water as just a mere ingredient, however, the value that it holds in tea making can either destroy the poetic beauty of tea or make it worth sharing. Thus, while brewing tea, we need to keep the water temperature in mind as it has the capability to affect the way it smells and tastes. There are certain guidelines that we may follow for each type of tea. For Green and White tea, the required temperature is 160 degree F to 175 degree F. For oolong, 180 degree F to 190 degree F and for Black, 195 degree F 205 degree F.
Basic Process To Brew Tea Perfectly
Regardless of whether you perform Japanese Tea ceremony or prepare the finest Chinese cup, the general process of brewing tea is more or less the same. Your cup of tea can be ready in five simple steps.
- Warming Vessels: Warming the steeping as well as the drinking vessels will make sure that the temperature does not significantly decrease when you pour the water into the brewing vessel or tea into the drinking vessel
- Adding leaves: Adding leaves to your vessel before adding water to it is an important step that we must keep in mind to maintain the flavours of tea. In doing so, one may use their hands, a spoon or anything of your choice.
- Blanching: Blanching is nothing but pouring water on your leaves and then quickly pouring it out. The process is mainly done to allow the leaves to unroll and maximize infusion. The poured out water must then be poured into the drinking water to keep them warm and make them smell like the tea being prepared.
- Steeping: Pour hot water on blanched leaves to begin the steeping process. A thing to keep in mind is that if you are steeping the leaves in a container with a top, you need to pour hot water on the outside of the vessel to keep it warm and maintain the temperature.
- Decanting: After the steeping process, pouring the tea into another container will make sure that the liquor is homogenous.
We agree that there can be several other ways to brew tea, depending upon the tradition or culture that you follow, however adding these steps to your own way of making tea will undoubtedly make it better.
Honest note: We’re always excited to discover new ways of making teas delicious. If you have your own crazy formula – share with us. We won’t mind writing a story on your recipe, and sharing it with friends and family.
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