Never underestimate the comfort of a perfect cup of tea. A cup of tea can do wonders whether you’re stuck at home on a rainy day, cuddled in bed for a good book, or simply setting your mood to start working. This aromatic beverage is the most widely consumed beverage in the world next to water.
Making a cup of tea is actually an art to enjoy itself if you know the basics. The traditional method of preparing tea is placing loose tea leaves in a tea pot or tea cup. Nowadays, tea leaves are conveniently packed in tea bags but the art of steeping is still alive. Here are the fundamental steps to make your perfect cup of tea.
Choose your Teaware
Teaware is an important but mostly overlooked part of tea making. Glass teapots are perfect for blooming tea flowers, however, they have less-than-ideal heat retention. This requires a delicate touch when handling. The most popular teapots are ceramic ones as they have the highest heat retention compared to others. They don’t absorb the tea flavors so you can brew all types of tea. Porcelain teapots are popular due to their wide variety of designs but has poor heat retention. Avoid making black tea in porcelain teapots. Clay teapots are popular in China. These pots have the tendency to absorb flavors so making different types of tea is not recommended. But with repeated use, the clay teapots enhances the flavor of your choice of tea.
Prepare your Water
The temperature of water can ruin a tea. It is recommended that one boils cold water due to food safety and water consistency. Cold water is able to hold more dissolved oxygen to help in steeping your tea leaves. Choose between boiling your water using a stove or a kettle. It is not advisable to heat your water through a microwave.
The proper way of pouring your water is over the tea directly in the teacup or teapot. Do not squeeze or swirl the teabags once water is poured.
Steep your Tea
The most crucial part of making your cup of tea is steeping. Always cover the cup or pot while steeping your tea. Steeping times vary per type of tea. The general rule of thumb is at least three minutes for any of the tea variety. White tea is best steeped for 7-9 minutes. Green tea is steeped for 3-4 minutes similar to black tea. Oolong and red tea must be steeped between 3-6 minutes. Do not forget to remove the leaves or tea bags after steeping to avoid ruining the flavor. Remember that changing the strength of flavor depends on the amount of tea leaves used rather than the length of steeping. Water temperature also varies depending on your tea variant.
Personalize your Flavor
Tea drinkers have difference preference over their teas. Milk in tea was first mentioned in 1680 by Madame de Sevigne in Europe. Most tea drinkers are familiar with drinking tea with milk especially where there is an abundance of dairy products. Milk is added to reduce acidity of the tea. Milk generally goes best with classic black teas such as Assam. Ceylon or traditional English Breakfast. Never pour milk before tea as it will result to less flavor and color. Some countries serve their tea with lemon juice while Tibetans tend to mix yak butter and salt in their tea.
Whatever the tea preference, a good cup of tea can be uplifting. It may sound like a complicated art but just following the fundamentals would give you one, hot, flavorful cup of tea.