Of course you can simply add boiling water to your tea of choice, but if you want to elevate your tea experience there are a few specific tips to consider.
Use Filtered Water
The better the water, the better your tea will taste. Use clean, purified water if possible for the most uncontaminated flavour. This will ensure your tea won’t have any unwanted taste.
Also, use fresh water each time. We’re all guilty of using the water that’s been sitting in the kettle for a few days. Making this small change is an easy first step to perfecting your brew.
Don’t Overheat Your Tea Leaves
The temperature of your water when brewing tea varies depending on the tea you’re making. Too often too many of use pour hot water over our tea leaves as soon a the kettle stops. But if your water is too hot, the tea will be too bitter and the lighter tasting notes will be lost. So once your water is boiled, let it cool before pouring over your tea leaves.
For green or more delicate teas, the perfect temperature is 80C to 85C. For black teas, aim for 95C to 98C. The easiest way is to use a thermometer or a kettle where you can set the temperature.
But if you don’t have one don’t worry, just keep this in mind:
- for green tea and infusions, let the water cool down for between 4 and 5 minutes after boiling before making your brew;
- for black teas, you’re good to pour shortly after boiling. You can let it cool down a little before using but no more than a minute.
Steeping time is very important and varies for different teas. Over steeping tea leads to a bitter taste, and no one wants that. Under steeping doesn’t allow for the full tasting notes of the tea to infuse throughout your drink. While it’s best to follow the steeping time instructions on your tea packaging, here are the steeping times for the optimal flavour:
- black tea for 4 to 5 minutes
- green and oolong for 3 minutes
- white tea for 4 minutes
Take your tea bag or infuser out after the recommended steeping time. You can also save the tea bag or loose leaves to brew a second cup — with fresh water, naturally.
At the end of the day, what you add to your tea is a personal preference. After all, you are the one drinking it. That being said, there are some teas most people enjoy with milk and sugar while others are often best without additions.
Generally black teas are best for adding milk and sweetener.
Some green teas, like gunpowder green tea can benefit from a little sugar but typically with no milk added.
White and oolong teas and most other green teas are rarely enhanced with sweeteners.
Don’t be afraid to play around with flavours! Some other ingredients can really spice up your tea; like cinnamon, ginger, lemon, honey, and mint.