Brewing the Perfect Cup of Tea

As those devout tea drinkers among you will know, there are a certain number of rules to follow when it comes to brewing the perfect cup of tea; plopping a teabag into your mug, pouring boiling water on it and expecting a tea tasting miracle to occur, is naïve and not the kind of mistake a true tea lover would ever deign to make.

So where should you begin?

Perhaps a good starting point might be to list the different types of teas commonly available in most supermarkets, and then look at the different brewing techniques for each one.

  • Green Tea
  • Black Tea
  • White Tea
  • Fruit Tea
  • Rooibos Tea
  • Oolong Tea
  • Yellow Tea

Black teas are fully oxidized and can therefore tolerate higher water temperatures and longer periods of brewing without being spoiled; similar to oolong teas which are processed more and highly roasted.

Green, white and yellow teas experience minimal oxidation – or sometimes none at all – meaning that they respond far better to lower water temperatures and a shorter brewing period.

These basic points will ensure that your teas will always taste just as they should.

What about the boiling of the water for the perfect cup of tea?

  • Fresh water, either straight from the tap or water purifier/filter, is recommended as it contains more oxygen and will give your brew a much cleaner and pure flavor. 
  • Water that has just reached boiling point can be used for black and oolong teas, but green, white and yellow teas should be brewed with water that has recently been boiled but cooled slightly. 
  • If you want to be precise, 80 degrees is thought by many to be the correct temperature of water for brewing the more delicate teas, such as green and white.

How long should I leave the tea to steep?

For many discerning tea lovers, the length of time that a tea should steep for comes down to taste and personal preference. Generally speaking, a robust type of tea such as black or oolong, will reach their optimum strength at between 3 and 5 minutes, while the more delicate teas should really only be steeped for between 2 and 3 minutes.

What are the rules when it comes to loose leaf tea?

Some people fear the loose leafed tea and feel safer with a tea bag, but most of those fears are unfounded as measuring it is super simple. For one cup of tea, use approximately one teaspoon of leaves and increase the amount of teaspoons as per the number of cups of tea you desire.

If you’re wishing to avoid using a teapot, then loose leafed tea might not be the best option, but of course if you’re a true tea tippler, you wouldn’t dream of brewing your favorite beverage in a cup!

To add milk, or not to add milk, that is the question…

To put it simply, black teas can stand up to – and possibly even benefit from, depending on personal taste – the addition of milk, but the more delicate teas with less oxidization, such as green, white, oolong, yellow and fruit and herbal teas, always taste better without it.