For many of us, tea is an essential part of the afternoon tea experience. There is a big difference between a good cup and a great cup though. So, as it’s National Tea Day, I decided to call in the experts and asked Sandra Benn of Chiya & Chai to help us out. Here’s what she had to say…
Just add hot water, right?
It’s so easy to make a cup of tea. We all know how to do it. Just add hot water to a teabag, right? Well, sort of. So much can influence the taste of your tea and there’s a bit more to it than that, if you want to make the perfect cup.
I’m all about elevating the tea experience. It’s something to be savoured and a few careful steps can make a world of difference to your brew. So, in recognition of National Tea Day, here are my top tips.
1. Use fresh filtered cold water
Our tap water has a taste, which is added to the flavour of your tea. Clean, filtered water means you don’t add any other taste. So use it whenever you can.
2. Brew with water at the correct temperature.
We’re in the habit of using boiling water for all our tea but in fact, different teas taste better when brewed in water heated to different temperatures. To achieve the correct temperature, an electric kettle with temperature settings is ideal or to brew teas that require cooler temperatures, add cold filtered water to hot water and check the temperature before pouring onto the tea. For example, black tea should be brewed at between 95-98 degrees.
3. Use the correct amount of good quality tea.
In general, the tea in tea bags has been selected for it’s colour, strength and low price rather than quality. Tea bags tend to be filled with the smallest of tea particles, meaning many of the essential oils that deliver taste and aroma have been lost. Loose leaf tea generally is of higher quality.
Teabags are typically portioned for a single brew. A guide for loose leaf tea is to use 2.5-3g for 200mls of water though this is a guide and quantities can be adjusted to suit individual preference.
4. Brew for the correct amount of time
Over-steeped tea leads to bitterness. Set a timer on your phone. Follow the steep time recommendations on the tea packaging. A good guide is to brew for 3 minutes for green and oolong tea, 4 minutes for white tea, and 4-5 minutes for black tea. Herbal infusions will need 5 minutes or more.
5. Separate the leaf from the liquor
Another cause of bitter tasting tea is because the leaves are left in the water and continue brewing. To avoid this, use a tea infuser inside a teapot or mug so that the tea can be separated from the water after the first pour. Or make just the right amount to fill your cup so there isn’t any water left in the teapot after you’ve poured.
And remember, with loose leaf tea your leaves can be reinfused over again offering great value for money. Remember to allow a couple of extra minutes brewing time.
Enjoy Your Cup of Tea!
So now you know how to make the perfect cuppa, it’s time to head to the kitchen, pop the kettle on and brew up a storm.
I’m Sandra Benn. My business is Chiya & Chai and I’m based near Edinburgh, Scotland. I sell a small curated collection of loose leaf tea in individual pouches, starter packs, and as gifts and subscriptions. I also hold tea tasting.
You can check out the website at www.chiyaandchai.com You can follow on social media Facebook & Instagram @chiyaandchai