The old folk saying is true: There’s nothing a cup of tea can’t fix. Making tea is an art that requires attention to detail, which cultivates both mindfulness and patience.
From black to herbal teas, each person has a preference when it comes to how tea is taken: “Is that one lump of sugar or two?” There’s even an art to knowing what moment requires the right tea, such as choosing lavender before bed.
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Taking Your Tea’s Temperature and Time
How do you get the correct amount of tea? For every cup, you should use 1 teaspoon of loose leaves. To get your black belt in making the best tea, you need to be aware of two additional factors: temperature and time.
The beauty of tea is in its many varieties and beneficial properties. Each of these teas have specific steeping temperatures and times. For example, white, green and black teas all have varied temperatures, but brewing within three minutes is ideal:
White Tea: 175-185 degrees for 1-3 minutes
Green Tea: 180-185 degrees for 2-3 minutes
Black Tea: 206 degrees for 3-5 minutes
These guidelines are for 6 to 8 ounces of tea, and if you want another cup, most teas can be re-steeped. The amount and variation of temperature and time may vary among personal tastes, but these recommended times will get you on the right track for an amazing cup of tea.
If you want to be very specific and a little nerdy with your tea temperature gauging, check out buying a variable temperature electric kettle. This appliance can reach any assigned temperature on its full range that your heart desires.
How Do You Re-Steep Tea Without It Tasting Old?
Those new to making tea may fear re-steeping as an assumed faux pas, but it’s perfectly acceptable. It also saves time, money and reduces your environmental impact.
After tea leaves boil, don’t they lose their flavor and nutritional value? The answer is: Not necessarily. The tea leaves aren’t burnt. Teas require different temperatures, as you’ve now learned. Darker oolong teas and black tea favor hotter water to extract the right amount of tannins and flavor, and green teas have a sweeter flavor profile with cooler water. Yet, some varieties of green tea will do better in boiling water.
It really depends on your personal taste, and after the first pot or cup, temperature’s not as important. When re-steeping your tea, just add a minute or two to the original time.
Is your tea a few hours old? No problem: Bagged tea from whole leaves or loose-leaf tea can typically be re-steeped. Finely chopped leaf and bagged teas are not ideal for re-steeping, since most of their flavors are extracted with the initial infusion due to their surface area.
Aside from avoiding finely chopped leaf and bagged teas, there are teas that are better to re-steep. The ideal number of infusions for white tea and green tea is two to three, while black tea and herbal tea holds up to one to two. Oolong tea depends more on your preference, but should ideally be re-steeped no more than three times.
Re-steeping tea a few hours old isn’t going to ruin the taste of the tea, but it may be slightly different than before if you have a scarily acute palette. It comes down to your preference.
Your Teapot Isn’t Only for Style
Style isn’t the only reason to choose a teapot. You may prefer to use a teapot handed down from your grandmother or one you picked up in Japan while on vacation. Teapots carry memories and show off style, but the variety and material are also important.
Choosing a teapot with a temperature gauge is advantageous for keeping track of how warm you prefer your tea, and some come with a built-in infuser. A simple teapot always does the trick. Ceramic, porcelain, clay, glass and cast-iron teapots are present in different households. How do you choose from so many varieties?
The first question is to ask is: “What type of tea do I usually make or prefer?” Generally, ceramic teapots are well-suited for all tea types. Porcelain — for delicate teas — and glass don’t work well for teas that need to steep longer. Clay teapots tend to absorb flavor and are best used for your favorite tea, ideally for pu-erh and oolong. For teas infused at high temperatures, choose cast iron.
Your teapot may also depend on whether you are following a particular tradition of tea brewing. This means you’ll want to match the teapot to the type of tea. For example, green tea is traditional to Japan, with the tea ceremony known as matcha, in which tea is served to a small group in a teahouse. A ceramic teapot works well for this delicate tea.
Whether you like unsweet, black tea with no sugar or drink several cups of nettle tea re-steeped regularly, the art of making tea will differ for every palette. It’s no sin to re-steep tea, unless you like the flavorless taste of finely chopped leaf, bagged tea.
The best way to make a perfect cup of tea is to hone in on your mood and consider the temperature and time of your tea. Reach a mindful place in a time of stress by steeping green tea in your grandmother’s ceramic teapot at 180 degrees for two minutes.
Use those two minutes to appreciate the love going into your tea, and the time taken to care for yourself and loved ones. That’s the heart of a perfect cup of tea: It’s the unseen ingredient that goes in, where one cup of tea fixes most things.