Skip to comments.How to Brew the Perfect Cup of Tea
Posted on 05/24/2012 6:09:33 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Tea should also be made differently depending on its type.
Tea comes from the Camellia sinensis shrub, which is native to China and India. Green, black, white and oolong tea all come from the same plant. The difference is in how much the leaves are processed.
According to Chris Brown, who conducts tastings and classes at the British Tea Garden and Rooftop Cafe in Tecumseh, Mich., its all about oxidation, which can be thought of as similar to what happens to a banana when its exposed to air. Black tea is highly oxidized, while green tea is less processed, and white tea, which uses only the newest leaves, is even less so.
Brown said that a general rule to get the best cup of tea is to steep black tea for three to five minutes, green tea for one to three minutes, and white tea for as long as eight minutes. And there are tricks to brewing the perfect tea.
You should start with filtered, fresh water every time dont reboil water, she said.
Tea should also be made differently depending on its type.
People brew green tea like they do black tea and wonder why it tastes awful, said Brown. Black tea should use water thats been brought to a full boil but not for long, because over-boiling takes the oxygen out of the water. On the other hand, green and white tea should use water thats only been brought to a preboil, which means that its steaming or, at most, that bubbles have just formed at the bottom of the pot.
Herbal teas and rooibos tea, a South African tea that is quickly becoming popular, are, like with black tea, generally best with boiling water, according to Brown. Incidentally, herbal and rooibos teas arent really tea at all because they dont use actual tea leaves. Herbal teas consist of whatever the herb or fruit happens to be peppermint, for example while rooibos tea, also called red tea, comes from the rooibos bush.
Heres another helpful hint from Brown: If youre brewing
tea in a pot, warm the pot up first by putting warm water in it. Then dump that water out and make your tea. And, said Phyllis Wilkerson, co-owner of the new Governor Croswell Tea Room in Adrian, Mich., the secret to stronger tea isnt what you might think.
Dont brew longer to get stronger, she said. It will get bitter. If you want stronger tea, add more tea.
Both the British Tea Garden and the Governor Croswell Tea Room can lend a hand to novice tea drinkers. Among the questions the staffs at both restaurants would ask are: caffeinated, decaf or dont you care? What flavors do you like spicy, fruity, minty or just plain tea? How strong do you like your tea?
Wilkerson said people who dont know the first thing about tea often like her shops cinnamon orange spice variety.
Even people that dont like tea like it, she said, and so it would be one of the first suggestions she would make to a tea newcomer.
What foods youre going to pair your tea with can also make a difference.
Different food brings out different flavors (in the tea), said Brown. Teas can taste different after you eat versus before. Its a lot like with wine.
Finally, theres the question of bagged vs. loose. Buying loose tea, rather than teabags, allows for a higher quality and a fuller taste, said Brown. And theres a lot more variety in loose tea. You can mix and match. Sometimes, that mixing and matching even includes adding flavors like chocolate or caramel, which allows a tea drinker to indulge in a sweet treat without the calories of a dessert.
Also very good in the antioxidant area.
I'm finishing up some I brought back from Cambodia a few weeks ago. Then I begin into Gunpowder green tea I buy in Chinese pharmacies in Ong Pin, Manila's China Town.
I use my voice preaching, teaching, singing, every day, and I also play brass musical instruments. I have found gunpowder green tea very useful help in maintaining my throat, esophagus, and respiratory system.
If you live in the South, watch (especially) tea for oxalate content; otherwise, kidney stones will getcha!
So, the enterprising fellow was Robert Fortune. Well named, considering the fortunes that were made from the Assam tea plants descended from his ‘collection’.
Ha! That is exactly what I thought on almost every page I read his name!
“Gunpowder green tea I buy in Chinese pharmacies “
One can’t find any good tea here in Cleveland’s Chinatown. I gave a Pu erh “Bird’s Nest” to my herbal doc, and he was delighted! I asked at all the stores, but there’s one pharmacy I haven’t been to. Next time I’m downtown, I’ll stop in and see if they carry any.
1. Jefferson City, MO 2. Pensacola, FL (will ship direct to you)
It must be available somewhere in larger cities, especially where there are large concentrations of Chinese and/or Japanese.
Check oriental pharmacies where, when you step in, you see wooden bulk containers or wooden drawers built up against the walls.
“It must be available somewhere in larger cities”
I have not found any good tea in Cleveland, although I’ll check the one pharmacy I haven’t been to this Sunday. I asked at all the markets, and the replies were, “No have. They steal.” Chinatown is intermingled with Cleveland’s downtown ghetto. Some of the markets have armed guards!
I get my tea from Generation Tea. Great selection.
A great source of loose tea is Indian/Persian grocery stores. I discovered a brand called “al-Ghazaleen”, 100% Ceylon tea. Awesome stuff.
(And yes, I did a double-take at the name too!!)
Unless you’re the poor put-upon neighbor Elizabeth, in which case you get a beaker...or a sippy-cup.
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