A Simple Pleasure. But Rich in Complexity
More and more people are opting for tea as their beverage of choice, from traditional tea flavors to adventurous new tea blends from around the world. The type of tea you select is just one of many factors that affect the quality of your tea. Brew time, temperature and water quality are also important.
As with wine, chocolate and other gourmet delights, learning about the complexities of tea will reward the connoisseur with the ultimate in taste. CDN, the Time and Temperature Company, offers these tea tips:
- It is generally felt that loose tea gives a superior result. Loose tea can be strained directly into the cup rather than into another pot if the amount steeped is for immediate consumption.
- Some people prefer using an infuser ball. This adds convenience but slows down the steeping process. Be sure to fill the infuser no more than half full so the tea can expand freely with the water flow.
- As a general rule, use one slightly heaped teaspoon (1.75 grams) of tea per cup. If the tea is “bold” (which means having a large sized tea leaf), more tea will be required. Very bold tea will not pack well into a tea ball or tea bag, so it should be brewed as loose tea and then strained.
- Water temperature is critical for steeping good tea. Different types of teas require different steeping emperatures for the best results. For example, green tea that is steeped at too hot a temperature can become bitter and loose its healthful antioxidants.
- Always preheat your teapot before adding tea for steeping. Simply pour some of the boiling or steaming water into your teapot, let it stand for a moment, and then pour it out. You can then add water and tea for steeping. If your pot is thin walled it will heat up quickly. If you have a thick walled pot, it may take a few minutes to warm up.
- Water quality is also important. If you are concerned about your water quality, consider using bottled water or a home water filter. Different teas can react differently to regional water types.
- Always use fresh water when brewing tea. Do not use water that has been sitting in your tea kettle or water than has already been boiled. Water than has already been boiled becomes de-oxygenated and can result in “flat tasting” tea.
- Time is as important as temperature in steeping tea. Under-steeped teas can be bland, and over-steeped teas can be bitter. With some teas, such as Darjeelings, you can taste more of the subtle notes at a shorter steep time. Some green and white teas can go from crisp complex perfection to bitterness in just 15 seconds.
Time and Temperature to a Tea
How can you make sure you’re steeping your tea for the right amount of time and serving it at the right temperature? The CDN Digital Tea Thermometer & Timer (TT1) is pre-programmed for precision brewing of 18 types of loose, ball or bagged tea, with a choice of eight different brew strengths.
This specialty thermometer/timer is designed for a single serving ratio of 1 teaspoon of tea per 8 ounce cup. Tea bags generally contain this amount. The Digital Tea Thermometer & Timer determines the perfect steep time based on the water temperature, type of tea and strength of tea desired.