How to make a perfect cup of tea?
The secret to an enjoyable, revitalizing and relaxing cup of tea is in making the perfect cup of tea,that is tea that is perfectly brewed and served. As simple as it may sound, most tea drinkers however fail to enjoy their cup and loose the pleasure and natural goodness that tea offers by not knowing the best way to make tea and best way to brew tea.
There is only one way which is the best way to make tea. However, the quality of the brew relies on the freshness of the tea and its storage too. The freshness of tea is often determined by the source and plucking as well. Tea made in the traditional artisanal way retains the sophistication induced by the soil and climate factors. Tea packed at source sealing its freshness and tea that maintains its purity or its single origin ,single region or single estate is the best.
The goodness of tea is in its aroma, richness in anti oxidants and taste can be ensured only if tea is stored in an air tight container away from odors, heat, moisture and light. Being a hygroscopic, tea absorbs odors and moisture from other foods and perfumes that can affect the quality of the perfect cup of tea.
Equally important is the purity of the water in brewing tea, it must be fully odorless and colorless with a ph balance of 5-6.
The best way to make a perfect cup of tea requires a few simple steps done right.
Step 1 - boiling water
The best way to brew tea is by relying on freshly boiled water. Re-boiling water is not good as it can deplete dissolved gases and concentrate nitrates, fluoride and other undesirable elements, which is especially bad for tea. In a professional environment use a samovar with a good thermostat to minimize re-boiling which is the best way to making the perfect cup of tea. At home, use a kettle and fresh water at all times.
Step 2 - dosage of tea
To making a perfect cup of tea use approximately 2.5 g of tea per cup of 220ml capacity. While this is the ideal measurement and the best way to brew tea, depending on the size of the tea pot and how much water it holds, the quantity of tea used needs to be adjusted accordingly to get the right brew of tea.
You can have over brewed or under brewed tea if too much water is used or too many teaspoons of tea is used. So the best way to make tea is to use 2.5 g per 220 ml as a guide when combining water and tea.
Similarly, one tea bag contains the required amount of tea for a cup of 220 ml water for a perfectly brewed tea. But depending on the size of the cup and strength preferred, the amount of tea bags used may need to vary.
The color of the brewed tea is also a good indicator of the brew which can be used as a guide to add water or tea for the right taste.
Step 3 –temperature of water and brewing times
The temperature of water is a crucial element to an enjoyable cup of tea. Making sure the tea leaves are well infused into the water and the goodness is retained within the perfect cup is equally important in making the perfect cup of tea.
The best way to brew tea is black tea should be brewed in water with a temperature of 95-100 degrees. Ideally boiled water should be poured into the tea cup and tea brewed for approximately 3 minutes. But if you require a strong cup of black tea, brewing time should be extended upto 5 minutes.
Green tea however has a softer, milder personality and needs to be brewed in water with a temperature which is lower, at 70-80 degrees for 2-3 minutes of brewing time to make the perfect cup of tea. So does light or floral teas. They need to be brewed in water at 85 degrees.
Oolong tea and white tea should also be brewed in water cooler than boiling temperature. Ideally white tea must be brewed at around 70-80 degrees and oolong tea at 80 -90 degrees for a period of 2-3 minutes.
Best way to make tea is by preparing the tea cup and pot to the correct temperature which ensures that the water once poured doesn’t cool before the tea is sufficiently brewed. For this, the tea cup/pot needs to be pre heated by swirling hot water inside the cup and pot. But make sure to throw this water out before pouring fresh hot water for brewing tea.
Step 4 – stirring
Often, tea leaves tend to settle at the bottom of the pot once combined with water. This reduces the contact of the tea leaves with water and slows the brewing process. Continuous stirring is the best way to brew tea as stirring helps agitate the tea and allow proper extraction.
For black tea, a little bit of water should first be poured and stirred and the balance water should be poured in to stirring water. This needs to brew for 3 minutes. Serve hot a minute later.
For oolong and green tea, brew times is only 2 minutes but stirring is still essential.
In the case of tea bags, the best way to brew tea is by swirling the tea bag a few times to ensure the tea leaves are well extracted and the extraction mixes perfectly with the water.
Step 5 – milk and sugar
Tea is a beverage meant to be consumed without any sweet or creamy enhancement to enjoy its purest taste and form. However, if you prefer to sweeten, honey could be a natural option to use or white sugar instead of brown sugar. Brown sugar’s caramelized flavor will change the taste of the tea.
When using milk, dairy or fresh warm milk is best suited. Adding cold milk will cool the tea faster. Tea should be consumed warm to enjoy it at its best.
Other optional enhancements to tea include ginger, lemon, cinnamon, mint, cardamom that can add flavor to the perfect cup of tea.