Tea Brewing Guide
Choosing Good Tea Needs Care
Good tea is inexpensive but not cheap. For what it offers, tea is an affordable luxury but choosing good tea needs some care. Tea made in the traditional, artisanal way – called the orthodox method – retains the sophistication that natural soil, and climatic factors induce. Tea packed at source, retaining its freshness and in particular tea that maintains the purity of its origin – single origin, single region or single estate tea – is best.
Protect Your Tea
Connoisseurs store their wines in climate controlled cellars and cigars in humidors. Tea is no different in requiring care in its storage.Tea is hygroscopic, absorbing moisture and similarly odours or fragrance. Protect your tea in an airtight container, and keep it away from moisture, heat, light and odours. Stored in a cool and dry place never warmer than 30 degrees centigrade. For medium term storage, keep your stocks of tea in an airtight foil pouch or ceramic container in the refrigerator.
Importance of Water
A cup of tea is 99% water and good water is as important for a good brew as the tea itself. Water that contains high levels of minerals, especially calcium, or magnesium (hard water), water that is chlorinated, briny or desalinated sea water or has been boiled several times is not good enough for brewing tea in. Tea is delicate and the pleasure in fine tea comes from the combination of ragrance, brightness, strength, flavour, body and texture. A ontaminant like chlorine, or a poorly washed teapot can affect your enjoyment of good tea as much as using bad water can. Ideally good water means spring water but not if you live in Stockholm where the tap water is perfect, from glacier fed reservoirs. Water in London on the other hand is OK for drinking but not so for brewing tea. If the water is your area is ‘hard’ or mineral rich, ontains chlorine, fluoride or other chemicals, in particular calcium, you need a good activated carbon filter. These are commonly vailable for domestic or professional use.
Reboiling water is not good at any time as it can deplete dissolved gases and concentrate nitrates, fluoride and other undesirable elements, and for tea that is especially bad In a professional environment use a samovar with a good thermostat to minimize reboiling, whilst at home, use a kettle and fresh water every time.
Brewing is the extraction of the goodness nature has induced in the black, oolong, green or white tea leaves. Using the right amount of tea for the volume of tea you wish to brew is critical, as is the method of brewing. There are several ways of brewing tea with varying sizes of teapot, ratios of tea to water and traditions although the most convenient and efficient is this. Use 2.5g of tea per 220ml water. Using a clean and dry teaspoon, place the 2.5g tea in a clean, odour free and pre-heated teapot. Pre heat the teapot and cups by swirling around some hot water in them and pouring it out before brewing. Pour freshly, once boiled water onto the tea leaves using 220ml per 2.5g of tea. Poor preparation is the most common cause of tea that fails to please. The water temperature and volume must be as per Dilmah art of tea brewing.
Water Temperature and Brewing Times
Green tea has a softer, generally more gentle personality than black tea and should be brewed in water that is cooled to around 75 degrees, whilst Oolong in water that is around 85 degrees and black tea in water with temperature of 90-95 degrees. Light and floral high grown black teas also benefit from lower temperature brewing and could be brewed at 85 degrees.
Tea is too light ?
You have poured too much water OR less tea. It’s very important to measure the amount of water against the amount of tea. For a “NORMAL BREW” USE 2.5g of tea or one tea bag for 200 ml water and brew the tea for 3 minutes.
Tea is too strong ?
You have poured less water or too much tea. It’s very important to measure the amount of water against the amount of tea. If you require your tea STRONG - USE 2.5g of tea or one tea bag for 200 ml water and brew the tea for 5 minutes only.
Once the tea and freshly boiled water are combined, the leaves tend to settle at the bottom of the teapot, reducing the contact between tea leaves and water. Stir to agitate the tea and allow proper extraction. Black tea should be brewed for 3 minutes, stirring on adding water, again a minute later and finally before serving. Oolong and Green Tea could be brewed for 2 minutes.
Right Temperature to Consume
Once brewing is complete, the tea should be poured into warm teacups and any tea remaining in the teapot decanted to avoid over-brewing. Tea that is over brewed can develop bitterness. The best temperature at which hot tea should be drunk is around 65 degrees centigrade although that can vary. The tea should not be consumed when too hot and the best temperature is best determined by what is most comfortable for you.
Milk should only be added to a strong brewed black tea. Use warm milk only as cold milk will rapidly cool down the tea, as tea should be always enjoyed hot- We recommend using white Sugar and not brown sugar due to its caramelized taste profile. Other enhancements Honey, Mint leaves, Cinnamon, Wedge of Lime. Respect the taste profile of the tea: The tea Should withstand the enhancements without compromising the taste.
Know when to Break the Rules
When mixing tea cocktails or cooking with tea, over brew the tea into an essence Tea taste, texture or fragrance of the tea must be evident in the food or drink. Secondly but just as importantly – respect the tea – each tea has flavour, strength, texture, fragrance linked to its terroir and the tea that you select should form a part of a harmonious composition of ingredients which, when subjected to cooking or mixing should maintain its identity and be pleasing. Tea can be the basis for the foam in a cocktail, it can add texture when sprinkled over a salad and its uses are limited only by the imagination of the Real Tea Revolutionary.