The World Book Blog
Most of the people who say that they ‘don’t like the taste of tea’, it is probably because they prepare their cup of tea incorrectly, this can create a misconception and leave a bad taste that can last a lifetime.
Today we discover how to make tea correctly, taking into account the temperatures and infusion times required for the different varieties.
Most restaurants, coffee shops, and also people at home who serve tea, try to save time and prepare practically all teas in the same way, with the same water and temperature.
To prepare a good tea you don’t have to have a Ph.D., but it is not as simple as pouring it into boiling water and letting it steep infinitely, there are easy ways to achieve a perfect cup of tea.
Tea is the second most popular drink in the world, and of course, water is the most widely consumed in the world. Approximately 1.8 to 2 billion cups of tea are drunk daily.
Most of us put a glass of water in the microwave for a minute and have a hot drink almost immediately. And it is that not all teas are the same, nor are they all prepared in the same way, because to appreciate all the nuances of flavor that each variety offers us, we must take into account that the temperatures and infusion times are not the same for all varieties.
The Perfect Cup of Tea must be respected five things: Water, Amount of Tea, Temperature, Time, and the Container.
Good water will change the flavor of sorbet, coffee, and even pasta and for tea, it’s just as essential. It is best to use freshwater because when the water boils, oxygen is released and therefore you cannot get the best cup of tea when the water has been repeatedly re-boiled.
Well, since it depends on where we live and that we are not always there doing analyzes (and we do not necessarily want to load 12 bottles of special water just for tea, which understand us?), we were advised to use tap water and a filter.
When you use too much tea, the result will be a bitter tea and if not, too little tea will make a weak cup with a feeling of not feeling any of the tea.
The volume that is considered is the appropriate ratio of leaves to water, it is a teaspoon for most teas (approx. 2 grams) per 200 ml that a cup of tea usually has.
At the end of the day, you choose with your eye and taste if you want a slightly stronger or softer tea and thus choose the appropriate amount.
The infusion time and the temperature of the water when pouring it on the tea strands are essential for the correct preparation of the tea. Both the temperature of the water and the infusion time depend on the type of tea that is being prepared.
The optimal temperature of the water with which we will make the infusion can vary between 650C and 990C (just before the water starts to boil) and the times vary between 1 and 6 minutes.
It is a tea that is made with the dehydrated shoots of the plant when the leaf has not yet opened. It does not undergo fermentation and its flavor is very smooth and delicate.
Water Temperature: 65 – 700C | Steeping time: 1 – 2 minutes
It is a tea whose leaves have been dehydrated and rolled but have not undergone any fermentation process, so its properties and nutrients are practically intact. It is greenish in color and the taste is very refreshing.
Water Temperature: 75 – 800C | Steeping time: 1 – 2 minutes
It is a tea similar to green tea, but with a shorter drying time during which the leaves turn yellow. Although it is very popular in China, it is now that it begins to be known in the West.
Water Temperature: 70 – 750C | Steeping time : 1 – 2 minutes
Also called Oolong tea, it is a tea halfway between green and black with oxidation not as long as that of the latter that gives it a slightly bluish tone. Its flavor is more similar to that of green tea than that of black, but it does not have the herbal nuances as marked as green tea.
Water Temperature: 80 – 850C | Steeping time : 2 – 3 minutes
It is also known as pu-erh.
After dehydration and drying, the leaves go through a fermentation phase and then go through a maturation process that can last several years. The flavor is earthy and the infusion has a coppery hue.
Water Temperature: 90 – 990C | Steeping time : 2 – 3 minutes
After dehydration, the black tea leaves are subjected to a long oxidation process, after which the variety of tea with the highest theine content is obtained. The infusion is reddish and has a sweet taste.
Water Temperature: 95 – 990C | Steeping time : 2 – 3 minutes
A container also plays a vital role to make a Perfect Cup of Tea.
It is best to use a kettle or at least an unused pot for cooking. This is because the flavors of food, which you would have previously cooked in the pan, are “revived” by heat and dissolve in water. And give it their aromas.
There are some commercial kettles that allow the water to automatically stop heating when it has reached the temperature you have chosen. Other kettles have pre-programmed temperatures.
Again, the choice of container will depend on the tea.
To start, a white porcelain teapot is the easiest to use. It allows you to prepare all the teas there because it washes (contrary to what we hear everywhere!).
The teapots that you do not (especially) wash with dish soap are the Yixing clay teapots. This earth being very porous, it absorbs the aromas and releases them during the next infusion. The taste of the washing-up liquid will therefore not be welcome!
Tea is a fragile product, it does not like light too much, so it is better not to choose a transparent glass teapot. Unless you drink it quickly. It is also true that certain teas (such as tea flowers) must be prepared in a transparent container in order to see them open under the effect of the heat of the water.
Black tea and green tea come from the same Camellia Sinensis plant. The main difference between black tea and green tea lies in the manufacturing process.
In making Black Tea, the tea leaf is fermented when exposed to hot air. During this chemical oxidation process, the leaves change color from green to a bright copper color. The fermented leaf is then put in a chamber where the hot air prevents any chemical reaction. The temperature to which the tea has been subjected will determine the keeping qualities of the tea. Once the cooking process is completed, the leaves harden and acquire their black color.
Why this tea fermentation process? It may have been devised to improve the preservation of tea and facilitate its storage for longer periods of time.
The popularity of black tea has grown enormously in Europe and America and today many people prefer black tea. There are many ways in which black tea can be consumed (alone, with milk, spiced with ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom) and its variants and blends are unlimited.
The black tea contains minerals such as calcium, chromium, magnesium, manganese, iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium, aluminum, and fluorine. A cup of tea also provides us with flavonoids, a type of antioxidant with many beneficial properties for humans. And mainly, it has a greater stimulating capacity. Its caffeine level is much higher than that of green tea, being able to provide between 25 and 110 mg per cup, depending on its degree of fermentation.
As Green Tea is not fermented and it is not heat-treated, it preserves its color and a greater amount of the active components of the tea leaf. A cup of green tea also contains minerals, although a less stimulating capacity due to its low caffeine content and greater antioxidant activity. Among its benefits, we highlight that green tea favors diuresis.
This natural diuretic effect stimulates the elimination of toxins from the body and prevents fluid retention. On the other hand, it needs a shorter infusion time, usually less than 3 min, to prevent the tea from turning bitter.
These two types of teas have many varieties, each with its own distinctive flavor. They can be classified according to their place of origin, their level of oxidation, their color.
The Flavored Tea can be black or green tea. Natural aromas or other additives such as dried flowers as in Jasmine Green Tea are added to the tea leaves.
Tea can be taken at any time of the day, given the wide variety that we can find.
An infusion of tea contains less caffeine than a coffee since tea is normally prepared in a much more diluted infusion. Black tea is usually more exciting and stimulating than green tea, but everything will depend on the concentration that we use to prepare the infusion.
Indicative caffeine content for:
When you wake up and in the morning, a stimulating black tea is ideal.
In the afternoon or if you want to be more relaxed you can have a nice green tea.
But if you are a lover of black tea and you are worried that it will take your sleep away, you can prepare a less exciting black tea, using this simple trick.
There are teas to which cold infusions feel better than others. A good example is strong teas with sweet flavors such as red or black teas.
The main difference is that the hot water extracts all the flavors and nutrients from the tea much faster. So to make a good cold tea we must let it infuse for hours, to the extreme of leaving it overnight in the refrigerator. Being cold water, it is very difficult for it to become bitter because tannins are the last elements to be extracted. We can also prepare cold tea faster, in a couple of hours but using much more tea.
Or make a regular tea and chill it instantly, this is what is usually done in tea shops. Prepare it hot, mix it with ice, and stir well. The least recommended is to prepare the hot tea and leave it in the fridge for hours, so it will oxidize, it will not be as vibrant and it will lose flavor and body.
I prefer to make a normal hot infusion first and then use the same leaves to make cold tea. It can be your last tea of the night, then leave it in the fridge with cold water and become your first tea the next day. The assamica variety from the Lake of the Sun and the Moon is famous because when it is prepared cold, it brings out the natural honey flavor.
One of the questions that we are always asked is whether or not it is good to put sugar in teas. To sweeten or not to sweeten, that is the question.
It will be the type of tea that we are going to prepare and how we plan to drink it that will make us decide how we will drink it.
The ideal to sweeten the tea from a healthy and balanced perspective are undoubtedly natural and ecological products, thus avoiding synthetic and harmful products that in the long run can cause serious health problems, but take into account that tea can drink without sugar if you wish, and it’s all a matter of taste.
In this case, adding Brown Sugar, Honey, Panela, Stevia or another type of sweetener will enhance the flavors of the flowers, fruits, spices, or other components.
The best-known blend of milk tea is black tea. This combination seems to come from 1680 in France, where the nobles served their guests something totally new, tea with milk.
If you have not yet drunk such a tea, buy a very good black tea, milk, and sweetener from Green Sugar (with zero calories and zero glycemic index) if you take care of your figure!
Pour hot water into the cup, put the sachet of black tea in the cup, and leave for 3-5 minutes (depending on how much bitter taste we want the tea). After this interval, take out the teabag, add the milk and sugar, mix, and then wait 5-6 minutes, until the milk tea reaches the ideal temperature to be consumed.
Very aromatic or very strong teas go perfectly with a drop of milk.
Since most of the caffeine in the tea is released in the first 30 seconds of infusion, pour the boiling water over the black tea and wait 30 seconds, then discard that first infusion, saving the leaves for making that ‘decaf’ the tea you’re going to drink.
Note: There are many ways of preparing tea, following different traditions: the Chinese have particular ways of making tea, different from those used in Japan or Korea, and also different from the ways used in the West. However, wherever you are, you can easily make tea by following the above instructions.
As with the teapot, the choice of the container to drink will depend on the tea and its origin.
The cups will be used rather for tasting English tea (tea-time), for Darjeeling, red or green teas, scented teas.
The small bowls will be used for tasting Chinese tea (Gong Fu Cha).
The large bowls will be used for the tasting of Japanese tea (Cha No Yu).
The glasses will be used for the tasting of Russian tea (Samovar). Small sizes, they will be used for tasting Moroccan tea.
We also use tall enough glasses (like our orangeade glasses) for iced tea (USA).
Or the tasting of Long Jing which is a Chinese green tea. We then see the tea leaves “going up and down” in the glass.
Also called Gaiwan.
It is a type of Chinese and Taiwanese bowl with a hollow saucer and a lid.
It is often used for Wulong teas or some green teas.
We leave the leaves that are blocked by the lid when drinking. We will add hot water to make several infusions.
You can also use Zhong as a teapot and pour the liquor into small Chinese bowls.
The tea leaves are rolled or folded. The hot water that is poured over allows them to open: their size can then double, triple, or even much more for some teas.
So tea needs space to flourish and give the best of itself.
The Ideal: infuse your tea in a teapot (which gives the leaves all the space desired) then transfer (through a colander to keep the leaves) into another teapot to taste. But you will have more dishes to do!
I have seen people using this method in the office with only a kettle and a cup, so because it is possible, it is possible.
The tea ceremony is of Chinese origin and in itself quite sophisticated, but the Japanese adopted it and made it true art.
To prepare tea with this method, we will use more tea with less water, which will give us smaller, more changeable, and flavorful infusions. It is a method to enjoy tea, take a break and forget about everything, it even serves to meditate.
We will use 2-3 teaspoons with little water (100-200ml) for very short infusions. There are teacher recommendations to infuse from 15 to 60 seconds. As you can see, it still depends a lot on each one. Find your measurement.
To follow the tea ceremony there are some basic elements and other optional ones, do not be obsessed with having it all.
A Trick: For light teas, pour the water very slowly over the edge of the teapot or gaiwan without directly touching the tea. This way we will get it to cool just enough. If the tea is good and especially if it is toasted, it will withstand direct hot water better. Try and find out how you like it best.
To make Tea with the Chinese Method you can try this Tea ceremony “Tea Master” edition Set.
To prepare a good cup of tea, each of the elements is important. The goal is to find the flavors of tea not masked by those of water or other external elements.
The palate changes over time, time of day, or mood. We can prefer a tea-infused for a longer or shorter time, more or less concentrated.
Everything can vary. The most important thing, and whatever some may say, is to indulge yourself while enjoying your tea.
The advice given above about how to make tea may seem obvious to some but may help beginners.