What makes the perfect cup of tea? If you’ve never enjoyed a hot cup of tea, it could be that you are brewing it wrong. Finding the perfect combination of amounts of tea, water temperature, and steeping time is the key to a perfect cup of tea. Everyone’s tea-tastes are different when it comes to not only the kind of tea but how strong it is. My absolute favorite tea, at the moment, is Moroccan Mint Green tea. It’s a blend of peppermint and spearmint with green tea and all organic. I’m picky about my tea and have come to love the choices at Art of Tea but I also love the teas from Stash Tea.
Here are some tips to get that Perfect Cup of Tea using loose tea (not a tea bag):
- Always use cold water for heating.
- Pour the water over the tea directly into the cup. Not the other way around – don’t throw the tea to a cup already filled with hot water.
- For stronger tea, do not steep for a longer amount of time – this results in a bitter tea. Instead, use more tea. Recommended amount of tea is typically 1 to 2 teaspoons so for stronger tea try the 2 teaspoons and go from there. My personal taste is 2 teaspoons for any kind of tea I am brewing.
- The water temperature is important because some teas do not fare well with high water temperatures.
- As a general rule, black teas can handle high water temperatures fairly well, just below 212° F (boiling point) – about 206 is perfect.
- Green teas and Oolong tea prefer a slightly lower water temperature in the neighborhood of 190° F. Water that is too hot may result in the release of tannins from the leaves, which can cause the tea to become astringent (bitter.)
- Herbal teas are best at water temperatures of 206° F.
- Steeping times can range from 3 to 5 minutes depending on the type of tea you are using and personal preference. My personal brewing time is typically 5 minutes for most of the teas I brew.
- Many servings of tea can be used to steep 2 cups of tea
- It’s normal to have a few tea leaves at the bottom of your cup if you’re using loose teas.
If using a tea bag, it typically contains 1-2 teaspoons of tea, depending on brand. Want it stronger? Use two tea bags. Also, don’t squeeze the teabags after the steeping is done.
Of course, these are just guidelines and you have to experiment to get the right blend of tea, water temperatures, and steeping times for your perfect cup of tea.
Popular additions to your tea can include: milk, cream, half-and-half, honey, lemon, sugar, or a sugar-substitute. I’ve added cinnamon to some of the herbal teas and it is delicious. I prefer my tea with half of a packet of Stevia in the Raw.
Tea is full of many health benefits. Different kinds of teas can do different things for our bodies but they all contain antioxidants. Check this article from Time Magazine that lists many health benefits to drinking tea.
It’s tea time!
Information on steep times, water temperatures adapted from Art of Tea.