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Learn How to Brew Tea

Learn How to Brew Tea

Learn How to Brew Tea

If you are interested in how to brew tea, loose leaf tea, the most basic setup for a beginner would be a cup and strainer or infuser. You'll also need a way to heat water. Electric kettles are nice, but something as simple as a pot on the stove will work just fine. Finally you'll need tea. Samples are your friend. Until you have a good idea of what tea you like, it's best to seek out merchants who offer sample packs. Try to avoid buying anything in larger quantities until you know for sure that you will enjoy it. Once you have the basics together, it's time to learn how to brew tea. The general rule of thumb is one teaspoon of tea for 6-8 ounces (180-240 ml) of water. 3-5 minutes is a pretty typical amount of time to let it steep. Read further down for more specific guidelines on steep time, tea quantity, and water temperature. But remember, these are only guidelines. There are no rules set in stone. The bottom line is that the best cup of tea is the one that tastes good to you.

How to brew tea?

  1. Heat water in a pot or kettle. Microwaving is not recommended.
  2. Add the appropriate amount of tea (usually 1 teaspoon per cup) to your tea infuser. Place the tea infuser inside your teapot or mug.
  3. When the water reaches the desired temperature, pour it over the tea infuser into your mug or teapot. This will allow the water to circulate through the leaves.
  4. Time your tea. Once the time is up, dunk the infuser a couple of times to circulate the water. Remove the infuser and set aside for a second infusion, which most leaves should be able to handle.
How to Brew Tea Time and Temperature Guide:
Tea Temperature Minutes
Black 95°C / 205°F 3 - 5
Oolong/White 85°C / 185°F 3 - 4
Green/Yellow 80°C / 176°F 2 - 3
Herbal/Tisanes 100°C / 212°F 5 - 15
Please note that these are only guidelines on how to brew tea and you may need to experiment to get the taste you like. This method is is known as western brewing. Pu-erh is not recommended for this style. For more detailed information, including how to brew gongfu style, please read on.

What is an 'infusion'?

An infusion means 'one steeping'. In other words, it is the time when water meets leaf, and you extract some flavor from the leaves. Tea bags can only handle one infusion. Loose leaf tea can often handle more than one, and if you use a brewing method other than Western, they can often handle a very large amount.

What's the difference between "brewing" and "infusing"?

None. The terms are used interchangeably.

Why does my tea taste weak?

If your tea is weak, there are a few usual causes.
  • Not enough leaves.
  • Too cool water.
  • Did not steep long enough.

Why is my tea bitter?

This is the result of either too hot water, or too long of a steep time. If your water temp is similar to the recommendation above, then reduce your steep time by 20 seconds, and taste.

Why does my tea get cold so fast?

Most likely the heat is being absorbed by your teaware. Try preheating your teapot, teacup, and whatever else is going to come in contact with your tea. Fill them with boiling water and let it sit for a minute or 2, or pour boiling water over them (be careful!). You can also get a tea cozy to put over your pot to help keep it warm longer.

How to Brew Tea Western Style

This is the way most European and North American tea drinkers are used to how to brew tea. It is the method which was described above.

How to Brew Tea Gong-fu Style

This style of brewing tea involves one core idea: lots of tea, very little water, many infusions. This is usually done in a gaiwan, but you can use a small teapot if that is available. You need a very small cup. There are small 3oz tea cups that are common, but even smaller is normal in China, around the 50ml range. Ideally, you should only be making enough for a few sips of tea at a time.
  • Fill your vessel with many leaves. A gaiwan should be half full or more, but you need to account for leaf expansion. If you have a scale, 7 grams is a good starting point for most teas.
  • Pour a small amount of water onto the leaves. Just enough to fill the cup(s) you have. There should be a very high ratio of leaves to water.
  • Steep for only a few seconds. With so many leaves, a longer steep time is not necessary.
  • Steep for as many times as you like, while increasing the steep time by a few seconds every infusion.
Eventually the tea will become flavorless, and this is when you should stop. This may be after 10 or more infusions.

How to Brew Tea Matcha

There are probably a few ways you could make it but the the way it's most recognized is with the use of a chawan (Tea bowl), and a chasen (Bamboo whisk).
  • You start by putting hot water into the chawan to warm it up and put the chasen in the water to make it more flexible for the whisking process.
  • When the bowl has warmed up, take out the chasen, dump the water out and dry the bowl off. Then add about 2 grams of matcha in the middle of the bowl.
  • Then pour some new hot water (around 70-80 Celsius) into the bowl in a circular motion to let the tea move around and get your chasen ready.
  • Take your chasen with your thumb, index, and middle finger and whisk it in a up and down, zig zag motion. Usually you would do this until it foams up and gets a nice grassy green color.
You can drink it however you want but I would recommend not to add anything and just enjoy the flavor that the matcha offers. Everyone has different taste though and I'm a strong believer that the best cup of tea is what taste the best to you, so add anything you like! via /r/tea

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