Brewing coffee or steeping tea is not always an easy task for the beginner. As summer creeps in around your part of the country we wanted to share some more ideas for steeping the perfect cup of Tea.
Water & Steeping: Always start with fresh, filtered water and heat to tea specifications. The following is a quick reference guide for steeping the perfect cup:
|Tea Type||Water Type||Steep Time|
|White Teas||Light Boil||2-4 Minutes|
|Green Teas||Full Boil||3-4 Minutes|
|Black Teas||Full Boil||4-6 Minutes|
|Herbal Infusions||Med- Full Boil||3-5 Minutes|
* Add milk, sugar or honey to taste
Proportion: Making a great cup of tea is a balancing act. General Guidelines: Use 1-to-1 ½ Heaping Teaspoons of Tea per 6 oz Cup of Hot Water. If you use a large travel mug, remember to add more tea or your beverage may taste weak and washed out. Some teas have their own specific instructions like Gunpowder (use only ½ of a teaspoon of tea per 6oz of water) or Jasmine Pearls (use 4-6 pearls per 6oz of water). Green Teas are great for refusing (meaning you get to use them again & again).
Filters: Loose Leaf Teas are an unmatched experience to that brisk, stale bag in your pantry. But be prepared, Loose Leaf Teas require either the use of steeping balls, spoons, specialty brewing kettles, brewing mugs or natural disposable loose leaf tea bags. Disposable tea bags that you fill with your favorite teas are extremely convenient and ensure a proper steeping environment. Most teas do great with all options in small quantities. The key to steeping great Loose Leaf Teas is making sure the tea has room to grow during the re-hydration and infusion processes. Note: Smaller spoon steepers don’t have enough room to get proper infusion for cups larger than 6-8 ounces. Special Note: Chamomile Teas have very small flowers and need a super fine mesh or preferably a filter bag to keep the little “floral floaters” out of your cup.
Making 1 gallon of loose leaf ICED TEA
Fill 3-4 Mug Sized Disposable Filter Bags with 4 Teaspoons/ each of your favorite tea and steep in hot water for 8-12 minutes and pour over ice, refrigerate unused portions for up to 5 days.
Making 1 gallon of loose leaf SUN TEA
Fill 3-4 Mug Sized Disposable Filter Bags with 4 Teaspoons/ each of your favorite tea, add 1 gallon of water and set in a sunny outdoor location for 2-4 hours to brew to taste, pour over ice and refrigerate unused portions for up to 5 days.
Making Tea in a French Press
Clean the French press thoroughly. Boil your filtered water. Add desired amount of Tea and steep for desired strength (use above guidelines). Carefully lower the plunger halfway to the bottom so you do not crush the leaves. Now its ready to drink or pour over ice.
Some Tea Fundamentals
Leaf Appearance: This can be described as the physical characteristics of the tea when visually inspected. Specialty grade loose leaf teas are whole leaf or two leaves and a bud. Loose leaf tea can have attractive, clean and even characteristics, or it can have less desired broken, irregular and musty characteristics (usually supermarket bagged teas). Cheaper grades of teas include broken leaves and fannings (small bits and pieces of broken leaves).
Bouquet: This can be described as the aroma or presence of one of a range of desired fragrant smells. Bouquets can range from sweet, to spicy, to floral, to earthy and everything in-between.
Body: This is sometimes referred to as “mouth-feel.” The body is the sense of weight or heaviness that the tea exerts in the taster’s mouth.
Flavor: The origin of each tea and blend ingredient creates a plethora of possible tea flavor combinations. Common tea flavors detected on the palate are: citrus, berry, fruity, sweet, tart, chocolate, woody, earthy, honey, nutty and spicy tones.
Liquor: This refers to the color of the liquid the steeped tea produces. Tea liquors can range from deep amber/burgundy, to brown, to gold, to green, to almost clear in color. Different teas and herbal infusions give off very different liquors.
Hopefully as the summer heats up you find yourself keeping cool with an Iced Coffee or Tea in hand while enjoying the outdoors. –Stay thirsty my friends.