How to Brew the Best Cup of Tea

These are very useful tip for tea making:

Quote:

Choose the Best Water
Use fresh water each time you prepare tea.  Artesian spring water is preferred over
tap water.  Tap water should be avoided due to municipal water treatments which add
chlorine and fluoride and can greatly affect the true flavor of your tea.   Not all bottled
waters are created equal.  Purified and spring waters differ in mineral content, and
therefore must be chosen based on personal taste.  Never use hot tap water to speed
up the boiling process.  This adds additional impurities from your homes water heater.
Choosing your water is the best place to start if you want to improve the flavor of your
teas.  Prepare cups of tea side by side using different sources of water and taste the
difference.

Choose the Best Tea
Choosing the best tea is not always easy.  Grocery stores generally only carry tea
bags filled with low quality tea leaves.  Although they might seem like a bargain,  these
“name brands” are not worthy of being consider tea.  Health food stores are more
likely to carry teas marketed as gourmet but typically have a limited selection of
average tea.  These teas are an improvement to that of your local grocery store,
however they are lacking true quality.  When it comes to buying quality tea, visiting a
tea house is a great place to start sampling different teas.  This try before you buy
method of discovery is always fun.  However, until recently, tea houses were only
found in major cities.  But with the ever growing demand for quality teas, new ones are
spreading throughout the west.  Choosing a reputable supplier is important.  Imperial
Tea Garden carries a wide selection of teas in all price ranges.  Buying rare and
exotic teas from around the globe has never been so easy.  Choose Imperial Tea
Garden and taste the difference.

How much tea should I use?
As a rule of thumb – - use 1-2 teaspoons per  8 ounce cup and gradually add more
tea to achieve the briskness and body of your choosing.  For best results, be sure to
allow room for the water to circulate between the leaves for best results regardless of
which brewing apparatus you choose.

Water Temperature
Aside from choosing the best water and tea leaves possible, Water temperature is the
most critical element in preparing the perfect cup of tea.  Regardless of which
apparatus you choose to boil your water, remember to follow these guidelines when
starting out.  Heat the water in a glass, ceramic or clay teapot until it reaches a boil
(212 degrees Fahrenheit) then allow the water to cool before brewing your tea.
Guideline:  180 degrees for green tea, 190 degrees for Oolong tea, 200 degrees for
black tea.
This is especially important when preparing delicate green teas.  These temperatures
can be increased following successive brews.  Quality teas can often be steeped 2-3
times.

Brewing Methods

Loose leaf in a teapot – This method of brewing tea allows for maximum freedom for
the leaves to unfurl.  This makes for a stronger, more flavorful cup.  The
disadvantages are removing the leaves, and cleaning the teapot after brewing.  If the
tea is not served and allowed to infuse longer than necessary, the tea can become
bitter.

The tea ball – Most tea balls are made from aluminum or stainless steel mesh to hold
the tea in place.  This allows for easier cleanup of the leaves.  However, there is
usually insufficient space for the tea leaves to expand and prevents water from
circulating freely around the tea leaves.  Tea balls vary in sizes from one to three
inches.

Stainless-steel mesh infuser – This method is similar to the tea ball, however,
handles were added for easier handling and cleaning.  The same disadvantages hold
true for the mesh infuser as do for tea balls.

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Basket filters – Basket filters  that fit most teacups and mugs can be used to make
individual cups of tea.  They are made from plastic, stainless steel, or decorative
ceramics.  Basket filters are also available to fit inside teapots.  This method of
brewing tea allows the leaves to circulate freely.  It also makes cleanup and disposal
easy.  The downfall is that not all baskets fit all teapots.

Tea socks – Tea socks are a fabric enclosure and perform similar to the basket
filters.  The disadvantages are that they stain and can retain the flavor and odor of
previous batches.  If you switch between green tea and black tea this would not be
favorable.

Tea press – The tea press is a glass enclosure with a mesh plunger that allows the
leaves to circulate freely while brewing and allows for compacting them to the bottom
before pouring.  Tea presses are available in 2, 4, and 6-cup sizes.  Be sure to size
correctly for your needs.

Brewing machines – Most coffee-brewing machine’s heat the water temperature
near boiling.  Although this works well for coffee beans it’s not suited for brewing fine
tasting green tea or oolong tea.  Specifically designed tea brewing machines are now
coming onto the market but at a premium cost.

Steep time
After gauging the proper water temperature, the tea leaves are steeped in the water
using one of the methods listed above.  Steeping tea leaves should be allowed to set
still during this process because excess motion can cause the release of more tannins
which can lead to bitter tasting tea.  Do not steep tea for to long before serving when
brewing in a teapot.  Many newer teapots have basket filters that can be removed
after the tea has steeped for the recommended time.  Start with 1-3 minutes and
gradually increase the time to your preferred likeness.  This is especially important
when preparing delicate green teas.

Serving Tips
Host a Tea Party with assorted tea sandwiches and other snacks prepared ahead of
time.  Use a tea warmer to keep freshly prepared tea warm for refills and be sure you
have mastered your preparation techniques.  This is no time for guessing.

Source: http://www.imperialteagarden.com/brewtea.html

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1- Fill a kettle with fresh, cold water, adding enough to make the desired amount of tea, plus some extra to allow for evaporation and to prewarm the teapot.
2- Wait until the water is near boiling, then pour a little into the teapot and swirl it around. This warms the pot so that it is at an optimum temperature for holding the tea. Empty the pot.
3- For each cup of tea, place 1 rounded teaspoon of leaves into the warmed pot. (If your pot has a strainer basket, use that.)
4- Allow the water in the kettle to reach a brisk, rolling boil.
5- Pour the water from the teakettle onto the leaves in the teapot.
6- Let the tea steep for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the size of the leaves. Allow a longer steeping time for larger leaves than for fine leaves.
7-Stir just before serving, then strain the tea into cups. Depending on the tea, you might add sugar, milk, honey or lemon. (Or a combination, but don’t use lemon and milk together.)
8- Keep the pot covered with a cozy to keep the tea warm, and enjoy.

Source: http://www.ehow.com/how_254_brew-pot-tea.html






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