The perfect cup of tea depends on many different factors such as the mineral content of the water used. These factors can adversely affect or significantly
Connoisseurs of fine tea will declare that to brew a delicious cup of tea, you must pay attention to the details. From the freshness of the tea leaves to the temperature and mineral content of the water, the factors that go into brewing tea greatly affect the subtle nuances of the flavor that develops.
More than any other factor, the choice of water will either greatly enhance or significantly impair the taste of brewed tea. Tap water is not a good choice for tea unless it is filtered through a high-quality filter that removes chemicals like chlorine and fluoride that are often added to municipal water supplies. Distilled water should not be used because it is devoid of mineral content and produces tea that tastes flat. Although the mineral content is different in all bottled water, the best advice is to experiment with different brands of bottled purified or spring water and choose the one that appeals to your own personal taste.
Next to the mineral composition of water, temperature of the brewing water can make the difference between a good tasting cup of tea and a bitter one. Water should be brought to the boiling point in a glass, ceramic or clay pot, then allowed to cool off a little before brewing the tea. A general guideline is to brew black tea at about 200 degrees for approximately 3-5 minutes, and more delicate teas, like green or white tea, at about 170-180 degrees for 2-3 minutes. Brewing tea at temperatures that are too high causes a release of compounds that can produce unwanted bitterness.
How Much Tea to Use
Although some people prefer weaker or stronger concentration of tea flavor, the general consensus among tea aficionados is to use about 1 teaspoon of fresh, loose leaf tea per 8 ounce cup of water. This amount can be increased to 2 teaspoon when brewing tea with large leaves or flowers like green tea or chamomile.
Teabags vs. Loose Leaf Tea
Many tea drinking novices wonder why so many people insist on using loose leaf tea as opposed to tea bags. Aside from the fact that tea bags contain lower-quality remnants of whole tea leaves called “fannings” or “dust”, the problem with brewing tea in bags is that the tea leaves need more room to expand and develop their flavor. Loose leaf tea is usually a better quality product that has superior flavor and is generally preferred over bagged varieties.
Tea drinkers are passionate about the particulars involved in brewing their favorite beverage. An excellent cup of tea begins with fresh water that is brought to just the right temperature and combined with the precise amount of quality tea leaves. The result is a cup of pleasure that is steeped to perfection.