You have probably been drinking tea your whole life. This means that you have gotten your tea making skills down pat – or so you believe. The truth is that a great number of people don’t know how to make a really good cup of tea.
There is an art, and a science, to the process. It is only by mastering it that you can really take your cup of tea to the next level. If this is something that you are interested in doing, here are the top 20 ways that you can improve your brew:
1 Choose Loose Leaf Tea
If you are using teabags to brew your tea, then it is time to change tactics. While teabags are more convenient, they don’t boast the same level quality as loose leaf tea. This is because most teabags contain tea dust or fannings. The main problem with fannings is that they tend to result in a more bitter-tasting tea.
Long, loose leaf tea leaves, on the other hand, release more subtle notes and may even have a hint of natural sweetness. This is because these leaves take a longer time to release their bitter flavors in hot water. In the beginning, they will simply release the great-tasting components of tea, along with many nutrients.
2 Use Pyramid Sachets
As mentioned, teabags are quite convenient to use. Due to this, you may not want to give them up just yet. If this is the case, you should at least consider switching over to different types of teabags. Understand, traditional teabags have very little room in them. This prevents the tea leaves from unfurling and releasing their natural flavors.
Pyramid-shaped teabags, however, are rather large and roomy. Thus, they accommodate the expansion. Furthermore, these teabags tend to contain a higher quality of tea leaf. So, this means a better brew in any case.
3 Find Better Tea
Most people tend to head to their local grocery store when shopping for their tea. This is because you can find numerous brands for lower prices. While this may seem like a great thing, it actually isn’t. Most supermarket brands aren’t that great. This is why they don’t produce great brews.
The really top-notch teas can only be found in the best tea shops either online or in lesser known local stores. Therefore, you should consider doing some research on where to buy top teas from. In doing so, you will be opening up your taste buds to a whole new world.
4 Choose Your Tea Wisely
There are more teas to select from than you can possibly imagine. Naturally, you have the main categories – black, green, white, oolong, and pu’erh. However, your choice doesn’t end there. Each of these categories can be further divided up into smaller branches.
These teas can vary in terms of growing region, processing method, grade, or some other factor. And, they each taste quite different to one another. Due to this, you should pay closer attention to the teas that you are buying. Don’t be afraid to test various types out and find your favorite.
5 Always Use Fresh Tea
Tea does have a rather impressive shelf-life. For example, you may be able to keep black tea for more than a year. Despite this, it will eventually lose its freshness. Teas that aren’t stored properly are at even greater risk of going stale.
As you can imagine, stale tea doesn’t taste great and can even be dangerous to drink. So, always check the expiration date of your tea before making yourself a cup. At the very least, take a whiff of the leaves, if the aroma is still strong and pleasant, the leaves are probably still fresh.
6 Use Bottled or Filtered Water
You don’t need to be told that bottled water tastes different to tap water. This is because tap water contains various minerals – these minerals can alter the natural taste of tea. Therefore, you should consider using bottled water for your tea. If this seems like too much of a stretch, use filtered water at the very least. This should help to filter out the minerals and result in a better tea.
7 Heat Cold Water
Never re-heat water that has already been boiled. Whenever you are making tea, always heat fresh, cold water. So, why should you make this effort? Boiled water that has been allowed to cool for an extended period of time may taste stale. This, in turn, will have a negative impact on your tea.
8 Heat to the Right Temperature
Most people assume that you need to boil water for all teas. This isn’t the case at all. Each tea is different and requires water off a different temperature. As black tea is the most robust kind, it is the only type of tea that can be brewed in boiling water.
Lighter teas have to be brewed at lower temperatures. To get this right, get a tea kettle that has the appropriate temperature settings. Or, pay attention to bubbles or even use a thermometer to get it right. This can make a world of difference and prevent a lifetime of bitter teas.
9 Know the Right Ratio
Most people will simply add a teabag or a teaspoon of tea and then fill water into whatever cup they are using. For the perfect brew, though, you need to use a proper ratio of tea leaves to water. If you are using loose leaf tea leaves, you should add 2 grams of tea or one teabag for every 175 to 230 ml of water. A single teaspoon of loose leaf tea will suffice as well.
10 Use a Glass Teapot
If you are brewing tea for several people at once, then you will need to brew the tea in a larger vessel or container. Now, some people will do this in a plastic or a stainless steel jug. The best option for this method, though, is a glass teapot. This is because glass doesn’t absorb or expel any flavors. And, as such, will not have any impact on the flavor of the tea.
11 Know the Steeping Times
Each kind of tea also has to be steeped for a specific period of time. Black tea is more robust and can be steeped for a longer period of time. More delicate teas like green and white may have to spend less than a minute in the steeping period.
Of course, there can be quite a bit of variation according to the kind of tea and manufacturer. This is why you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, particularly when using teabags. You can then avoid a bitter or too-strong brew.
12 Time Your Brew
It is of little use to know the brewing time if you don’t actually heed them. Although it may seem a bit fussy, set a timer for yourself whenever you prepare a cup of tea. This way, you will know precisely when you are supposed to strain the tea leaves or take the teabag out. There will then be no room for error.
13 Warm the Mugs
When hot tea hits a cold mug, the taste can be impacted. This is why should always wash out each mug with a small bit of hot water. Then, the mug will be warm when the tea is poured in. While it may seem like such a small thing, it can make a big impact.
14 Follow the Right Order
Many people have wondered – do you put the milk in first and then pour the tea or vice versa? Well, the experts have spoken. You are meant to first pour in the milk and then slowly pour the tea. When you do this, the milk is gently warmed. As such, it is less likely to curdle or form a skin on top.
15 Choose the Proper Milk
Yes, the milk that you select can have a big impact on how your tea turns out. For instance, if you add low-fat milk to your tea, you will be diluting it. Full-fat milk, on the other hand, will add just the right amount of creaminess. If you want something more indulgent, give condensed milk a try. Oh, and if you are drinking green tea, never use cow’s milk. Always use a plant-based milk like soy.
16 Find the Right Sweetener
Have you been sweetening your tea with sugar this whole time? If so, you should consider giving honey a try instead. For one thing, honey is actually a great deal sweeter and healthier. For another, honey has its own interesting flavor profile and this can really help to elevate your cup of tea.
17 Allow Your Tea to Settle
Once you have added milk and sweetener to your tea, don’t drink it straight away. Instead, wait around six minutes before taking your first sip. Research has shown that this is the magic number for allowing the tea flavor to really evolve and taste a lot better.
18 Don’t Reheat Tea
Did you accidentally forget about your perfectly brewed cup of tea? Well, then toss it out and start from scratch again. The tea will have lost its nuanced flavors and will have taken on a stale taste. Reheating your tea in the microwave or even a pan isn’t going to help.
19 For Iced Tea Make Cold Brew
If you are making iced tea, don’t brew it hot and then cool it. This destroys some of the flavors and results in a weaker and bitterer tea. Instead, use the cold brew method. Add cold water to a suitable amount of tea and place in a glass, airtight container. Place the container in the fridge for a few hours or overnight, depending on the type of tea. Then, simply strain out the leaves and enjoy.
20 Sweeten Iced Tea with Simple Syrup
If you are trying to sweeten ice tea, don’t use sugar. The crystals don’t dissolve all that well in the cold liquid. Instead, use a simple syrup. Since this is a liquid as well, they will mix together more easily and result in a sweeter drink.
These are the top 20 ways that you can improve your tea making skills. So, go ahead and give these a try – you will be surprised to learn just how effective they can be.