Tips for Brewing a Perfect tea
Complete Tips for Brewing A Cup of Perfect Tea
To make a cup of good tea, there are few tips we should not ignore. Have you ever noticed that drinking tea in a tea house always has better taste than you making your own tea at home? Even though you prepare a same tea bought from the tea house, you cannot accomplish to such a delicious flavor like the taste in the tea house. This happens because of ignorance of some inconspicuous tea brewing tips.
- Warming tea wares
We should learn to get used to warm tea wares with hot water before preparing any type of tea. Rinse teapot and tea cups with hot water will help to boost tea flavor. In addition to that rinse tea sets again with very first-pot tea is necessary (explain later).
- Be aware of amount of tea
There is no standard requirement for how much tea is suggested for brewing. However, there is an implication of proportion between water and dry tea leaves. We generally brew about 5-8g of dry tea in a teapot with a capacity of 120ml. Every tea has its own property, we have to figure out by trying it few times to reach the best brewing result for ourselves. Most tea shops provide brewing guide that helps, also is a best starting point to play with.
What if we feel too lazy to weigh tea? No problem. According to the form of tea leaves and capacity of teapot, we can, by bare eyes, estimate the approximate amount of dry tea leaves is proposed to be used. Here is a reference of general preparation rule for common teas;
- Green tea; A thin layer of dry tea leaves that the amount just about to cover the bottom of teapot is good enough for flat type green tea such as Longjing. More loosened green tea such as Anji White or Mao Feng will require more amount that about ¼ of teapot.
- Black tea; smaller size black tea leaves like Lapsang Souchong Black tea or Jin Jun Mei is proposed to use 1/5 teapot of dry leaves. Other larger form black tea like Yun Nan Dian Hong is recommended to use little more, about ¼ teapot of dry leaves.
- Oolong tea requires more dry leaves than any other tea for brewing. Round grainy type oolong like Tie Guan Yin, Milk Oolong need require relevant amount like other teas, about 1/5 teapot of dry leaves. Larger form tea like Rock Tea or Phoenix oolong is proposed to use more, about ½ pot of dry leaves.
- Loose form pu erh tea requires about 1/3 of dry leaves while compressed tea will only need a small piece of pre-pried tea which is smaller than what you expected to be.
- Brewing white tea like White Silver Needle only requires about 1/3 pot of dry leaves. White Peony and Shou Mei are types of older and coarser white tea, very loose, using ½ pot of dry leaves will be more appropriate.
- Steeping time matters
There is no doubt that steeping time has direct effect to the taste of tea. Steeping time not only represents the time tea being steeped, but also include the pouring time. Since steeping time of many types of teas are counted by second. The transient pouring time which includes pour-in and pour-out is very significant to the taste of tea.
Normally, subsequent steeping time is increased gradually. But it only counts from 2nd steep. We use 1st steep to rinse tea which will also help to moisten the tea. When tea is moistened after first steep, it discharges components quicker than before, so the time increase for subsequent steeps is only applied to 2nd steep and after, in another words that time for 2nd Steep should be shorter than first steep.
The time tea streaming out from teapot is slower than from Gaiwan, steeping time should be shortened properly, as well as amount of dry tea should be reduced.
In addition, more scattered or loosened tea require lesser time to steep due to its quicker discharge of tea components. So, to avoid bitter taste, we should shorten steeping time for these types of tea. For compressed tea, we should increase time for first steep to get tea moistened thoroughly.
- Key of water temperature
Every type of tea requires different brewing temperature for best taste. Lower water temperature is suggested to brew good quality green tea and white tea. Black tea only requires hot enough water about 200°F of water should handle the job whereas dark tea including ripe pu erh tea and aromatic oolong tea should use boiling water to prepare.
There is a new type of tea kettle on the market specially designed for tea brewing which has indication button to set water temperature for brewing different types of tea that make brewing tea much easier than ever.
- Water pouring methods
What is water pouring methods? It is the way how we pour water into teapot. It is tricky to pour water into teapot, not as simple as what you think it is. If we want to enjoy the ultimate taste of a tea, this trick should be a part of our concern. The distance from kettle spout to teapot, the direction, and how quick we pour water into teapot are a key not only affecting the temperature of brewing tea but also the thickness of tea. That is where the pouring methods are created for different types of tea. Some teas require to pour water straight into while some teas require to go along with cup wall to avoid direct impact with tea leaves. And some other teas require more complex showing method such as rotating or nodding.
For example, some teas emphasize the thickness of tea, but the tea itself has more caffeine content. Therefore, it is very challenging to brew these types of tea, it requires relatively exclusive skill to have thick but lesser bitter tea. Water has to be poured along the wall of glass to avoid the impact to tea leaves. And cannot be too quick when pouring out the tea. So that can avoid excessive discharge of caffeine content which is original cause of dry and bitter taste of tea.
Here is another simple trick to know how to pour. Any tea featuring on aroma needs aggressive pouring method to bring out its aroma whereas others should go easily.
- Which is best cup?
- 1st pot taste like water,
- 2nd pot is tea,
- 3rd and 4th pots are the best,
- 5th and 6th pots are not bad,
- 7th still remains aroma,
- 8th has remaining taste,
- 9th and 10th are ending.
Additional Tips for Compressed Pu erh Tea Brewing
Preparing ripe pu erh tea requires additional tips for brewing. Airing Raw pu erh tea is not necessary if the raw pu erh tea is always being stored in an open environment. Click to understand the difference of ripe pu erh tea and raw pu erh tea for beginners.
- Airing out Ripe Pu erh tea
Compressed ripe pu erh tea requires airing time before preparation that this will eliminate unpleasant note so it will taste richer and cleaner. To air out compressed ripe pu erh tea, we need to break it off to smaller individuals by using a special prying tool. Try not to break it too crushing. And store it in an odorless container such as ceramic type which we recommend to use. Generally, airing time takes from 1 to 2 weeks depending on the quality of pu erh tea.
Most of above tips don't have an exact explanation, because we truly believe that the best result is on how you handle your tea and how you like the taste from every single trick you use. A cup of perfect tea is a successful result from countless tentative testing. You will finally make yourself a cup of perfect tea after you read, watch and continuously practice on brewing and learning.
Tea ceremony is a perfect exploration from an imperfect life.