When brewing tea, many elements come together to create the perfect cup of tea. Besides High-Quality tea and the perfect amount; water temperature, steep time, and the quality of your water are quintessential to make a perfect cup. Here we’ll look at how these alter your tea brewing experience and what you should consider ensuring you make the best quality cup of tea moving forward.
Before even considering the water temperature and steep time, you’ll want to think about the type of water you are making your tea with. Generally, we want to aim for water with a neutral pH level, as this will create the most pleasant tasting tea. If you have access to filtered tap water in your home, you’ll find this to be your best bet, but some people may consider using bottled water. Depending on the water quality in your area, you might not even need to worry about this. Anyone living in a hard water area will certainly want to consider filtering their water to remove additional minerals that will alter your tea’s taste. Calcium and magnesium in hard water can make your tea taste bitter and even alter the color of your cup of tea.
The water temperature is dependent on the type of tea you are making and is often a case of trial and error when first starting out with a new loose leaf tea. You won’t want your water to be too cool, or the tea won’t release any flavor, but on the other hand, too hot, and it will taste dull and unpleasant. White tea will need the lowest temperature, and you should stick to around 160°F. Any higher, and you’ll find it ruins the taste of your tea. For green tea, this will depend on the quality of the tea you are brewing, but you’ll find around 170°F works for most green teas.
Oolong tea and black tea can be brewed at between 190°F and 200°F. This will give oolong tea the earthy taste that you expect. For black tea, you’ll find this brings out its full taste at this temperature. If you opt for herbal tea, this can be enjoyed at any temperature, but it’s generally recommended to use fully boiled water when serving hot tea. This will help to bring out the full flavor and taste of your herbal tea.
Finally, the steep time will ultimately determine how your cup of tea tastes. When using a new tea for the first time, you may need to experiment to find your desired taste. It’s all about striking a balance with steep time, as too little and you’ll have a weak tea, but too long and your tea may become very bitter and completely undrinkable. Green and white tea requires less time to steep than black or herbal tea. In some of the traditional brewing methods, you’ll find this process goes on for hours, but the taste will change as time goes on.
The next time you are brewing loose leaf tea, think about your water quality, temperature, and steep time. When all three of these factors are considered hand in hand, you’ll find you can create the perfect cup of tea each and every time.