Tips for brewing your tea..
Making tea is a subjective art – whether you like your tea strong or with milk is entirely up to your taste buds! However, here are some guidelines to get the most out of the tea leaves, flowers and fruit:
How much? Use roughly one teaspoonful of tea leaves per cup and place into your favourite pot / infuser or plunger.
- For herbal/fruit infusions and black tea, use rolling boiling water to really bring out their flavours.
- Green and oolong tea requires water that has been allowed to cool for a minute before pouring onto tea.
- White tea should be made with even slightly cooler water- allow to cool for five minutes pre-infusion.
Warming cups. Pour some hot water into your cup and discard water before use. This will keep the tea warm longer.
Brewing time. Depends on your liking – the more broken the leaf, the shorter it needs to be brewed. As a rough guide, black tea about 2-3 minutes, white tea about 5 minutes, herbals/fruit tea about 5-7 minutes.
Sweetening. Adding honey is a lovely way to sweeten your tea if needed.
Icing. Use two teaspoons per cup and follow the usual brewing temperature and time. Use a bit more if you like a stronger tea. Let the tea cool to room temperature. If you chill it right away, the brew may become cloudy. Once at room temperature, add extra water to make up for the double measurements until desired strength and store in the refrigerator until it is chilled. Add some honey/sliced lemon, mint leaves as desired.
Freezing. You can make tea up into ice cubes / icypoles for summer.
Teatails. Make an iced tea and add a splash of your favourite booze like vodka, bacardi, campari, some fruit, crushed ice … Be creative!
What makes a great cup of tea?
(Blog extract from Jodie Fergusson-Batte, Director of She-Tea and ArtByJodie.com)
You can probably guess from the name of my business, SHE-TEA, that I LOVE tea.
When I was a little girl my Grandma (Dot) loved to make a strong pot of tea. She always sat the pot on the kitchen bench, rotated it 360 degrees, three times anti-clockwise and one time clockwise. She promised me that was the best way to make pot of tea. I believe her.
So what else goes into making a great cup of tea? We all know, that apart from the pot and the mandatory rotational ritual, the quality of the tea leaves themselves is very important. Now, I’m not a tea snob by any means but I do put my foot down when it comes to drinking cheap, dusty, bulk-buy teas that are usually found in hotels and on the airlines. This is why I always take my own tea leaves whenever I am travelling or need to stay in a hotel for business or pleasure.
I also take a 2-cup plunger (for convenience over a pot, although if you use a plunger with tea you need to make sure you don’t press it down firmly as you don’t want to squeeze the leaves and cause bitterness) and my own tea cup as the cup is a crucial component of a great cup of tea. (Apart from my tea essentials, I also admit to taking some incense, lavender oil and, well, a few odd “necessities” with me to hotels). My husband thinks I am the only person in the entire world who does this, and therefore thinks I am mad. Am I the only person who does this? I think not.
Finally, the water. It must be fresh, clean water, not from an urn as it makes the tea taste like dishwater and leaves it feeling stale and lifeless. Water shouldn’t come from a regularly re-boiled kettle, and if I may be pedantic, boil the water in a stove-top kettle rather than in an electric plastic jug. Don’t pour boiling water directly in the tea leaves, instead pour the boiling water straight into your tea cup first to cool it slightly and warm the cup. Then pour into your pot. This means that the water is a slightly cooler temperature and won’t cause bitterness.
Tea is important, actually it is essential to my day. A good cup of tea should give you the same feeling you get when you arrive home after a long time away. It should whisk you away from all of your worries and allow you to exhale. It should insist that you relax on the very first sip and put a little smile on your face by the last. Even in times of great pain, tea can bring something to you that nothing else can. Infact the first thing I asked for, 2 minutes after the birth of my son, was a cup of tea. So having considered this very carefully, I would say that my tips for a great cuppa would be:
- choose high quality, loose leaf tea and buy your tea in reasonably small packs to ensure freshness (old tea loses some flavour and also loses some of its health properties)
- keep your tea in an airtight container, in a cool, dark place
- brew in just-bolied (slightly cooled ) water for 2-3 minutes before pouring. Use Grandma Dot’s rotational ritual with each pot.
- Drink your tea from a bone china cup if possible, alternatively your favourite cup is fine.
- Make sure kids are either in bed (ideal) or playing happily away from you…
- Add a deep breath, some quiet time,a book, some milk, honey or sugar as desired