For the secret to brewing great tea, we turned to Heather Agosta, owner of The Jasmine Pearl Tea Merchants in Portland, OR.
According to Heather…
Store tea in a sealed container away from light, heat, air, and moisture. This will help keep your tea fresh, to ensure great-tasting tea with every cup.
It’s true! Most teas taste better when brewed by the pot, instead of by the cup. The additional leaf required to brew a pot provides fuller flavor.
Water is the most important element. Good water makes good tea. Bottled, filtered, or spring water are best. Avoid hard water, as the high percentage of minerals can cause your tea to taste “off”.
Avoid overboiling water, which strips it of oxygen, making the tea taste flat. Once it boils, remove it from the heat source and fill your pot or cup.
Warm your teapot or mug up with a splash of hot water before steeping your tea. Temperature is crucial to brewing an amazing cup of tea, and pouring hot water into a cold pot or cup can drop the perfect temperature 10°F., possibly causing your tea to understeep.
Many teas can be steeped more than once. However, the caffeine is often gone or greatly diminshed by the second steeping.
For iced tea, the secret is more leaf for a steeping, not longer steeping time. Over-steeping will simply cause your tea to taste bitter or astringent, whereas additional leaf, once diluted with ice and cool water, makes your iced tea taste perfect.
Bitter Tea? Next time, try less leaf, less steeping time, or cooler water. It helps to have a timer and thermometer when first experimenting with tea.
Rescuing a cup of oversteeped tea? Try diluting the liquor with more hot water. Its pretty disappointing to realize you’ve oversteeped your tea, but adding water will bring balance to your astringent/bitter cup and help you through this difficult time.
Remember, don’t be afraid to experiment with tea! Some like their tea stout, some like it mellow. There is no truly right way to brew a cuppa; it is all about taste, and taste is relative.
Step-by-Step Brewing Basics
Scoop approx. 1 tsp to 1 TBSP of dry tea leaf into an infuser. Basket or paper infusers are best.
Heat bottled or filtered water to desired temp. (see Temp/Time Table below)
Pour heated water over dry leaves and steep for desired time.
Remove tea filter to prevent bitterness avoid oversteeping.
Relax and enjoy!Tea brewing is a funtion of leaf, temp, and time. It takes only 2 grams’ worth of tea (about the weight of a dime) to make an 8oz. cup. Generally, a mounded teaspoon is plenty, keeping in mind that the bulkier the tea, the bulkier the scoopful needed. White and green teas generally require 180°-190° water and 3 – 4 minutes to steep. Oolongs and black teas are in the 190°-200° range and can steep 3.5 – 4.5 minutes. Herbals, generally, can be steeped hotter and longer, say between 200° and boiling and 4 minutes’ steep or more. Remember that many teas can be steeped multiple times – oolongs are known for this, and the higher the grade, the more steepings one can expect from them!
No Thermometer? See below for a traditional Chinese method of determining water temperature.
180°-190° “Crab Eye Water” Shows lazy steam and tiny bubbles.
190°-200° “Fish Eye Water” Hisses loudly and small bubbles rise quickly to the surface. Hot, fast steam.
212° “Old Man Water” Rolling boil.
For more information and tea products, please visit: The Jasmine Pearl Tea Merchants www.thejasminepearl.com 503.236.3539