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Tips for Brewing a Better Cup of Tea

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Tips for Brewing a Better Cup of Tea
Text by Caroline Cahan / Photo courtesy of Southern Season

It’s tea time. But in the land of iced tea, a tea primer for a proper hot cup might be just the thing before boiling that water. So decide what kind of tea you’d like to make, use 1 teaspoon of tea per 6 ounces of water, and create a tea ceremony of your own.

Tisanes

More commonly known as herbal tea, tisane is a beverage made from the infusion or decoction of herbs, spices, or other plant material in hot water, and usually does not contain caffeine.

  1. Bring freshly drawn filtered water to boil.
  2. Pour into teapot or mug and swirl to pre-warm, then discard.
  3. Use water just off the boil, 195-210 degrees.
  4. Pour water over leaves, cover and steep, 4-7 minutes.
  5. Remove leaves and serve. Tisanes are generally best in one infusion.

White Tea

White tea is grown and harvested primarily in China. It is the most minimally-processed of all tea varietals as the buds are neither rolled nor oxidized.

  1. Bring freshly drawn filtered water to boil.
  2. Pour into teapot or mug and swirl to pre-warm, then discard.
  3. Let water cool to 175-185 degrees.
  4. Pour water over leaves, cover and steep, 2-5 minutes.
  5. Remove leaves and serve.
  6. Multiple infusions of the same leaves will reveal changing body and flavor characteristics. Increased steeping time for each infusion assures optimal flavor.

Green Tea

Green tea is made from the leaves from Camellia sinensis that have undergone minimal oxidation during processing. It is known for its health benefits.

  1. Bring freshly drawn filtered water to boil.
  2. Pour into teapot or mug and swirl to pre-warm, then discard.
  3. Let water cool to 175-185 degrees for Chinese green teas or 145-175 degrees for Japanese green teas.
  4. Pour water over leaves, cover and steep, 1-3 minutes.
  5. Remove leaves and serve.
  6. Multiple infusions of the same leaves will reveal changing body and flavor characteristics. Increased steeping time for each infusion assures optimal flavor.

Oolong Tea

A traditional Chinese tea produced through a unique process, which includes withering the plant under the strong sun to oxidize before curling and twisting.

  1. Bring freshly drawn filtered water to boil.
  2. Pour into teapot or mug and swirl to pre-warm, then discard.
  3. Let water cool to 185 degrees.
  4. Pour water over leaves, cover and steep, for minutes.
  5. Remove leaves and serve.
  6. Multiple infusions of the same leaves will reveal changing body and characteristics. Increasing steeping time for each infusion will assure the best flavor.

Note: Curled and twisted oolongs may require more leaves per cup because of the leaf size.

Black Tea

 

Black tea is more oxidized than other varietals. Made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis, black tea is generally stronger in flavor than the less oxidized teas.

  1. Bring freshly drawn filtered water to boil.
  2. Pour into teapot or mug and swirl to pre-warm, then discard.
  3. Use water just off the boil, 195-200 degrees.
  4. Pour water over leaves, cover and steep, 3½-5 minutes.
  5. Remove leaves and serve.
  6. Multiple infusions of the same leaves will provide changing body and flavor characteristics. Increased steeping time for each infusion will assure optimal flavor.

Editor’s Note: Caroline Cahan is Southern Season’s Coffee and Tea Buyer. She has been the driving force behind the growth and success of the company’s tea division for more than 20 years.