The difference between a glorious day and an alright day is that perfect cup of tea in the morning. The perfect brew is a combination of the most aromatic tea leaves, hot water at the perfect temperature, and sometimes even just the perfect cup. With our daily lives being so busy we are always looking for ways to make our lives easier, that’s why we reach out to teabags when we are craving a delicious cup of tea. Though convenient tea bags may not give your tea that intense flavor that we love. So, if you are looking for that extra kick in your tea, we suggest putting those tea bags away and work the magic of loose tea leaves. If you are a little nervous as to how to go about it, let us help you out.
Tea Bags Vs Loose Tea Leaves
Both Teabags and Loose Leaves have their charm. The choice you make depends on the kind of experience you desire, an elaborate indulgence or convenience? If you want to savor a tea’s intense flavor and aroma, then loose tea leaves are what you need whereas teabags often fail to provide you with the same. But that does not mean teabags don’t make a good cup of tea or are void of any of the health benefits. Tea made from loose tea leaves caters to all your senses and it's an experience that is not only visually appealing but the aroma and flavor they release will enchant you as well and there are various ways to brew them.
Western Style Brewing
There are various ways loose tea leaves can be brewed, however, we would discuss the western style of brewing which is gaining popularity. Western tea style of brewing involves the use of a large teapot or infuser and steeping the loose leaves for an extended period. With this process, because the tea is steeped for longer, a smaller amount of loose tea leaves is used which is steeped only once or twice. This style of brewing is also suitable if you wish to brew tea at work or on the go.
Steep A Perfect Cup Of Tea
Making the perfect cup of tea with loose tea leaves needs a few tools and a little bit of experience, but once you get the hang of it is worth your while. Let's look at how to steep the perfect cup of tea.
Step 1: Use fresh filtered water. A good cup of tea needs good water, if the water is stale or boiled more than one it's not ideal for that perfect flavorful tea.
Step 2: The temperature of the water and the time of a steep impact the flavor of the tea. If the water is too hot you will end up burning the leaves and if the water is too cold the leaves would not infuse well and won't release in-depth flavors. Another thing that impacts the flavor is the amount of time steep the leaves for. If you steep loose tea leaves for too long it will be bitter, because over steeping leads to the release of tannings. On the other hand, if not steeped long enough the tea may lack flavor. Temperature and time depend on the type of leaf that you are brewing as well. Here’s a guideline that you can follow.
White Tea: Steeping time of 2-4 minutes. Water temperature at 75°C to 85°C
Green Tea: Steeping time of 1-3 minutes. Water temperature at 71°C to 80°C
Yellow Tea: Steeping time of 3 minutes. Water temperature at 80°C
Oolong Tea - Steeping time of 3-5 minutes. Water temperature at 85°C to 93°C
Black Tea - Steeping time of 3-5 minutes. Water temperature at 90°C to 100°C
Pu’erh Tea - Steeping time of 2-4 minutes. Water temperature at 93°C
Herbal Tea - Steeping time of 3-7 minutes. Water temperature at 100°C
Step 3: Warm the Mug or Teapot you will be using for steeping. This will help maintain the desired water temperature and if you add hot water to a cold vessel, the water temperature will lower quickly and it would not be at the temperature needed to properly steep the loose leaves. You can warm a mug or a teapot by adding a bit of hot water and discard it once the mug or teapot is warm.
Step 4: How much tea leaves would you need? Usually, tea companies provide you with instructions when it comes to the quantity of leaves on the boxes they sell, but a general rule to follow with western-style tea brewing is about 1 teaspoon in one cup of water. Your steep will be very strong if you use too many tea leaves and little water and the other way would result in your steep being very weak.
Step5: Another simple yet overlooked step is covering your mug or teapot while steeping your loose leaves. Putting a lid on a mug or teapot of tea while steeping is important will help maintain the water temperature for that perfect steep, and for some scented and herbal teas, a cover is necessary to avoid the risk of losing the essential oils with the steam.
Step 6: Strain and Enjoy!
Follow these steps and to make the perfect cup, you can add sweetener and a bit of milk if you would like. High-quality loose leaves can be steeped again, but steep them for 1 or 2 minutes longer than the recommended time to extract maximum flavor. So, start your tea steeping journey and let us know of the experience in the comments below