Sunday, December 28, 2008

How to steep the perfect cup of loose leaf tea

Have you been drinking tea that is bland or bitter? Or do you feel that the process of making loose leaf tea is time consuming? Don’t give up. The perfect cup of tea is just around the corner. Preparing loose leaf tea can take the same amount of time as preparing any of your favorite beverages. Yes, this includes opening a bottle of wine.

Living with the Tea Drinker, I begin most mornings sipping the perfect cup of tea. But, how do you achieve this on your own, with out the Tea Drinker by your side? Focus on The “Three Ts” : Tea, Temperature, and Time. Properly brewing loose leaf tea will change your tea drinking habits. You will not go back to commercially bagged tea. Nor will you want to bypass any of the steps below.

Of course, water is vital. "Just add water" is the Tea Drinker's motto. And, filtered is preferred. But, to elaborate on The “Three Ts” :

1)Tea- Fresh loose leaf tea is the key. Does it smell good? If there is little or no aroma , you may have stale tea. Remember to buy from a reputable purveyor. Also, the amount of tea you use is very important. Approximately 1 teaspoon for 6-8 oz of water. Too much tea will make your cup astringent and bitter. Also, it’s a waste of tea. And not enough tea, will make for a weak cup. No Wimpy Teas. If you are a wine drinker, you will know that I borrowed that line…

2) Temperature- Any tea nut will tell you that the temperature of the water is essential. To boil it down for you: Black/Oolong/Pu-erh tea –just about boiling- 205 F. Green & white–just before boiling- 175-185 F. It all depends on the tea. Easy. If you want to use recommended temperature times, and a thermometer gadget- check out the Tea Drinker’s guidelines.

3)Time- Once again, we are not talking about consuming your time, just the correct steeping time. Always start by following the recommended steeping time on the package of tea. Use a kitchen timer, stove timer, stop watch, count jumping jacks, whatever it takes, but make sure you time the steeping.

It's not a "T", but another essential item is your infuser. I love this one.

So, what are you waiting for? Go make the perfect cup of tea. I started today with a wonderful single estate Ceylon. Okay, the Tea Drinker made it for me. So, maybe in my house it takes “The Four Ts" to make the perfect cup of tea.

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