Making a great pot of tea is easy - you need hot water, a vessel, and some loose leaf tea. Here are the simple guidelines that we follow to ensure a delicious brew.
Freshness is essential. Tea's enemies are light, heat, strong odors, and moisture. For the best tea, buy smaller quantities more often. Store tea in a tight-sealing, opaque container. Green teas can be refrigerated.
Use fresh filtered or bottled water. While your kettle heats, warm your teapot and cups with hot water.
Water temperature is important. Use boiling water (212° F) for black teas and water at 180°-195° F for oolongs. White and green teas are delicate and are best made with water at 170°-180° F.
Measure the quantity of tea by weight rather than volume. This is more accurate Because of the differences among tea leaves, Use 4-5 grams of tea to 8 ounces of water. Without a scale, you'll have to experiment a little until you get the "feel." Look at the leaf - if it is small and dense (like most blacks and greens) use a level teaspoon; if it is large and wiry (like oolongs and whites) use two teaspoons. Measure tea directly into the pot or a roomy infuser.
Brewing time varies according to tea type. Generally, the smaller the leaf, the shorter the brewing time. Try steeping green teas 3-5 minutes, black teas 3-4 minutes, white teas 5 minutes and oolongs 6-7 minutes. Swirl the pot before pouring. Pour off the tea or remove the leaves to prevent oversteeping and bitterness
More tea tips
Some teas - oolongs for example - are good for several infusions. Add more hot water and increase the steeping time with each subsequent infusion. Each brew will have its own special character
Many people worry about caffeine. All tea has less caffeine per cup than coffee. Green tea has less caffeine than oolong, which has less than black. To decrease the caffeine content, tea professionals suggest steeping the leaves for 30 seconds. Then pour off this first infusion - rinsing off a significant portion of the caffeine, add more water and steep for the correct amount of time.
For iced tea, we recommend using double the amount of tea you would use for hot tea. To a gallon of boiling water, add 1/2 cup of loose tea and steep 10 minutes. We like to sweeten slightly with about 4 tablespoons of sugar. Keep at room temperature and serve over ice. To keep overnight, store in the refrigerator. If your tea gets cloudy, add just a bit of boiling water.
Savoring tea involves all the senses. When drinking your tea, enjoy the aroma and color of the brew, the shape of the infused leaves, and the warmth of the cup in your hand. Finally, what is important is how the tea tastes to you - try our guidelines but feel free to experiment with water temperature, brewing times and tea quantity.