This is part five of our series Unraveling the Mystery of Tea. In our first post of the series, we looked at the different categories of tea and what makes them unique. We discussed the difference between tea and herbal or tisane drinks. We then learned where tea grows and the climate tea plants need to thrive in. This time, we’re focusing on how to make tea.
(All photos taken by Tara Pattengale Photography and used by permission)
[A little bit of Housekeeping]
Remember at Queen’s Pantry we have five overarching categories of tea – herbal and rooibos, white, green, oolong, and black. Each tea or infusion has it’s own specific qualities that we value. And with those specific qualities come a few things to keep in mind.
White, green, and Oolong teas are delicate and can be burned easily. No one wants a cup of burned tea! Keep a close eye on your water kettle. White and Green tea like water between 160 and 180 degrees, when there are small to pearl size bubbles rising to the top of the water. Make sure you don’t let these teas steep for more than three minutes!
Tisane, or herbal, and rooibos leaves can handle water at a full boil along with black tea. So go ahead and let that kettle sing! Tisane, rooibos, and black teas steep between four and six minutes.
[Tea, Temperature, and Time]
Tisane (Herbal) & Rooibos: 212 degrees, a full boil, for 5 to 7 minutes.
White tea: 170 – 180 degrees, small bubbles rising to the surface, for 2 to 3 minutes.
Green tea: 160 – 175 degrees, pearl sized bubbles around the bottom of the kettle, 1 to 3 minutes.
Oolong tea: 180 – 200 degrees, right under a full boil, 2 to 4 minutes.
Black tea: 212 degrees, back to that full boil, for 4 to 6 minutes.
[Make the Perfect Cuppa]
If you are a loose tea type of person, the rule of thumb is one teaspoon per 8 ounces of water. If you prefer more flavor we strongly recommend more tea leaves, not more time. Adding more time to the steeping allows the tea to release tannins, which are bitter and unpleasant to most people.
Once you’ve got your water at the right temperature, go ahead and pull out a tea bag or fill your infuser with leaves. Set a timer and let it steep for the proper time. Once you’ve got the perfectly steeped cup of tea, it’s time to doctor it up a bit!
Some people enjoy their tea straight, and depending on the tea I do as well. Most commonly, we add sugar to our tea, but honey can be a fun sweetener to use. Brown sugar also can be a nice twist, specially in a chai or spiced tea. Milk goes well in rooibos and black teas. It can overpower the lighter teas and tisanes easily, so I don’t recommend it.
Here’s a quick graphic to help visualize the times, temperatures, and types of tea.
Thanks for reading!
Enjoy your tea today!