We have studied a number of different practices in tea preparation, from the ancient ways of the Chinese to our own scientific experimentation. Needless to say it is something we like to think that we have taken great pains to perfect over the years. Never be afraid to whip out a thermometer in the name of science and the perfect cup of tea.
Our top tips:
Use softened water
The taste of your tea doesn’t just depend on what type of tea you use or how long you should brew it for, it also depends on the mineral content of the water. Water with a lower mineral content acts as a better solvent and sustains chemical reactions much easier. For lighter fruit flavoured teas or indeed white and green teas, the softened water taste will not impede on the taste of the tea leaves itself.
Boiling your kettle
Ensure that you boil the kettle only once. Do not use water that has been left cold and sitting within the kettle. Re-boiling a kettle will get rid of the oxygen content which is one of the key elements in bringing out the flavour of tea. Always make sure you dispense of any water remaining in the kettle and use fresh water.
When boiling, do not wait until the light goes out and the temperature has reached 100°C, aim for just a little time to cool before pouring into your tea cup. It is usually accepted that the optimal temperature for brewing conventional black teas is around 90°C, whilst white and green teas prefer 80°C. A minute should be taken to allow the boiled kettle to cool just enough before being added to the teapot.
Brewing should take place in a ceramic teapot, which allows the tea leaves to react and circulate with the hot water. During the process the individual tea leaves will expand 5x their normal size and infuse with the hot water. It has widely documented that a French press is also a great way of brewing loose tea leaves.
As a general rule, green teas should be brewed for a period of 2-3 minutes whilst black tea requires a good 5 minutes. Brewing should not be rushed. It will just be a waste and weak tasting cup of tea otherwise.
Tea needs to be stored in a cool dry place away from perfumed or scented products. You should also refrain from buying too much tea, as black tea has been known to deteriorate if unused for long periods of time. Try and be selective and economical when building your surplus of tea.
Adding the milk
It helps if you warm your mug before adding tea and milk to it. This further facilitates the reactive infusion process. How milky your tea is usually depends on personal preference, but the whiter the tea the weaker its flavour. It is always a good sign seeing the immediate colour of a perfectly made cup of tea. An explosion of brown swirling around, visibly lightening up as more milk is added.
So there you have it, just a couple of tips into how to make the perfect cup of tea. Making a good cup of tea can open doors for you in life. So get to it!