1. HOW TO BREW TEA
The correct way to dispense loose tea is to weigh it. With the different sizes of leaves a teaspoon is not an accurate measure of a gram, and two grams are what you need per cup. Most of us won't keep weighting the tea so: To use a teaspoon - weigh out 2 grams of a particular tea and determine if its a level, heaping or round teaspoon for that type of tea. Mark it on your bag/canister for next time. Also remember that a "cup" is not a 12 oz mug - a cup is about 6 ounces of liquid.
USE THE BEST WATER YOU CAN
You know best if your local water is good tasting or not. Earthy flavours and heavy minerals can be filtered out or you can use bottled spring water. Make sure that it is cold. Run the tap to get any pipe taste and flatness out of the water.
BOIL THE WATER BUT…
For Black tea, bring fresh, cold water to a rolling boil (212 degrees Fahrenheit) and pour on to the leaves right away.
For Oolongtea, take the water off the heat source (turn off the kettle) and just wait a few seconds to reduce the temperature to around 200 degrees.
For Green tea, put the teapot on the table and take the water to the teapot. That should cool it enough to make it about 180 degrees.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Generally the larger the leaf the longer the steeping time. Each type of tea also has its own steeping time.
|Black Tea (except 1st flush Darjeeling)
||3 - 5 minutes
|1st flush Darjeeling
||2 - 4 minutes
||4 - 5 minutes
||2 - 3 minutes
||Up to 2 minutes
||1 - 3 minutes
2. DO I NEED SPECIAL EQUIPMENT TO MAKE A GOOD CUP OF TEA?
No, not really. Good water. A good teapot. Something with which to measure the tea. A cup or mug you love. That's about it. See "Brewing Tea". You might want to have a different pot for Green Tea vs. Black Tea.
3. WHAT IS THE BEST WATER TO USE FOR MAKING TEA
You know whether on not the water in your location tastes good. If it doesn't, or it has too many minerals or additives use a filtering system. You want the water to be cold and fresh, not flat. Flat water will make flat tea.
4. IS IT TRUE THAT YOU DON'T NEED TO BRING THE WATER TO A BOIL?
Some of the more delicate teas need water that is just below the boiling point. Black tea is usually brought to a rolling boil. See "Brewing Tea".
5. WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO MEASURE THE AMOUNT OF TEA NEEDED?
Weighing is the best way to measure tea.
6. HOW LONG SHOULD THE TEA STEEP?
The time varies by type of tea. See "Brewing Tea".
7. IF BLACK, GREEN, AND OOLONG ARE ALL FROM THE SAME PLANT, HOW DO THEY BECOME SO DIFFERENT?
See the sections on Green Tea Process, Black Tea Process and Oolong Process. It will give you a much greater respect for tea.
8. IS PRICE A GOOD INDICATOR OF FINE TEA? Actually the best indicator of a fine tea is whether or not you think it is. Price, on the other hand, is definitely an indication of the grade and source of the tea. A special source or estate can have their teas in broken leaves (BOP) and you will pay less than the same estate's tea in (FOP) or SFTGFOP. See sections on "Grades of Tea". As well, some estates have very limited quantities and that naturally increases the price.
9. HOW WILL I KNOW THAT THE EXPENSIVE TEA I BOUGHT IS GOOD OR NOT?
Become more acquainted with the terms used to describe a tea. Read some of the books from our book list or go and look up some tea books at your local library. The more you learn on the subject the more you will be able to judge teas for yourself. To quote more than one author on the subject "the measure of a tea is in the cup".
10. HOW DO I KEEP MY TEA FRESH?
Keep your tea in an air tight container such as a glass jar, pottery caddy or metal tin. It is best to keep glass containers in a cupboard out of direct sunlight or even ambient light.