You're already off to the races with taking your tea experience to the next level by choosing Little Tea Peddler! There are also a few simple ways to be able to maximize all of the awesome in that tea and here are a few tips for you!
As Heiss and Heiss describe in their amazing book "The Tea Enthusiast's Handbook", a cup of tea is composed of 99% water and if the leaf is the soul of a good cup of tea, then the water is the heart.
Did you know that the temperature of the water that you pour over your tea leaves has a huge impact on the taste of your tea? So often we just let that kettle boil until it shuts itself off at a full rolling boil and then we immediately pour the water - bubbles still going strong. Likely a by-product of the business that tends to encompass our lives, we here at Little Tea Peddler invite you to reserve a few moments to fully commit to your tea experience.
Small bubbles will float to the surface of the water 160 to 170 F, and you'll see strings of bubbles from the bottom of the kettle at 180 to 190 F. After that, you'll have a full rolling boil!
Length of Steeping Time
And to add to things, different teas do best when steeped for the time best for how each type of tea releases its flavour! Steeping too long can release too many tannins, which have a variety of health benefits, but too many can give your tea a bitterness
Black is the most robust of the tea varieties and can be brewed in truly boiling water, usually steeped for 4 to 6 minutes. Rooibos, that red herbal tea from South Africa, can handle the same approach.
Oolong tea, which falls between green and black does best around 190 F but should be steeped longer than black tea - usually for around 5 to 8 minutes.
You'll want to be more gentle with your Green teas and keep water temperature around 150 to 160 F and only steeped for 2 to 4 minutes. The same goes for your White teas, which can handle slightly warmer water temperatures (at around 180 F), with a longer steep time of at least 4-6 minutes.
Herbal teas are a bit different depending on the exact herbs being used in your blend, so best check the individual recommendations. In general thought, a less than rolling boil and a 5-7 minute steep time tend to do the trick.
Amount of Tea Used
The secret to prepare a delicious and flavorful cup of tea is to use the right measure of ingredients in it. Too much or not enough of your favourite blend can have a big impact on the overall flavour, but a lot of that comes down to personal preference.
A generally recommendation is on rounded teaspoon for every cup of water, and if you want to make sure you're measurement is consistent just grab yourself one of our Perfect Spoon measuring spoons. We include one of these spoons in every first subscription box as well so that would also be an option for you!
From there, it's just experimenting to see what your personal taste preference is. Like a less intense profile? Simply adjust down from the rounded teaspoon. Prefer a more bold taste? Keep your spoon heaping and lean towards a longer brewing time!
What to Use to Infuse Your Tea
There are so many options of infusers to use when brewing your tea including brewing baskets, mesh metal balls, silicon infusers, disposable paper steepers,. Often the ones made of silicone, come in a all kinds of whimsical shapes and while they’re cute, and functional on a basic level, they don’t really fit the parameters necessary to make a high-quality cup of tea.
In the same way as the metal mesh balls, these types of infusers tend to restrict how much your tea leaves are going to be able to expand. If you watch the magic that happens when that hot water hits the leaves, you'll see that there is a gentle unfurling, almost as if the leaves are taking their first full breath. If the leaves aren't given enough room to fully expand, which tends to happen we we cram them in those ball or silicone infusers, you're not going to reap the full benefit of the tea harvested for your enjoyment.
Our recommendation is to use the stainless steel brewing basket style of infuser which allows for the most room for your leaves to stretch out and work their magic