How to make the perfect cup of tea
Making tea isn’t rocket science but it does require some attention, patience and care.
Follow these tips and tricks to find out how to make the perfect cup of tea.
What is tea?
Answering this question is a blog in and of itself so we’ll try and keep it simple.
Tea leaves are a plant, picked from a tea shrub called Camellia Sinensis. Although all tea derives from this same tea plant, the way in which the tea leaves are processed attains varying levels of oxidation methods, producing greatly varying tea varieties.
Growing and producing tea is an intricate and delicate process that involves immense experience and knowledge.
It’s truly amazing how the one tea plant Camellia Sinensis has produced a great variety of styles of tea.
Types of tea
To find out how to make the perfect cup of tea, you first have to choose a tea!
To help you with your decision, here’s a run down of the most popular tea types.
Green teas come in many shapes and forms. There’s Gunpowder, Sencha, Hojicha, Jasmine, Matcha and the list continues.
Different types of green tea will have a different flavour. Many tea drinkers who love Gunpowder might not enjoy Jasmine and vis versa. Just because you don’t enjoy one varietal of tea doesn’t mean you don’t like the varietal entirely. Green teas are wildly varying!
When sipping on your cup of green you will generally experience an earthy brew, sometimes with aromatic floral notes and sometimes with more subdued vegetal flavours.
More popular than not, green tea is enjoyed plain. However, green teas like matcha (ground green tea leaves) are often prepared with milk and sometimes even in elaborate milkshakes with cream and ice cream. Each to their own!
Unlike green tea, black tea undergoes an oxidation process that changes the leaves from a pale green to a golden brown. It’s this process that is crucial in developing those rich robust flavours indicative of a black tea.
Black teas can be as simple as your classic English Breakfast or as distinct as an aromatic Earl Grey. What differs between black teas is commonly the country in which it’s grown or manufactured in (e.g. Melbourne Breakfast and English Breakfast) or, the additions mixed with the loose tea (such as bergamot in Earl Grey or cloves and cinnamon in Chai).
Black tea can be served simply with hot water or some might prefer to add milk, it all comes down to personal preference.
Less known to tea drinkers than green or black, white tea is the most complex tea to produce amongst tea varieties. This is due to the care farmers must take in plucking these younger tea buds from the tea plant. These buds must be plucked before the tea leaves have fully opened and the tea buds are still covered in thin white hairs (hence the name, “white” tea).
Quickly plucked and dried, white tea must have minimal processing and oxidation to produce a fresh and high quality white tea brew. It’s these particulars that make white tea more complicated to produce and less common on your tea supplier’s shelves.
Tisanes are herbal teas often made with herbs, spices, flowers, leaves or fruits. Essentially, anything except tea leaves themselves!
Herbal teas are a great option for individuals who prefer caffeine-free beverages or enjoy the yummy taste of fruit teas. Plus, they’re much easier to brew, with many tea recipes encouraging tea drinkers to brew to taste.
Brewing your tea
To brew the perfect cup of tea, follow these three easy steps:
How much tea you have to water, plays a big role in the flavour of your cup of tea. If you have too much tea leaves, then your cup of tea can taste overpowering and bitter. If you have not enough tea leaves, your cuppa will taste weak.
If you’re using loose leaf tea, keep a measured 1 teaspoon near your tea station. When you’re ready for a cuppa, use your teaspoon to scoop your tea leaves into your strainer.
As a general rule of thumb, 1 teaspoon of tea leaves should be brewed with 240ml of water.
If you have your Pure Tea recipe card handy, refer to the back of the card for instructions. Otherwise, taste your cuppa and adjust volumes to taste.
Insider tip: use filtered water for an even more delicious cup of tea.
2. Water temperature
Just like coffee, water temperature plays a big part in brewing tea.
For some teas (such as Chamomile and Gunpowder Green) boiling water (100 degrees C) is too harsh on the leaves. These teas prefer near boiling temperature at 80 degrees C.
For other teas (such as most black tea types), boiled water is the optimum temperature and will bring out the best tea taste.
Although it’s tempting to flick the kettle on, let the pot reach boiling water temperature, then pour. We recommend you keep an eye on the temperature to give you the best chance at making the perfect cup of tea.
Check out our temperature controlled kettles to make tea brewing that little bit easier.
Insider tip: warm your cup before pouring your pot of tea, keeping your tea at a stable temperature (and nice and warm!)
3. Brewing time
We understand, time is of the essence, but don’t pull your tea leaves out too early or too late – you could ruin your cup of tea!
Tea steeps for a specific amount of time to allow the loose tea to rest and release its aroma naturally. If tea steeps for too long, it can produce an unpleasant and harsh cup of tea. For too little, the cup of tea will taste weak.
Brewing time is vitally important in producing a delicious hot tea. As a general guide, we have below the ideal time for your tea to be brewed and the optimum temperature for each tea type.
Black/Flavoured Black Tea: 2 – 3 minutes infusion, 99°C water
Green/Flavoured Green Tea: 1-3 minutes, 75 – 85°C water
White Tea: 1-2 minutes, 75 – 85°C water
Herbal Tisanes: 2-6 minutes, 75 – 85°C water
Rooibos: 3-6 minutes, 99°C water
Insider tip: if you prefer a stronger cup of tea, add more tea leaves to your cup. Don’t change the brewing time.
How to serve your tea
Tea is a slow and meditative process that deserves to be served in a way that’s meaningful. We recommend spoiling yourself with a new tea set and sharing a pot of tea with close friends and/or family.
With black tea types, it’s always a nice gesture to offer a milk jug as well as stirring spoons on the side of the saucers. Place the sugar in the centre of the table so those with sweet tooths can easily access a teaspoon of sugar or two.
If you’re enjoying your tea from tea bags, offer side plates so you can remove the tea bags and not dirty your table cloth in the process. Again, make sure there’s teaspoons for your guests to use to scoop out the tea bag.
For those serving their tea from a big teapot, keep an eye on the brewing time to make sure your tea doesn’t over steep. Let the tea cool in the teapot before pouring. Pour a little tea in your mug and take a little sip to test the temperature. The last thing you want is to burn your guest’s tongues!
Serve your tea with your favourite cakes and biscuits… because, why not?!
Now you know how to make the best cup of tea, it’s time to pop the kettle on and grab your favourite mug – you deserve a fresh cuppa!
If you have any questions about how to make the perfect cup of tea, comment below! We love discussing tea… especially over a cup of tea.
We hope you enjoyed this blog and you impress your guests with your newfound skills.