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- How tea is made
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- Tips for brewing
- Tea & herbal facts
- Where does tea grow
- How tea is drunk
Tips for brewing
The secret to brewing tea can be summed up quite simply. First, buy good quality tea: it’s relatively inexpensive and always good value. Store it well, so it stays in good condition. Always prepare with fresh water. Brew at the right temperature. And then let it steep for just the right time. Here’s a bit more on each of those steps.
Buy from a tea brand you’ve heard of
Well, we would say that of course, wouldn’t we! But it makes sense: the best quality teas tend to be the ones being offered from household-name brands.
What once was an out-of-reach luxury has become a regular, everyday treat. So don’t skimp when it comes to your tea. Work out the typical price-per-cuppa of a brand like Lipton or PG tips, and you’ll realize that good tea is hard-to-beat value.
Store away from unwanted scents
Because the tea that you buy has been dried, it’s got a tendency to draw in outside moisture.
This means it’s really important to keep your tea in an airtight container – away from any strong flavors or smells that it could absorb and be spoiled by.
So don’t store your tea near soap, spices, fruit, or cleaning products. Make sure it’s somewhere cool, dark and dry. Most customer complaints made about tea can be traced back to how the tea was stored, either at home or in shops.
Water: the fresher, the better
If your water tastes ‘funny’, so will your tea. After all, most of what’s in the cup will be water. Fresh spring water is ideal, but not everyone has access to that!
If you’re using tap water, try putting it through a filter. This should remove anything that could give it an odd taste.
It’s so important to make sure the water is fresh. Water loses oxygen when it’s sitting in water pipes, so run the tap for a bit before you fill the kettle.
Tea needs oxygen to properly infuse, so don’t re-boil stale water either, it will taste stale and flat, and isn’t sustainable either. (Only boil as much as you need.)
Temperature: for ‘lighter’ teas, go lower
Black teas should be made with really hot water: it’s best to brew them with fresh water that’s been on a rolling boil, to make sure it’s hit 100 degrees centigrade.
Green teas are slightly more delicate. Their flavours don’t respond well to scalding water, so it makes sense to let it cool off the boil. Around 80 degrees is hot enough - you can simply leave the kettle for 1-2 minutes after boiling before pouring onto your tea.
Don’t brew your oolong for too long
…or any other ‘true’ tea, for that matter. Brewing for too long will make the drink taste harsh and bitter.
Black teas – including many Lipton Teas and Infusions brands – should brew for three to five minutes, tops. ‘Lighter’ teas need even less steeping time: just one to three minutes for a typical green tea.
Things are different for fruit-based infusions or herbal teas using other plants (such as mint). For these, sometimes longer is better. A lot of Pukka fans like to leave the bag in!