Whether you are new to tea or already have your own well-established tea steeping traditions, it is always beneficial to take a deeper look into the techniques used to create a truly superb cup of tea.
For the novice tea drinker, let us take a crash course in tea steeping. Those already well versed in the process can consider this a refresher class- who knows? You just might learn something new!
First, consider whether you would like to use full-leaf tea or tea bags. Steeping full-leaf loose teas and herbs will require keeping a few fun steeping tools on hand, such as an infuser or a tea strainer. You will need one teaspoon of tea leaves or one teabag per every six ounces of water.
Whether you plan to steep with the traditional tea bag or with one of our classic full-leaf loose teas, the next step of course, is to begin heating water. We suggest using fresh filtered or spring water to yield the best cup of tea possible.
Each variety of tea may require a different approach. For example, because the leaves of both green and white teas are delightfully delicate, remove the water from your heat source just before it begins to boil, in order to avoid scalding the tea. Our more robust varieties such as black, oolong and red rooibos teas will require bringing the water to a rolling boil in order to draw out their maximum flavor potential.
Once the water in your kettle has reached the desired temperature, pour it over your teabag or infuser and begin steeping. Times for infusing will vary based on the variety of tea. Again, the more delicate green and white teas will taste best with a shorter amount of time to avoid overheating the leaves: about two to four minutes. Heartier teas will require five to seven minutes of steeping, taking care not over-steep, lest you find yourself with tea that tastes too acidic or bitter.
With the water now fully permeated, remove the tea bag or infuser. Your tea is ready to enjoy– immediately, if you so desire, or perhaps you would like to experiment with the popular practice of adding honey, milk or lemon in order to further draw out the complexity of your tea’s flavor? If so, we are happy to offer up a few suggestions.
Honey: Many avid tea drinkers crave a little extra sweetness for their tea. Combining tea with honey is a wonderful way to give the health benefits found in tea a sweet boost. With a lower effect on your insulin and glucose levels, honey works well to naturally sweeten most any tea. Add a spoonful of Rare Hawaiian Organic Kiawe White Honey to a tea such as Pineapple Guava White Tea or Ginger Peach Green Tea for a heavenly treat.
Milk: Alone or with honey, the introduction of milk to your cup brings out a creamy lushness that many tea enthusiasts enjoy. Pour a spot of milk into a mug of British Breakfast Black Tea or Earl Greyer Black Tea to experience the decadence for yourself.
Lemon: Adding fresh lemon juice to tea is a natural way to boost both sweetness and tea’s natural healing properties. Squeezing a wedge of fresh lemon into The People’s Green Tea will augment the smooth and refreshing flavors. While lemon should never be used in combination with milk to avoid curdling, Lemon Cream Honey will introduce the best that lemon, honey and milk has to offer. Blend a spoonful into your cup of Three Gardens Breakfast Black Tea to add a touch of zing with a savory finish.
Whether you choose to enjoy your cup of tea in its pure form, or with the addition of sweeteners or milk, you now have the knowledge to steep a delectable cup of tea and have graduated toward the world of tea expertise. Impress your friends with a proficiently-steeped cup today!