How you brew your tea leaves determines its taste, its strength, and its quality. From the water you use to the type of tea to the steeping time, there are a number of factors that can alter your tea and improve its delicious taste. Here’s your guide on how to brew tea, both hot and cold, to ensure a perfect cup every time.
Get Your Teapot Ready
There are a few simple steps to follow each time you brew tea. If a steamy mug of fragrant and tasty tea is your favorite beverage, chances are you’re already familiar with these steps – or, perhaps you’ve been brewing according to your own method. Follow this easy process, and you’ll create a perfect mug every time you brew a cup of hot tea. These are the basics of how to brew tea.
1. Begin by filling your teapot or kettle with fresh water – and, contrary to what you might think, that water should be cold. Water that’s been sitting around in your teapot will change the taste of the tea, and so too can very hot water straight from the sink.
2. Place your teapot on the stove, turn up the heat, and allow the water to come to a gentle boil. If your teapot whistles, wait for it to send out some steam and announce that the water is ready to go.
3. Remove the teapot or kettle from the stove and pour a small amount of the hot water into your mug. This ensures that your cup will be warm as well as the water, creating a more consistent water temperature when you’re ready to drink your steeped tea.
4. Add your pre-made teabags, or your loose leaf-filled infuser, into the teapot itself. Make sure the tea is covered by the water. Whatever tea you have is the best one to use. Some people prefer using strictly organic teas, other people prefer whatever’s on sale, just do your thing, do you!
5. Leave the teabags or leaves to steep for the appropriate length of time (this depends on the type of tea and your desired flavor).
6. Remove the teabags or infuser from the teapot.
Once your tea is finished steeping and you’ve removed the leaves, it’s perfectly prepared to drink and enjoy. Just make sure you give it a chance to cool down a bit; otherwise, you might be enjoying your newly brewed tea with a burned tongue!
Want to Brew Iced Tea? Here’s How
If you prefer your tea served over ice rather than steaming hot, it’s important to know how to brew a cup of iced tea. The traditional brewing method should be changed slightly when you’re creating a cool beverage, as the flavor and strength of tea changes when ice is introduced into the mix. There are two ways to brew yourself a refreshing iced tea: hot brewing or cold brewing. While both methods are simple, the brewing style you choose will depend on which creates the best tea for your liking.
To create iced tea with the hot brewing method:
- Follow the above steps for brewing hot tea on the stove.
- Before you add your tea, pour the hot water into your pitcher or cup to fill it about halfway.
- Next, add your tea leaves or bags and allow them to steep for about three to five minutes.
- Before removing your tea, fill the pitcher or glass up with cold water. Remove the leaves or bags, and pour your brewed tea over ice to enjoy.
If you want to brew iced tea without any heat, follow these steps for the cold brew method:
- Place your tea of choice into a pitcher or glass.
- Using cold water, fill up your drinking vessel of choice. Make sure to cover your tea leaves or bags. If you’re making an herbal tea or using anything else, substitute accordingly. Turmeric tea is a very popular choice lately.
- Leaving the tea leaves or bags inside your pitcher or cup, place the entire mixture into the fridge. Allow it to steep for three to eight hours, cooling perfectly. When you’re ready to drink, simply remove the tea itself and add ice.
No matter which brewing method you prefer, there are a couple extra tips to keep in mind when brewing iced tea. First, remember that cold or cooled tea doesn’t hold its flavor as well as hot tea; in order to achieve the same taste, you will need to double the amount of tea used. Iced tea typically carries a bolder flavor to balance its chilly refreshment, so it’s best to use twice as much tea (whether loose leaf or bags) when brewing hot or cold.
Another tip to alter the flavor of your iced tea is to add your sweeteners differently depending on the brewing process. If you’re brewing with the hot method and pouring over ice, amp up the sweetness by adding your sugar while your drink is still piping hot – this will ensure it dissolves completely and creates a smooth sip. However, if you’re using the cold brew method, it’s best to change the type of sweetener you add in. Because granular sugar and sweeteners can’t dissolve completely in cold tea, try adding agave. This light liquid will smoothly disappear while offering the sweetness you seek.
How To Steep Carefully to Create the Perfect Tea Taste
So, you’ve mastered the basics of how to brew tea to the perfect temperature – but how long should you leave your tea leaves or tea bags to steep? Every tea is different, and brewing for different lengths of time will create different results. Some of us want to know how to brew strong tea, or perhaps a softer and lighter tea, while others are all about perfecting one type of tea brew. No matter your tea taste, there are a few basic steeping rules to keep in mind as you brew any tea.
The length of time a tea should steep for depends on its variety. Typically, the more delicate a tea is, the less steeping time it requires. Deeper, denser, and earthier teas will require longer steeps to fully draw out its flavor. However, it’s best to follow recommendations specific to your tea of choice. Below are guidelines for common teas.
• 1-2 minutes for: white
• 1-3 minutes for: green, oolong, and yellow
• 2-4 minutes for: pu-erh
• 3-5 minutes for: black and herbal
Of course, these lengths of time can be adjusted based on personal preferences and tastes. Not every tea is the same, though, so you may want to intensify the flavor by increasing the number of tea leaves or bags you use – just make sure you don’t leave your tea in to steep longer, as this can increase bitterness and not flavor.
Perfect Your Brewing Process
From hot water to the steeping time to the decision to use loose leaf versus tea bags, there’s so much that goes into your brew of tea. Now that you know the basics of how to brew tea, and how to develop a perfectly flavored cup, there are so many different ways to alter or personalize your tea. Sometimes, no matter how carefully you brew tea, the taste can be a bit off – go ahead and tweak your process, changing aspects like the steeping length, water temperature, or even amount of tea to get the tea of your liking. There are a few additional brewing tips to keep in mind if your tea isn’t turning out perfectly. Try some of the following tricks and tips if you want to make a change to brew your tea.
When starting the tea brewing process with cold water, ensure that your teapot or kettle is filled with perfectly cold liquid by allowing your tap to run for a few seconds. This will get rid of any hot or warm water that may come out as soon as your faucet is turned on. Additionally, it’s important to make sure that your tea water isn’t far too hot when it’s time to add your tea. Water that’s been vigorously boiling loses its oxygen, which can create a flat and undeveloped taste in your final cup of tea.
Before you toss your tea bag or loose leaves into the trash, think twice – some types of tea are perfect for multiple rounds of steeping. In fact, if you’re a fan of oolong, green, or white teas, try giving them another steep. Doing so can create an entirely different taste, allowing you to discover the subtle undertones and notes in these teas. With so many different ways to brew tea, every cup could be a new flavor – and you can use these basics of how to brew tea to develop your ideal method.