Brewing the perfect cup of tea doesn't have to be a mystery.
When out at a café or tearoom, you may ask yourself, "Why doesn't my tea taste this good at home?" With a few basic tools and guidance on how to make a proper cup of tea, you'll be steeping a delicious cuppa every time. Let us help you take the guesswork out of your brew.
In summary, it's all about the tea, the water, the temperature, and the environment. If you're looking for a quick basic guide on how to make good tea, please check out our Tea Brewing Guides.
Choosing the right tea
The perfect brew starts with the right tea leaves. There are three main elements to remember: Quality, Freshness, and leaf size.
Making sure you have high-quality tea from a reputable source will ensure the most delicious and best cup of tea. Unless you are purchasing deliberately aged tea, be sure your tea is fresh and stored in a cool, dry area away from strong smells. This is especially important for green.
Finally, consider the size of your leaf. Using crushed-up leaves in tea bags is convenient, but sticking with full, loose-leaf tea will help you extract more tea flavors for a memorable cup.
Keep in mind: A bigger leaf doesn't always mean a higher-quality tea. Some tea leaves are naturally small, and others can be rolled into small ball-shaped leaves.
So be sure to take the tea type and processing style into consideration. To learn more about tea types and leaf sizes, check out our blog posts on tea education.
Getting the Right Ratio
You have the right tea, and now you need the right amount of leaf for your brew. Using too much tea will create a bitter and undrinkable brew. Using too little tea will create a weak, flat cup.
As a rule, we use 6 grams of tea for 1 cup of boiled water.
Using the Best Water
Good tea starts with good water. If you don't drink the water straight from your tap, don't use tap water for your tea! We recommend always using filtered water or spring water if available. You will let the pure tea taste shine through. Bottled water is also a good choice.
Mastering Tea Temperature
Tea temperature can be challenging. Each tea type, from green tea to black tea, requires different water temperatures. A variable-temperature electric kettle or thermometer can be an extremely useful tool. If you use the wrong temperature, your tea can become too bitter or not extract enough flavor.
To make sure you have it just right, check out our post on how to brew loose-leaf tea.
Keep in mind: A variable temperature electric kettle or thermometer can be an extremely useful tool to make sure you are getting the right water temperature.
Choosing the Right Gear
You don't need fancy teaware to make a perfect cup of tea, but you need something large enough to let your loose leaves unfurl in the hot water. You can use a glass or clay teapot, a mug, or cup of the right size. Just make sure it's large enough for the leaves to open and steep properly.
When it's time to pour the tea, removing the leaves after the proper steep time is key. Using an infuser basket to easily remove the tea bag or loose leaves could also be helpful. Or, simply pour out the entire brew into a separate cup once it's ready. Just don't let the leaves sit in the water for too long, unless you drink your tea grandpa-style.
Keep in mind: Warming the vessel before you steep your tea helps maintain the perfect brewing temperature.
Setting the Stage
What we deem as one of the most important points in achieving a delicious cup of tea is the environment. Paying attention to your setting will help your tea taste better. Drinking a vintage oolong while listening to Blossom Dearie will most likely taste different than drinking the same tea with backstreet boys full blast.
Hot Tea or Iced Tea
For hot tea, remember to warm the vessel before steeping your tea to maintain the perfect brewing temperature. If you prefer iced tea, you can either brew your tea hot and let it cool down before refrigerating or use the cold brew method to extract unique tea flavors.
Mood and time of day
You may want a more robust brew in the morning, so brewing an herbal tea or a lightly caffeinated tea in the morning may not satisfy your craving. Saving those herbals for after-dinner may provide a nice way to unwind after a busy day. Much of it is personal preference, and if you’re still stumped on what type of tea to choose, take our tea quiz, to find the right tea for you.
If it’s very warm outside, you may want a cold brew or iced tea. Or if it’s chilly, a roasted, warming tea may be more appropriate. When selecting your tea, listen to your body and how it’s reacting to the weather.
Getting ready for an afternoon tea but you are in a noisy environment? Perhaps moving away from the window would help. Playing music you enjoy will also help with your tea experience.
Keep It Simple
Making the perfect tea, be it hot tea or iced tea, is easy with just a few tips and tools. Tea leaves are forgiving, and it's important to play around with your leaves and hot water ratio to see what you like best. Just a little time and attention will ensure a delicious brew every time.
In conclusion, learning how to make the best tea doesn't have to be a complex process. From choosing the right tea leaves to using delicious water and proper brewing techniques, your journey toward a perfect tea experience is within reach.
Whether you're a fan of green tea, black tea, or any other variety, the art of tea brewing is all about finding the right balance that caters to your personal preference.