In a previous post, I talked about my top 10 tips in a good tearoom. This week I’d like to talk about top 10 tips on how to make great tea.
MayKing Tea. Yes this is a pun on my name but there is nothing like making your own tea to guarantee it’s made just the way you like it. You may be aware that when making a pot of tea, the general rule of thumb is a teaspoon for each person and one for the pot. This applies to most teas, but I’ve found that for larger leaf tea, for example, High Mountain Oolongs, the extra teaspoon might not be needed. Just a little longer in the steeping may be all that’s required.
All in the steep. I mentioned steeping in the previous point but what does that mean? Steeping is the time allowed for the leaves to be sitting in the water. Steeping time can be a personal preference as some people may prefer a more robust cuppa than others, but this table may assist those new to teas. The best way really is to experiment with your tea and see what is best for you.
Yellow liquor. Yellow? Liquor? What is she talking about? J One thing I find as a common mistake amongst new tea drinkers is that some teas can impart a much lighter colour than the teabags we have grown used to, and thus the temptation is to brew the tea a little longer. For sensitive teas such as green teas, the steeping time can make a tea become bitter in taste which is not a desired outcome. So if the liquor (official tea term for liquid produced by the steeped tea leaves) is yellow, it might be that this is a desired colour. There are plenty of websites that will show you the correct colouring in any given tea.
Know your Temperatures. I mentioned in my previous point that green teas are steeped time-sensitive and the same goes for temperatures too. Oolong teas are renowned for being a forgiving tea as one can sometimes get away with using a higher temperature on them, but no such luck for green teas. Here is a quick guideline on the best temperatures to use for each category:
The easiest way to determine the temperatures would be to pop the kettle on. Once the kettle has boiled, wait 2 mins for the perfect Oolong temperature before making the tea and a good 3-4 mins before making for green/white teas. Although as I’m encouraging us all to take time with tea, I would recommend staying by the kettle and look for the differing water temperatures. The initial murmur and rumbling of the water is about 158-185oF (70- 85oC): perfect for white/green teas. When the water is dancing a little bit more and bubbles start to appear and a louder rumbling can be heard, this is around 194oF (90oC): ideal for oolongs and when the water is boiled, this is perfect for all other categories.
Infusion. Loose leaf tea can often be an exciting experience for those new to tea especially once they realise that good quality loose tea can be infused several times. What I mean by this is that the same teaspoon of leaves used to make a cup of tea can be reused again to make a second, even a third cuppa depending on the type of tea.
Not sure? Ask! The wonderful world of the Internet means that you can obtain answers on tea pretty quickly. I have had people asking me on Twitter or Facebook lots of questions about tea. There are plenty of tea specialists to ask in the wonderful world of Social Media, so go ahead, ask me a question!
Gaiwan, Teapot, Infuser, Mug. What is wonderful about the world of making tea is that there is a huge variety of tea ware and tea accessories to choose from. From the practical Gaiwan to the vast array of teapots such as the easy pouring Kyusu, the heat conserving Tetsubin, a tea infuser, making your own tea bags or by simply using your favourite mug, remember it’s easy to make good tea, just choose whatever method works best for you.
Tea to go! There are plenty of vessels you can use to take good loose tea with you everywhere you go. If you live in a sunny climate, it is advisable not to keep your tea in a plastic tub as I realised coming to Australia, but using a small metal canister ensures the plastic smell doesn’t seep into the tea leaves and thus spoiling your cuppa. It also means that if you can’t find a tearoom serving great tea, you no longer have to endure poor quality tea. Some places might charge you for a pot of hot water but it’s better than having bad quality tea isn’t it?
Enjoy Good Tea. To accompany my tea canister I ensure I can enjoy good tea everywhere I go by using my wonderful Travel Mug. I’ll pop into a café or coffee outlet and ask the staff to top up my Travel Mug with a bit of cold water, followed by hot water. Sometimes I need to pay but that’s okay as it ensures I have great tea all the time! Many online tea stores stock Travel Mugs and although the leaves do steep in the water all day, if a lower temperature than normal is used to make the tea (see the temperature section above), I find that this overcomes the problem of oversteeped teas. If using a Travel Mug it is best to drink a temperature-forgiving tea such as an oolong, herbal infusion, black tea or pu’erh. Green and white teas tend are not as great sitting in water and has more chance of tasting oversteeped and bitter.
And finally… My mission is to bring the teapot back and to encourage us all to take time with tea. So step away from your workspace, pop the kettle on, go through your tea making ritual and empty your mind. You never know: that eureka moment for your work may appear at any time if you make time for it. Enjoy some me time with tea, or share tea with family and friends, just remember to make time for making tea.
Take the 1st letter from each tip and what do you get? My top 10 tips for MayKing Tea.
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