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Make Your Tea Taste Better

Loose Leaf Tea

Are you dissatisfied with your cup of tea? The reason for this may be you are making tea mistakes. Did you know tea leaves expand during the brewing process and tea can be brewed too long? Read on to see if you identify with any tea mistakes.

Mistake #1:    Several tea drinkers believe tea purchased at their local grocer is good quality. The reality is these tea bags contain dust and crumbs of tea leaves. In all actuality, tea tastes best when brewed from loose-leaf tea leaves.

Tea bags were invented 100 years as a way to send samples to customers. Therefore, the trend caught on and over the years severely affected the quality of the tea.

Mistake #2:    Using tea strainers that are too small. Most people who drink tea own a mesh infuser ball that can only brew one cup at a time. Rather than using a mesh infuser ball, it is a good idea to consider switching to a t- sac for brewing loose-leaf tea. Using a t-sac will create an improved tea drinking experience since there will be room for the tea leaves to expand releasing their flavor.

Mistake #3:    Brewing tea using tap or microwaved water. Tap water has a chemical aftertaste and microwaved has a slight metallic taste. Both of these factors can significantly affect a tea’s taste. Instead of using tap water placed in the microwave, the best choice is cold filtered water. You will notice a difference in the flavor of your tea.

Electric Kettle Starter Kit
Electric Kettle Starter Kit

Mistake #4:    Forgetting to shut off your kettle or not emptying it after each use. Unfortunately, many rust out inside or the bottom gets burned. I will admit purchasing a quality kettle can be costly, but it will pay for itself within the first few cups. To prevent your kettle from getting ruined do not leave the water boiling until it evaporates, empty the unused water every time, and leave the lid open so it can air dry.

Mistake #5: Incorrect water temperature or brewing the tea too long. Green teas need rapid steaming water and black teas need almost boiling water to brew properly. Green teas brew quickly in two minutes, whereas black teas need 3-4 minutes. Over brewing green tea makes it taste like an over cooked vegetable. Over brewed black tea has a bitter flavor.

Mistake #6:    Using cream or half-n-half instead of milk in tea. Cream and half-n-half camouflage the flavor of tea. All you need is a touch milk to enhance the flavor of your tea.

Tea Canister
Tea Canister

Mistake #7:    Tea is not stored properly. The best place to store tea is in a tea canister away from the stove. It needs to be protected from heat, light, moisture, and other flavors. Tea absorbs other flavors surrounding it. Therefore, if you place it next to cayenne pepper your tea will taste like cayenne pepper.

Do you make any of the tea mistakes? If you do, it is okay many fellow drinkers probably commit the same errors. If you are a lucky person who is a tea expert, that is fantastic. Either way, sit down and enjoy a cup of tea.

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A classic OLS/ETS blog entry originally published 02.03.2009

22 responses to “Make Your Tea Taste Better”

  1. i wanted to print this article, but all i got what pictures and the names of people who posted a coment. can you tell me what i need to do to get this article printed, thank you

    1. The article prints fine for me here. There are many reasons you may be experiencing difficulty printing. I would have no way to tell from here. Thanks for reading. 🙂

  2. can you give me an idea how to make a tea?

    1. Hi, Harold, do you mean how to steep tea or how to grow and process tea? If you mean steeping, our blogs has lots of articles on this. If you mean growing and processing, a quick online search will pop up lots of options. Thanks for reading.

  3. Could you tell me whether to put the milk in first or not, I was taught not to because it reduces the heat, but now I am not sure.

    Thank you


  4. What special instructions are needed in brewing/storing Oolong teas? Any?
    Would you recommend strainers or t sacs?

  5. I have never ever liked tea, my grandmom used to give this as medicine for my two brothers and I when we felt sick..Her mom, my greatgrandma used to read the tea leaves and for a small cost, during the depression years..but now as a older woman, I am going to tr y out tea again, I bought green tea,white pear tea,and black. My question is, i recently read that the tea should be absent any milk as that ruins the nutrients we drink tea to get? is this true? and how about adding a drop of pure vanillia extract to flavor it….

  6. When I pour the boiling water into the cup I get a “film” on the cup that I can’t seem to get rid of. What causes this? How do I make it stop? HELP!

  7. What actually constitutes a “cup” of tea? I have a 6 cup teapot, but it really only makes about 3 mugs. I usually put in 4 teaspoons of tea, but again, what I call a teaspoon is probably 50% more than an official teaspoon measure. So, I guess my question is how many heaping teaspoons would you use for my 6-cup teapot. Also, for a regular mug of tea (11-12 fl. oz.) would you use one heaping teaspoon? Thanks.

  8. I have been searching for a cabinet/chest to keep my tea in for the past year and unfortunately, I have found nothing that will suit what I need. I am looking for a chest that has 8-12 drawers in it that can sit on a kitchen counter so that teas can be seperated and kept conveniently near by. Do you have any suggestions of where to look?

  9. An Italian woman who was child when the Brits took over her grandparents country farmhouse as headquarters during World War II told me how the Tommys made their tea.
    First, you get a 50-gallon drum.
    Fill it with water and light a fire under it.
    When it begins to boil, toss in a (clean) sock filled with tea leaves and tied at the open end.
    When the tea is brewed, pull out the sock.
    Pour in sugar
    Pour in powdered milk

    1. Oh, and the first thing the Brits did was to repair the tennis courts.

  10. Amount of Leaf — If you have a tea that tastes watery at 3 minutes, but bitter at 3 minutes and one second. Consider adding more leaf. In general the more leaf, the shorter the steep time. I learned this the hard way with Japanese greens like Genmaicha, I was using too little leaf, and the tea lacked any real pronounced flavors. Though pretty much the amount of leaf is independent of the temperature.

    Water — I am probably not the best person to talk about this, but there is a lot of discussion among seasoned tea drinkers as to how water makes a difference. There are no set rules on this as tap water may be great in certain places but horrible in others, or one type of spring water contains different minerals than another type of spring water, or even reverse osmosis water contains basically no minerals. All of these things play a huge role in how tea will taste. My idea is if you have a consistent water source that you are happy with stick with it.

  11. This is an interesting post, thanks for sharing. The mistakes pointed out are common which we often do and it spoils our lovely taste of the tea. I use to brew the black tea too long, which turns it bitter. I tried different brands like Keemun Black Tea, Talbott Teas’s Black Tea, etc, still some or other problem will be there. Thanks for sharing the information, now I can take care of the fragrance, color and strong savor of my black tea.

    1. Hi Eugene!

      You are most welcome for the assistance. It really is amazing how minor changes in brewing tea can help make it taste better. Did you try any of the tips that worked better than others?

  12. I am hostessing a tea for 24 in April 2009. I would like advice on properly brweing tea for such a large group. I do not think I can maintain two dozen individual pots. If I use loose tea, can I add diffusers filled with loose tea to a very large pot of boiling water, maybe one that holds 48 cups of water?

    I realize it won’t taste as good as brewing smaller batches, but I am doing the work myself and am looking for a way to make it easier and faster, so I can relax and join my guests!

    Any advice on brewing for a bunch?

    Thank you,

    1. Hi Linda!

      I give you a tremendous amount of credit to be hosting a tea for 24 people. My suggestion to you is use 1 teaspoon of tea for each person, plus 1 for the pot. Therefore, use 7 teaspoons of tea to make 4 pots of tea; each would be enough for 6 people. Add your tea to each pot, let it brew, and when you pour it for guests definitely use a strainer. Let me know how it goes. 🙂

      Krystal Lane

  13. Thanks, i’ve been leaving my tea leaves in the strainer beside my sink and coffee maker for the past week, no wonder it was so gross!

    1. Hi Nivk!

      Glad to be of assistance! I do hope your tea has improved its taste. Enjoy!

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