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Brewing Tea

Tea is becoming a popular beverage and new tea drinkers are asking for clear, easy instructions on how to brew. For those people who are new to tea or veterans of the fabulous beverage, there are a few simple steps to a perfect cup of tea. The first step to brewing the perfect cup of tea is to heat the teapot before adding tea. To do this, all one needs to do is add boiling water to the teapot and swirl it around to bring it up to temperature. Pour it out and select your favorite tea. Keep in mind that adding boiling water to a cool teapot will immediately cool the hot water and the concept is to maintain the proper steeping temperature.

PG Tips Tea Bag

The second step is selecting either loose leaf tea or tea bags. For those people who choose to use loose leaf tea, a large teapot with a tea strainer is a good place to start. A large teapot is ideal for this type of tea to allow the hot water to circulate and allow the leaves plenty of room to bloom during the steeping process. Tea bags are also suitable for making a perfect cup of tea, but they do not give the tea enough room to move about during the steeping process. Fortunately, many newer teabags are of a pyramid shape alleviating this problem. Regular tea bags routinely use fannings and tea dust to enhance flavor. Also, be sure to move the bag around a few times to circulate the water. Now that you have selected loose leaf tea or tea bags, it is time to mention measuring your tea. Measuring tea is very important to ensuring a pleasant flavor and aroma. The typical rule is to use 1 teaspoon of tea per cup (8 oz.) of water for a perfect cup of tea. If you are brewing a pot of tea then the ratio is 1 teaspoon per person plus one for the pot. Along the line of measuring water and tea, one needs to pay attention to the temperature of water used. Different teas achieve their best taste when using the optimal water temperature. For example, both green tea and white tea taste best when brewed with steaming water (150°-180°F).

Loose Tea

The final step in making the perfect cup of tea is proper steeping times. I will admit it is very easy to over steep tea and produce a cup that is less than pleasing. A general rule of thumb is the heavier the tea, the shorter steeping time. For example, black tea will steep for 2-5 minutes in water at a rolling boil, whereas green and white teas need to steep for 1-4 minutes in steaming water. Herbal teas are steeped for 5-7 minutes in water that is at a rolling boil. Do these ideas inspire you to brew a perfect cup of tea? I do not know about you, but I am ready to get my teapot, strainer, tea, and teacup and enjoy a delicious cup of tea. My favorite tea is Black currant tea manufactured by the English Tea Store. What is your favorite flavor of tea? Please, leave a comment and share. It is always exciting to hear from readers. Enjoy!

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Tea Field

Tea Field

The love affair that many people have with drinking tea is one that has grown slowly over time. What starts off as a casual acquaintance blossoms into an amorous fascination. There have been many lists created with reasons as to why you ought to drink more tea, but love has so little to do with logic.

  1. Fall in Love over and over and over – There are so many teas to try, that this romance never need grow tiresome. Should your love’s light start to dim, rekindle the flame with a new type of tea or a new tea company.
  2. Tea Brews Lasting Friendships – the next time your friend is sick, don’t just bring them tea – show them how much you care by brewing them some tea. It doesn’t take long, it just takes love.
  3. Tea Loves the Planet – Imagine fields of tea plants assisting in creating breathable oxygen. Tea is the 2nd most consumed beverage (after water) and that means lots of plants, exchanging carbon dioxide and supporting a healthier environment. Mother Earth says to drink your tea!
  4. Calm Minds = Open Hearts – Use the steeping time to practice meditation. For 3-5 minutes close your eyes, inhale slowly and gently exhale. Repeat until tea is steeped. Continue on your way with renewed calm, presence and energy that come from conscious breathing meditation.
  5. Love Sets You Free – Even The National Cancer Institute suggests drinking tea (and conscious breathing) as a way to help you quit smoking. Drinking tea can help you overcome addiction to cigarettes and alcohol. Being able to live your life free from these substances will greatly improve your quality of life. Possible side effects may include being addicted to tea. 😉
  6. Live and Breathe With Love – Studies show that the fluoride in tea assists in preventing cavities. Antioxidant material found in tea can also help to prevent halitosis by killing bacteria in the mouth.
  7. Love is For Everyone – If you have tea then you have what you need to throw a party. Whether 3 people or 23 people, tea adds to any gathering. Invite a new neighbor, catch up with an old friend, enjoy the warmth of family, celebrate someone’s birthday or just because it’s Monday! Show your love by sharing it with others.

Madam Potts blog, Mad Pots 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 this article’s author and/or 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.

By A.C. Cargill

Tea drinkers like gold, the rich color telling of rich taste. I’m talking about their tea “liquor” (the liquid resulting from the water pulling out the flavorful essence from the tea leaves) — from the pale yellow of Green Spring Snail (Bi Luo Chun) to the dark amber of Yunnan Red Gongfu. And many more.

Gold is also seen everywhere in nature at this time of year as the leaves of aspens and maples turn gorgeous hues. Gold ornaments are brought out of storage to adorn Christmas trees. Gold in necklaces, brooches, and other jewelry takes center stage as gift lists are readied. (Who wouldn’t want the touch of King Midas, at least for a day or two?) Gold stars are brandished in schools as a sign of high academic achievement (at least they were when I was in school). Then, there are gold medals in the Olympics, awarded in recognition of an athlete’s top performance against a field of competitors. And so on.

For me as a tea drinker, the best gold is the “golden pour.” Nothing beats it!

The “golden pour” is that first flavorful cupful of tea “liquor” from a freshly brewed pot.

Every drop of tea is full of the best essence infused from the tea leaves, resulting in a taste that is the epitome of what can be attained. It is a true gold medal performance, where the molecules of water have coaxed the molecules of “tea-ness” from the leaves.

Here’s how this tea “gold” is achieved:

  • Start with the best quality tea you can afford. Just as you want fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh baked breads and dairy, and choice cuts of beef to make a “golden” meal, you want to start with fresh, quality tea.
  • Don’t forget the water quality! Icky-tasting water will not magically produce heavenly-tasting tea (the essential attribute of the “golden pour”).
  • Gain knowledge about how to properly brew the tea. No matter how good your ingredients, if you don’t know how to prepare them, no “gold” will result. I’ve learned this the hard way when trying new food recipes.
  • Assemble the items you’ll need. Having everything ready at hand is the secret to success for many chefs and touted by TV personalities like Martha Stewart, Alton Brown, and Rachel Ray.
  • Proceed with the preparation. Fortunately, tea is a lot simpler to make than Quiche Lorraine or Beef Bourguignon, but you may still need a few trials and errors to get the tea tasting the way you like.

Remember that, just as in any recipe you’re following, the rules for preparing tea are not chiseled in stone. You can add an extra pinch of salt, dash of cayenne, or clove of garlic to your stew or chili. So, too, you can alter the length of time you let your tea steep, how much you use (general rule is a teaspoon per cup plus one extra for the pot), and whether you use tap, filtered, or bottled water (whichever tastes best to you). What you add to your tea, if anything, will also be a matter of personal taste. Milk/cream, sugar, honey, artificial sweetener, lemon, mint leaves, etc.

Having concluded the preparation, you are ready for that “golden pour.” Fortunately, this is the simple part. Just pour. (If you used loose tea, pour through a strainer.) Then, do yourself a big favor: clear your mind of clutter, carry your cup to a quiet spot, take a few relaxing deep breaths, close your eyes, and lift the cup to your lips. Before sipping, inhale the fragrance. Then, take a light sip, letting the tea excite all the nooks and crannies of your palate on its way down your throat. Feel the warmth as it travels down inside you.

You’ve just experienced the “golden pour.” Unfortunately, the tea will change in flavor, scent, and color as it sits in the pot. It will probably still taste good, especially if you followed the first step above (starting with quality tea), but it will not be the same.

Salut!

Don’t forget to stop by A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill!

I know you’re probably familiar with iced tea blends sold in the stores specifically to make iced tea, such as Luzianne and Lipton Cold Brew. However, did you know that you can make a much more delicious iced tea out of absolutely any tea leaves using special methods of brewing the tea? There are actually a few good methods for brewing iced tea, which I will explain in detail below. The method you choose is entirely up to you, as all of these methods will result in a great iced tea.

Flavored Black Tea

The Coffeemaker Iced Tea

Iced Tea MakerThey actually do sell electric tea makers which are nothing more than modified coffee-makers, which is one way you can brew your tea leaves quickly and easily. Brew the same way you would coffee, except replace the ground coffee beans with tea leaves in the filter. Use double the amount of tea leaves than what you would use if you were making hot tea, and once you’ve brewed the tea, simply pour it over a pitcher half full of ice cubes and you have instant and easy iced tea!

Overnight Brew Iced Tea

Using cold or room temperature water, add 2 tsp of tea per cup of water and allow it to stand in the refrigerator overnight, then strain into a second jug or pitcher in the morning or after at least 6 hours.

Simple Iced Tea

Brew up the tea on the stove using the same amount of tea you would use for hot tea, adding any sweetener you would like, then allow to cool slightly before transferring into a pitcher and allowing it to cool in the refrigerator for a couple hours. Serve over ice.

Iced Tea
Iced tea is easily one of America’s great contributions to the world of tea, and is so refreshing in the heat of summer. All of the above methods are good for making your iced tea, but remember that the resulting tea is only as high of quality as the tea leaves and water used to create the tea. Using high quality tea leaves and filtered or purified water will greatly enhance the quality of your iced tea brews.

Tea WaterEveryone knows that good tea leaves are essential to making good tea. But what some folks forget is that the tea in our cup is mostly water, making the quality of the water as important as the quality of the leaves!

Here are some water-related tips to help you get, and use, the very best water for your tea:

Bottled Water

  • Many tea-drinkers swear by spring water to make their tea, but it is important to know that not all bottled water is spring water. Some of it is simply purified tap water, and some is distilled water, which will give your tea a flat taste. Read labels carefully!

Water Filters

  • A water filter is your best bet for eliminating odors and tastes that will ruin the flavor of your tea
  • Be sure to change filter cartridges regularly
  • If you have a pitcher or counter top filter dispenser, be sure to keep it clean as mold and other disagreeable substances can collect inside and give water an “off” taste

Fresh Cold Water is Best

  • Water that is fresh and cold has the best flavor and the most oxygen. Don’t be tempted to “cheat” and use hot tap water in order to achieve a quicker boil. Your tea won’t taste as good!
  • If you are using a water filter pitcher, fill it up each time you make tea. If stored in a refrigerator, water in a filter pitcher will take on that refrigerator’s odors

Bringing it to a BoilTeapots

  • Avoid using a microwave to heat your water, microwaved water can make your tea taste flat
  • Use a stove top or electric kettle to heat your water, and be sure to keep it clean and descaled

Ice Cubes are Water, Too!

  • If you enjoy iced tea, remember to use filtered water in your ice trays
  • If you have an ice maker, be sure to keep it clean and to change its filter regularly
  • Remember that the ice in your freezer will absorb any odors in your freezer

[Editor’s note: Our blog is chock full of great articles on this topic. Use our search feature to find them!]

© 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 this article’s author and/or 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.

There are a number of advantages to using an electric kettle instead of a conventional stove top kettle, and some are more obvious than others. The most easily recognizable advantages of electric kettles are those associated with convenience. Since they are specifically designed for the purpose of heating water, electric kettles tend to be much more efficient than stove top Cup of Teakettles–a couple of liters can heat up in 3-4 minutes, compared with closer to 10 minutes using a range with a heating element. Additionally, an electric kettle focuses most of its energy toward heating the water, while different stove tops present a varying amount of electricity waste caused by escaping heat that doesn’t come into effective contact with the water.

In some cases, a stove top kettle is not even an option–college dorm rooms and hotel rooms are often ill-equipped to accommodate the simple pleasure of a cup of tea, and an electric kettle is a portable and extremely easy solution. Kettle Starter KitFinally, if you’re forgetful like me, you might sometimes find yourself racing across the house to silence the ear-splitting shriek of a tea kettle that has been boiling too long. Electric kettles also solve this problem by automatically shutting off when the water temperature reaches boiling–many even have a feature that prevents the kettle from boiling dry, which can result in disaster for a stove top kettle.

Though the efficiency and energy-saving auto-stop features of electric kettles make for a strong economic argument (who wouldn’t want a kettle that eventually saves enough money to pay for itself?), there are some deeper, less obvious benefits that will make even the quickest cup of tea even better. Many people are not aware that water loses its vibrancy if it is boiled for too long–over-boiled water tastes flat, and tea made with it usually won’t live up to its full flavor potential. Again, the auto-stop electric kettle feature easily remedies this problem. What’s more, many electric kettles have extra insulation to keep the water hot and prevent the need for re-boiling.

Chef's Choice Electric Kettle

Electric kettles are perhaps most indispensable to tea drinkers who love green and white teas, which require considerably cooler water to prevent incorrect brewing and unpleasant bitterness and harshness.  Taking a conventional kettle off the stove at the correct temperature can be difficult, since there is really no easy way to measure the temperature while it is inside the kettle. Boiling the water and leaving it to cool to the correct temperature is an even more difficult proposition. Luckily for green and white tea lovers, some electric kettles have been sensitively designed with the specific needs of these teas in mind. Specific temperature settings can be adjusted and the kettle’s internal thermometer provides exact measurement when it is the most crucial.

Electric kettles can be found for a variety of prices–many are even less expensive than conventional stove top kettles. Though some may prefer a less technological method of water preparation in favor of a more old fashioned aesthetic, electric kettles have become a viable, economical, and reliable option available to optimize any tea lover’s daily ritual.

[Editor’s note: Our blog is chock full of great articles on this topic. Use our search feature to find them!]

© 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 this article’s author and/or 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.

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© Online Stores, LLC, and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, LLC., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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