How do you like your tea?
Brewing tea is as much about the brewing process as it is about enjoying the end result. Not only are there a wide variety of teas available to choose from but each has its own unique brewing method to achieve the best results. It can be a daunting task to try to learn each technique for each tea type.
However, there are mistakes that are common to tea brewing that everyone should avoid, especially those who are new to brewing the perfect cup.
Below are 3 of the most common tea brewing mistakes and how to avoid these.
Mistake 1 - The Water Temperature is Wrong
Most inexperienced tea drinkers are surprised to learn that not all teas are steeped in piping hot water.
According to the tea experts, temperature is an important factor in determining the end result.
For example, Oolong and some varieties of Green Tea are delicate and water that is too hot can bruise or damage the tea leaves changing the flavour. Other types of tea require a boiling hot temperature to fully draw out the flavour including herbal tisanes and red/blacks.
Read the brewing instructions on the packaging carefully to find the ideal brewing temperature for your preferred tea and invest in a thermometer to check the water temperature before brewing.
If the package does not specify an optimal water temperature, check out this handy guide to see how hot your tea should be.
Infographic: Crema Coffee Garage
If you have been brewing your tea at the incorrect temperature, you may be quite surprised at the difference in taste when you use the ideal water temperature.
According to the neuro-training team at Shenko Vitality, drinking tea can do more than just help you unwind after a long day. They explain “neuro-training can help you recover naturally. Using natural therapy like drinking perfectly brewed tea - which is richer in antioxidants - can have a dramatic effect on your skin, hair, and nails. Phytochemicals found in tea, when brewed with the right temperature, can protect against bone loss and give you stronger bones.”
Mistake 2 - Mixing Up Loose Tea Vs. Tea Bags
Purchasing tea bags may seem like an easy and convenient solution to brewing a perfect cup. It may even bring back fond memories of family and your parents or grandparents using this method to make tea.
The wide range of bagged teas available these days makes it even more tempting including the health fad varieties for detoxing or weight loss. However, tea bags contain the lowest grade of tea. This is by default as the quality tea leaves are picked out first and whatever remains is what goes in the bag - which is usually just dust and scraps.
Not only does this affect the flavour but diminishes all the other health benefits associated with a specific type of tea.
While buying loose leaf tea may seem more costly, it is well worth the quality and may even last longer as you probably use less and can even steep it twice. Plus you will be enjoying all of the benefits.
Mistake 3 - Making the Tea Too Sweet
Adding sugar to tea can help make your favourite tea even more enjoyable. Though this should always be done in a state of balance.
After all, healthy lifestyles deserve a little sweet treat now and then!
Tea has complex flavour profiles that require different levels of sweetness.
According to the nutrition experts at Get A Healthy Life, “too much sugar can be toxic to the body, and stimulate insulin to deposit the sugar as fat. For this reason you should always find balance with your tea sweeteners. As certain teas are naturally sweet you may not always need to add as much as you think”
Although it may take some time to become accustomed to the taste of your favourite tea without as much sugar, it will allow you to experience the full flavour profile.
If you are brewing your tea correctly, you should not miss the sweetness at all but rather enjoy all the new flavours that your taste buds are being introduced to. Many herbal teas have their own complex flavour profiles so it’s worth exploring those.
Don't let too much sugar or other sweeteners overwhelm the natural and subtle flavours of your tea. You may even enjoy experimenting with other varieties of tea as a result.
Brewing tea is a form of art that is intricate and while it may seem daunting can be very rewarding.
The ritual can be just as calming and beneficial as drinking that perfect cup. Just a little extra time and knowledge will help you master the art of brewing tea while avoiding all the common mistakes.
At the end of the day, drinking tea is a practice that extends back thousands of years. In fact according to yoga experts, it should be considered on a par with other modern forms of rest and relaxation. They explain “practising yoga gives you all-around fitness, improves your posture, strengthens your immunity and energy, assists in weight loss and gives you a more balanced reaction to stress. In the same way, the practice of drinking tea dates back to thousands of years and has been known to hydrate the body, cure ailments and relax the mind.”
So, how do you have your tea?
Let us know what you think makes for the PERFECT cuppa in the comments!
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Colyn Emery is a passionate freelance writer based in Sydney. She is a university student majoring in philosophy with a hunger to learn. Colyn loves to travel and in her spare time enjoys being a tourist in her own city. Passionate about animals, she loves all creatures great and small.