Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Three T’s of Brewing a Perfect Cup

Since tea is 99% water, you would think that it would be virtually impossible to prepare it incorrectly, however, that tiny one percent is the single component that makes or breaks a great tasting cup of tea. There is a proper way to prepare tea, and in many societies entire rituals are built around the act of preparing tea. For our purposes, we will keep it simple and just worry about the right tea, the right temperature and the right time.

The most delicate tea is white tea. Plucked as a tender bud and not processed, the white tealeaves are young and tender. The perfect temperature is 180 degrees and brew time is just about 6 minutes.

Next in line you have green tea which is barely processed. Still a young leaf at the time of plucking, green tea’s brewing temperature is 160 degrees and brew time is 3 minutes. Partially oxidized oolong tea goes through a partial oxidation process after plucking. Its perfect brewing temperature is 190 degrees and brew time is 4 about minutes.

Black tea is left to oxidize completely after plucking, and it is the most widely distributed tea in the world. The brewing temperature for black tea is to bring water to a rolling boil, remove from heat, pour over tealeaves and brew time is 4 minutes.

When you are brewing your tea, never boil your water for a prolonged period of time, because it will remove all of the oxygen from the water and leave your tea tasting a little flat. All of the brew times listed above are approximate, and as you get proficient at brewing your tea, you will discover the exact right time and temperature for your perfect cup of tea.