How do you make a perfect cup of tea
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How do you make a perfect cup of tea?

How to make a perfect cup of tea

If your brew is a little less than deliciousness in a cup, here are a few things you can do to get the most perfect cup of tea.

Below, get tips first for black tea drinkers, then some hints for making a great cup of green tea.

For the perfect cup of black tea

QUALITY: For tasty black tea, the number one place to start is with a good-quality tea, whether loose-leaf tea or tea bags. Keep your tea stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

MEASURE: You will want to be sure to measure the tea carefully. Typically you will use 1 tea bag or 1 rounded teaspoon of loose tea, for each (8-ounce) cup to be served.

ADD TEA: Place the tea leaves directly into a teapot and strain the brewed tea with a fine-mesh strainer into your cups, or use a basket infuser or a large tea ball in your teapot or cup. A tea ball or basket infuser should be filled no more than half full with tea so the leaves have room to expand for the best flavor.

COLD WATER ONLY: Use fresh cold water — skip hot tap water or water that has already been heated when making tea. Hot tap water and reheated/pre-boiled water have less oxygen and will give a “flatter” flavor. Let the water run from the faucet for a few seconds before filling the teapot so the stream can incorporate more oxygen. (Of course, you can use bottled or filtered water if your regular tap water is chlorinated, or has a taste you don’t like.)

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WARM IT UP: While waiting for your water to heat, preheat the teapot or cup/mug you will be using by filling it with hot water. Why? If the heated water for your tea is poured into a cold teapot or cup, the water temperature may drop several degrees and decrease the flavor extraction from the tea. It’s okay to use hot tap water for preheating — just don’t use that water for your tea.

BOILING HOT WATER: Generally, for black teas, bring the water to a rolling boil. Immediately pour the boiling water over the tea bag or leaves. Boiling water is said to “energize” the tea leaves, and, according to the UK Tea and Infusions Association, “extracts all the character and value efficiently from the tea.”



BREW TIME: Allow black tea to steep for 3 to 5 minutes. If you’re steeping your tea directly in a mug or cup, you may want to cover the cup while warming it with hot water, and while the tea is brewing to retain the heat. If you’re using a teapot, cover it with a cozy to retain heat during the brewing process.

MILKY TEA? The Brits say that if you’re brewing tea from a bag in a mug, adding milk in last is best.

TOO STRONG? If your tea comes out too strong, add more hot water after your tea has brewed, or more milk. If your tea is too weak, change it up next time — try using more tea, less water, or steeping it less.

Top View of Black Tea
Photo by oizostudios/Envato

For the perfect cup of green tea

QUALITY: If you want delicious green tea, the number one place to start is with a good-quality tea, whether loose-leaf tea or tea bags. Keep your tea stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

MEASURE: You will want to be sure to measure the tea carefully. Typically you will use 1 tea bag or 1 rounded teaspoon of loose tea, for each (8-ounce) cup to be served.

ADD TEA: Place the tea leaves directly into a teapot and strain the brewed tea with a fine mesh strainer into your cups, or use a basket infuser or a large tea ball in your teapot or cup. A tea ball or basket infuser should be filled no more than half full with tea so the leaves have room to expand for the best flavor.

CHOOSING YOUR WATER: A Cornell University study reported in 2019 found that people preferred green tea brewed using tap water more than using bottled water, because it produced a sweeter taste.

“But, when steeped in bottled water, the green tea contained about double the amount of the antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) — which makes it more bitter than tea brewed with tap water,” says Robin Dando, Cornell associate professor of food science.

“If you’re drinking green tea for its health properties, you should be using bottled water,” Dando said. “If you’re drinking tea for taste, tap water is better.”

COLD WATER ONLY: Use fresh cold water — skip hot tap water or water that has already been heated when making tea. Hot tap water and reheated/pre-boiled water have less oxygen and will give a “flatter” flavor. Let the water run from the tap for a few seconds before adding to the teapot to let it incorporate more oxygen. (Of course, you can use bottled or filtered water if your regular tap water is chlorinated, or has a taste you don’t like.)

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WATER BELOW BOILING: For green tea, which is more delicate than black tea, use water that is about 160 to 180 degrees F, or just below boiling. At this temperature, you will see some steam rise from the water. This lower temperature helps protect against a bitter or astringent taste in green tea.

How can you get the perfect water temperature for green tea? Let your water come to a boil, then remove it from the source of heat and allow to sit for ten minutes. Pour this hot water over the green tea and allow to brew for approximately one minute (or as your taste desires).

WARM IT UP: While waiting for your water to heat, preheat the teapot or cup/mug you will be using by filling it with hot water. Why? If the heated water for your tea is poured into a cold teapot or cup, the water temperature may drop several degrees and decrease the flavor extraction from the tea. It’s okay to use hot tap water for preheating — just don’t use that water for your tea.

BREW TIME: Brew green tea for about 3 minutes. Avoid letting your tea steep for too long, because this also can make it bitter. It may be handy to use a timer when brewing your tea, because the color of the tea isn’t necessarily an indicator of the tea’s taste.

If you’re steeping your tea directly in a mug or cup, you may want to cover the cup while warming it with hot water, and while the tea is brewing to retain the heat. If you’re using a teapot, cover it with a cozy to retain heat during the brewing process.

TOO STRONG? If your tea comes out too strong, add more hot water after your tea has brewed. If your tea is too weak, next time, try using more tea, less water, or not steeping it as long.



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