Teaspoons, and Temps, and Times, OH MY!
If you're a veteran in the world of tea, you know how important it can be to get all the components of your tea just right to create the perfect cuppa. If you're new to the world of tea, or the only type of tea you've experienced comes in cardboard box from the grocery store shelves, we'll need to have a chat about the "Teaspoons, Temps, and Times" of making a cup of loose leaf tea.
An introduction to the world of fine loose leaf teas isn't always an easy one. You learn that there's so much more to brewing the perfect cup than just a pot of boiling water and tea bag. You start to learn about TEMPS and TIMES and TEASPOONS (OH, MY!!) and you start to feel like you're not in Kansas anymore.
TEASPOONS, AND TEMPS, AND TIMES, OH MY!
Don't worry! We won't leave you out there on your own. We'll talk a little bit about each of these, but we wanted to point out that these are general guidelines or recommendations for how to brew. Every persons tastes vary, so don't be afraid to experiment with these a little.
The three most important things to pay attention to when brewing tea are the amount of tea used per cup of water (teaspoons), the temperature of the water, and how long you let the tea steep (time).
TEASPOONS - The first thing to consider is the amount of tea you should use. The general rule is to use 1-3
teaspoons of loose tea per 1 cup of water.
Some tea companies offer a "Perfect Teaspoon" that is supposed to measure the exact right amount of tea to use, but using a teaspoon from your own kitchen works just fine. Or you can eyeball it.
We recommend starting with 1 teaspoon and adjusting from there. This measurement in the brewing process is the most forgiving for you to experiment with. Adding more, or using less tea is the best way to adjust the tea to your taste.
TEMPERATURE - Out of the three variables in tea brewing, the temperature of the water you use is the least forgiving. The spread of misinformation from some popular tea companies is one of our biggest pet peeves at Apothecary Teas. If you pick up a box of black tea, a box of green tea, and a box of white tea from your grocery store shelf (notably the yellow box company that starts with an "L") and take a look at the brewing instructions on each. You'll see that you're instructed to brew all three teas using boiling water **cringe**.
Black tea is great when brewed with boiling water (212°), but green and white teas are too sensitive to temperatures to successfully withstand that high of a temperature. In another post, we'll talk about why different teas are more or less susceptible to different temperatures due to the way they're processed, but for now, just know that green and white teas should NEVER be brewed with boiling water. The too-high temperature causes the green and white teas to become bitter. And no one likes a bitter tea.
Though, you can play with the temperatures a few degrees, below is a chart of suggested measurements for different types of teas. We don't recommend you steer too far off of the recommendations for this one. Trust us, you'll notice the difference.
TIMES - As you can see in the graph above, the times also vary by tea type. For the most part, the length of brew time is about the same across the board. The variation in the time you brew your tea depends more on the hardiness of the tea leaf and less on how strong or weak you like your tea.
Our only strong recommendations here are to not brew past the recommended brewing time, as this can also make your tea bitter, and for especially delicate teas like our Jasmine Silver Needle (find it here!), only brew for 1-2 minutes.
That's it! See, that wasn't so intimidating. Brewing loose leaf tea isn't hard to do, but when you do it right, you'll get a better cuppa every time. Now go on and confidently sip that tea!