How to brew a perfect cup of tea

The act of tea making can be most simple or sophisticated depending on personal interest.  But either way to make a perfect cup there are three easy steps:

  1. Good water quality. Use only fresh cold water or filtered water. Boil water in a kettle. Do not let it boil too long (10 sec) and do not re-boil the same water.
  2. The right water temperature.  Different types of tea require a different water temperature: 
    Black tea needs boiling water (also herbal and fruit teas). The water for Oolong and Pu Erh teas should be 80°-90° degrees centigrade. Green teas (incl. white and yellow teas) only need a temperature between 65°-80° degrees centigrade. Please note that it takes about 5mins for one litre of boiling water to cool down to 90°, about 15mins to reach 80° and about 20mins to get down to 70° (in kettle with lid).
  3. The proper brewing time is essential for a flavourful cup of tea. Use one tea spoon of tea (hence the name) for one normal sized cup or adjust it depending on personal favour. Pour the water at the appropriate temperature over the tea leaves. Brew 2 to 5 minutes (up to 3 minutes tea stimulates after that it becomes more calming). Time: Infuse the tea for the time recommended by the tea supplier. This will usually be near to the following: Black tea: 3 minutes. Oolong tea: 2 minutes. Green teas: 2/3 minutes. White teas: 3/4 minutes. Tisane tea: 5 minutes. The longer the better for herbals with any health benefit likely to be seen after 20 full minutes.

After the time is up remove or separate the tea leaves/tea bag from the infusion as otherwise the resulting tea will taste bitter.

  • A set of proper tea accessory can add fun and convenience to tea making.  As discussed above, tea can be a germicide, there is no need to wash the tea pot with anything but water.  For some particular type of tea pots such as Chines ZiShaHu (purple clay pot), the longer they are used in tea making, the better quality and valuable they become as the clay turns mature after the chemical reaction with tea.

  • A cup of tea can be stimulating or calming, depending on the brewing time. Tea contains 3%-4% caffeine. Different to coffee the caffeine in tea is combined with a group of chemicals called Polyphenols. Polyphenols are slower dissolved in the brewed tea than the caffeine therefore in the first three minutes there is more caffeine in the tea hence the stimulating effect. After three minutes the polyphenols are dissolved, binding the caffeine and the tea has a less stimulating more calming effect. This is why the longer the tea infuses the less caffeine it contains.