For something as common as tea making, it is quite surprising how people all over the world make some elementary mistakes when actually preparing it. While most people know how to make tea, it cannot be said that it is always made in the best possible or correct manner. We do not expect a ritual to be made out of tea drinking but do hope that you would keep the under mentioned pointers in mind the next time some tea is being brewed.
1. Adding boiling water to the pot
This is probably one of the most common mistakes made around the world when it comes to the preparation of tea. The thing to remember is that the tea leaves should not get burnt with the boiling water and instead slightly cooler water should be added to let the flavour and aromas of the tea come out. The exception to this rule is when making tea with an infusion. Boiling water is acceptable for this preparation.
2. Not using fresh water every time
While it may be convenient and time saving to fill up the kettle all the way, it is not prudent to boil the same water again and again. The minerals which are naturally found in the water get condensed and rise to the top of the water to form a film once its cools down. It is best to use the exact amount of water needed each time.
3. Adding extra tea to the pot
This is again a thing which has been part of folklore where it was common practise for housewives to add an extra spoon of tea ‘for the pot.’ In reality, tea gets wasted not just literally but also the fact that the flavour of the tea does not come out properly. The rule of thumb is to put one teaspoon of tea for each person drinking.
4. Putting milk at the wrong time
When making tea in a teapot, it is best to first add the milk to the cup. What happens as result of this is that the milk is allowed to mix well with the tea when it is poured and the milk also quickly heats up to the temperature of the tea. In the case of a teabag, however, it is better to add milk to the cup after brewing the teabag for a couple of minutes. Being thicker than water, the milk may get coated with the teabag and not allow the tea enough space to breathe.
5. Not removing the leaves after tea is prepared
What one must remember is that if the tea leaves are not removed after the tea has been prepared, it continues to brew in the pot. If the leaves need to be infused again, they can be removed and then used again when required. Most of the quality loose leaf teas can be infused multiple times and it is believed that the crème de la crème of teas can be used almost 10 times without losing any flavour.
6. Squashing the teabag against the side
This is another one of the very common mistakes that tea drinkers around the world make. Most of times, people are in a hurry and just want to squeeze the teabag out of the cup. What happens as a result of this is that the natural astringent tannins get released even further and make the tea more bitter than desirable. This is a mistake made by many tea drinkers who get used to the taste of the extra tannins as they think that this is what the taste of the tea actually is. It is best to lift the teabag out from the centre with the use of a spoon.
7. Adding milk and sugar to every cup of tea
There are certain types of teas which are best drunk without the addition of any milk or sugar. Lot of times people add milk and sugar to teas which are known for their flavour and aroma and end up with a cup of tea which is actually devoid of its finest qualities.
8. Not steeping the tea for the correct amount of time
This can be termed as the mother of all mistakes when preparing tea. Not all teas are the same and it would be best to know your type of tea and the correct amount of brewing time to bring the best out of the tea. What use is it to have tea and not get its best because of such a simple error?
9. Adding too many ingredients to the tea
This is a classic case of ‘too many cooks spoil the broth.’ While no one can be blamed for trying to experiment with their teas to come up with that magic blend, tea drinkers often end up adding a number of ingredients to their tea. The main purpose of adding anything to a tea is generally to correct some of the flavour deficiencies or imbalances.
10. Using poor quality water
If you are wondering why water makes such a difference, then do remember that water constitutes the majority of a cup of tea. People often use tap water to make tea as it is a quick and convenient option. The only way to get the best out of your tea is to use spring water or filtered water as these allow for the true flavour to come out and you end up with a superior cup of tea.
We do hope that these tips come in handy the next time you are brewing tea and maybe now you will now figure out why your cup of tea does not taste as good as the one made in the cafe down the road.