How to brew the perfect cup of tea using loose tea

For a true tea connoisseur or loyalist, there are very few things which could match the satisfaction that they derive from top quality loose leaf tea. After all, this was the original way in which tea was consumed around the world till innovations like tea bags and others came around.  It is still arguably the most common way in which tea is made all over the world.

Even today, experts will agree that the best cup of tea is made by using loose leaf tea. There are many variations of tea as well as different methods of preparing it. Very often, even the best specialty teas from around the world lose their essence and quality because they are not prepared in the correct manner. We take a look at the ways in which to brew the perfect cup of tea using loose tea for some of the more common categories.

1. Black Tea

The most popularly consumed variety of tea in the world for generations

  • Start off by warming the teapot with some water which can then be disposed. Otherwise, the tea would not brew in the best manner possible.
  • Add tea according to the number of drinkers. The traditional rule says one teaspoon for each person and an extra for the pot.
  • The next part could make or break the quality of the cup. It is best to use fresh water to boil since water which is already boiled before would have lost a good amount of oxygen. Such water would bring down the cup quality since it will not brew properly.
  • After it reaches the required boiling point, the water can be poured straight onto the tea. Allow the tea and its properties to blend in with the water for a couple of minutes and then it is ready to drink. Depending on personal preferences, milk or lemon and sugar can be added. For an interesting twist, add things like cardamom, cinnamon, and ginger to get your own cup of masala tea.
Leaf amount Temperature Brewing time
2-2.5 gms 100 C 3-5 minutes

2. Green Tea

Considered to be the propeller for health benefits associated with drinking tea

  • Start off by warming the teapot with some water which can then be disposed. Otherwise, the properties would not mix together in the best manner possible.
  • The traditional measurement rule says one teaspoon for each person and an extra for the pot.
  • After that, the thing to remember is that the water must be stopped just short of boiling point in the case of green tea. Otherwise, if boiled too much, the tea would taste unnecessarily bitter and harsh. If boiled too less, the balance of the amino acids (responsible for flavour and sweetness) and tannins (responsible for astringency and bitterness) could also go wrong and not allow the cup quality to be on par with what it should be.
Leaf amount Temperature Brewing time
1-1.5 gms 75-80  C 2-3 minutes

3. Oolong Tea

This unique semi oxidised tea varies greatly in oxidisation levels when undergoing manufacture

  • Start off by pre heating the teapot with some water which can then be thrown away.  The tea would not brew in the best manner possible if the teapot cools down fast.
  • Add tea as per the number of drinkers. The conventional law says one teaspoon for each person and an extra for the pot. In case of oolong, if the tea is rolled into ball like shape, the above measurement stands but if the leaf is flat and open, the amount needs to be doubled.
  • Oolong tea (because of the various oxidisation levels) is generally heavy and thick with woody/earthy tones or it is light with sweet vegetal flavours and is best prepared at higher temperatures.
  • One thing which differs in the traditional preparation of oolong compared to other types of tea is that it can be rinsed with some hot water before starting the actual preparation. The loyalists of this category of tea believe that the rinsing allows for more of the flavour to come in for the first steeping.
  • Oolong can be steeped for a minimum of 30 seconds before drinking but most tend to allow a few more minutes. If not steeped for very long, the same leaves can be used for another round of tea drinking.
Leaf amount Temperature Brewing time
2-3 gms 85 C 3 minutes

4. White Tea

Gaining more drinkers around the world because of lesser caffeine and higher number of catechins

  • Pre heating the teapot with some water will help to regulate temperatures and it is believed that this allows for a better cup quality in the final product.
  • The traditional rule says one teaspoon for each person and an extra for the pot. In this case, it could vary depending on the strength of the tea and the amount of people drinking it since there are different types of white tea which appear in a number of shapes and forms.
  • White tea is made at temperatures lower than black tea and is meant to be steeped for a similar duration to get that perfect cup. It is said that pouring hot water directly onto the leaves should be avoided. To get the best effect, water should be poured from a lower height on the sides of the container in which it is being made.
Leaf amount Temperature Brewing time
2-3 gms 75-80 C 4-6 minutes

These parameters should in no way be considered as the only way in which these types of teas can be prepared. This is a general indicator to start off with and then in the future, adjustments can be made as per personal preferences.

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