How is tea made? Simple: boil the water, put the sachet and after a while remove it … right? No, very wrong. Preparing tea is an art and following the rules means creating a totally different drink from the one we are used to, absolutely better and more inviting. Seeing is believing!
I then tell you my 3 tricks for a perfect tea.
Trick No. 1: water
Are all waters equal for making tea? The answer is no. I don’t know about you, but I initially used tap water but in some areas of Italy it is too limestone and, in addition to destroying the kettles, it alters the taste of the tea.
The ideal water is natural mineral water (bottled for instance) with low fixed residue (around 23 mg / l is perfect. Stay below 50 mg / l) and a neutral Ph (7).
To prepare the Long Jing they say that the best water is that of the Source of the dragon, near the village that gives its name to this fantastic Chinese green tea … here, just to reiterate that water is important, do not underestimate it especially if you have to use very valuable leaves.
Microfiltered water? I use it in everyday life for convenience.
Trick No. No. 2: temperature
As I mentioned for herbal teas and infusions, you should not boil water. The only exception is the decoction! In this regard, the Chinese say that boiled water is “dead water” because it eliminates all those components, such as oxygen, which favor the development of aromas and scents in your tea.
How is the water temperature measured? In the market, there are thermometers for tea but also kettles with the possibility of setting the temperature (very comfortable!).
And it’s not over here. We can say that in general, every tea family has its own infusion temperature. Not respecting it can change the taste of your tea a lot, especially if it is green tea. To simplify things we can use this scheme:
- white teas: 80 – 85 ° C
- yellow teas: 80 – 85 ° C
- Chinese green teas: 80 – 85 ° C
- Japanese green teas: 70 – 75 ° C
- oolong tea: 85 – 95 ° C
- black (oxidized) teas: 85 – 95 ° C
- fermented teas: 90 – 95 ° C
You can buy the thermometer in specialized shops or online. Mine is available on Amazon.
I then asked for a kettle as a gift and I must say that it is very convenient. Mine is from Philips and you can find it at this link: Philips HD9380 / 20 Kettle with digital temperature control – Avance Collection –
A question that many people have asked me in these years of blogging: can I heat water for tea in the microwave? I would say no because temperature control is difficult. Better rather than the classic small pot on the stove. Are you in a hurry in the morning? Ok, I understand you, then, in this case, I can also give you an exception to the rule but never do such a thing with good teas, maybe in leaves!
Trick No. 3: infusion time
Nigella Lawson says she leaves the tea bag in the cup for hours. Here, despite the fact that she comes from what was universally known as the home of tea, England (things are changing but, unfortunately), it is not really the best solution.
To prepare a cup of tea correctly, the infusion times of the various tea families must be respected. Unlike temperatures, these are not so rigid but may depend on the technique used (western infusion or oriental infusion) but also on personal taste.
Compare various methods to keep time here
I try to simplify everything with a scheme that groups together the infusion times that I like (so don’t take them as universally accepted!):
- white teas: 3 – 4 minutes
- yellow teas: 3 minutes
- Chinese green teas: 2.30 minutes
- Japanese green teas: 2.30 minutes
- oolong tea: 3 – 4 minutes
- black (oxidized) teas: 2.30 – 3 minutes
- fermented teas: 3 minutes
If you like strong tastes, especially with regard to black teas, increase the infusion time up to 5 minutes. Beware of green teas: in addition to the three-minute infusion, they become astringent (do you know the sensation on the palate of an unripe persimmon? Bleah!) And bitters, that’s why many people say “I drink green tea because it is good but I don’t like it” and I say “maybe you’re wrong”. But if you like green tea so bitter, continue to prepare it this way. Preparing and drinking tea should be a pleasure as I tell you in the review of the book Tea-Spiration.
And remember: never put the sachet or the leaves in hot water but always do the opposite: pour the water on the sachet or on the leaves.
As always in the cards of the various teas tasted by the Five-O clock there are the more specific indications for the correct preparation but with this guide, I wanted to give you some general information on the subject. Really, following these tricks will change your life and change the taste of your tea!
To learn more read the card of your favorite tea:
- Bai Mudan white tea
- Genmaicha green tea
- Jasmine green tea
- Hojicha green tea
- green tea Meng Ding Gan Lu
- Sencha green tea
- Fukamushi green tea
- matcha tea
- Long Jing green tea
- oolong tea Tie Guan Yin
- Dong Ding oolong tea
- Darjeeling black tea
- Assam black tea
- Lapsang Souchong smoked tea
- Keemun black tea
- black tea Nuwara Eliya