How do you make a good loose leaf tea in general?
I have heard all the arguments… milk before, milk after, pour boiled water in the pot, boil more water…etc…. And I am still very confused about the basics of making loose leaf tea. What if I want to make a fruit tea instead? Is that different from a green/black/white tea? And is it better to use a diffusing device or to just let the tea leaves float? And I also read that some teas steep at different temperatures…what’s with that??? As you can see, my research has made me more confused than I should be as a beginner. So please help me?
I’ll try to help as much as I can.
1) Milk before or after? I don’t put milk in my tea. From my research, milk before is tastier, milk after makes you look high-class. Don’t put milk in anything but black tea anyhow.
2) Pour boiled water in the pot? That’s for pre-heating the pot to produce a better cup of tea. It can be omitted, although all the tea authorities recommend it.
3) I’m not sure what you mean by a fruit tea, so I can’t help with that. If you mean a fruit-flavored tea, brew it like you would the base white/green/black tea.
4) It’s better to let the tea leaves float; they release their flavor better the more room they have. That is why tea snobs frown on tea balls; they don’t provide enough room for the tea to expand and the flavor isn’t as good. Either get an infuser basket for your mug, a teapot with a strainer built-in, or use a strainer afterwards over the cup as you pour. (I actually use a coffee press!)
5) Yes, different teas steep at different temperatures. Boiling works fine for black teas but will ruin most green teas. As a rule of thumb, use boiling water for blacks, water around 190 F for oolongs, water around 180 F for whites, and water around 170 F for greens. There are exceptions, but don’t worry about those now. Also, different teas steep for different amounts of time! Steep green teas 1-3 minutes. I haven’t yet figured out how to properly steep oolongs and whites. Experiment – tea is cheap, you can waste some figuring out how to make it.
Enjoy drinking good tea; you’ll never go back!
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