Written by Ellie May & Jill Stephenson (TWT Crew)
Call it the English blood in us crazy ladies but we’ve always been sticklers for following the rules of brewing tea. Warm the cup and pot, use porcelain, use loose leaf, one teaspoon per person and one for the pot, use fresh water every time, give your leaves space… How about we all take a bit of space from all the hard and fast rules and focus on what is important! When making the perfect cup of tea the main thing is that it tastes good for you and the people you may be serving it to right? Is there any way to ensure this happens? Yes!
Some rules were made to be followed so we set out to find the truth for all of us Tea Lovers! We researched to find some hard and fast rules about making the perfect cup of tea we came across a few theories and some good quality research. The Sun UK published a great article about the dangers of re-boiling water in the kettle. Did you know boiling it once is great as it removes the bacteria and kills germs, however re-boiling it over again can build up toxicity of chemicals like arsen, nitrates and fluoride! I don’t know about you but that defeats the purpose of drinking healthy tea, right! So tip out the old water, add some fresh water and one boil is a must for the perfect cup of tea.
Next…the age old battle of Loose Leaf Tea vs Tea Bag. Take a look at your loose leaf tea, you’ll notice that it is coarse, large grained and for blends you can recognise the individual ingredients. This is ideal as more often than not it means that the ingredients haven’t been processed within an inch of its life. However you can now get tea bags that use the whole ingredients rather than grinding them down to dust. Our deluxe range of tea bags use a pyramid design to allow us to use our loose leaf tea not milled down, so you get the full flavour in the convenience of the tea bag. Be careful with cheaper quality tea bags they can be great on the hip pocket but contain bleach, glues, synthetic fibres and even staples. If you really are a tea bag lover but trying to convert to drinking loose leaf try out our metal tea infuser, you can pop it in your lunch box or handbag with your favourite travel tin of tea and you have all you need for a great cup on the go.
What is your cup of choice? It may be a fine porcelain cup handed down through generations, maybe it’s a solid mug that you can wrap your hands around as you sip or maybe you drink on the go and you tend to order your tea from the café and drink on the run. Have you considered the environmental implications of this last act? Be it paper or plastic, biodegradable or otherwise, if you are trying to be a little more environmentally conscious it is time to stop using take away cups! There is a simple alternative, a handy ‘keep cup’. These cups come in a huge variety of sizes and styles and you can get anything from an artist created design to basic black. Not only will the earth thank you but there will be the added bonus of a better tasting cup of tea! A real English trick before making any cup of tea is to swish boiling water in your cup or kettle to warm the cup, plus you know your cup is extra clean.
There are so many variations when it comes to brewing time for tea that it would be impossible to list here, however a general rule when trying a new brew is to keep an eye on the colour, and taste test regularly. If you are serving tea to a group of people it is best to go for an average steep time of around 5 to 7 minutes for dark teas and 1-2 minutes for green teas. If you are trying to get a stronger taste of tea use more tea leaves rather than brewing it for longer, a longer brew can cause bitter flavours of some teas.
As with brewing time, the decision to add milk, sugar, cream, honey, lemon, or some Kahlua hehe is entirely up to the person drinking it. If you taste a tea for the first time, try it first without adding anything to it, you might be pleasantly surprised. To sweeten tea, consider options like honey and rice malt syrup before sugar as they provide anti-inflammatory properties. Even try cooling it with a touch of filtered water this can change the t
Ok so let’s revise what we have learnt today, our top tips for brewing the perfect cup of Tea:
- Use fresh water every time you boil the kettle
- Use loose leaf where possible or tea bags that do not mill down the leaves
- Use a quality cup that is good for the environment, give it a hot bath first
- Brew your tea to the perfect taste and colour, always refer to the directions for brew times
- Adjust the taste if needed with natural sweeteners and water
- Put your feet up and enjoy!
Happy tea drinking tea lovers, if you have any great tips feel free to share with us in the comments.