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Space Cowboy Space Cowboy is offline
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Default Brewing Tea - Water, Temperature, and Time

I always tell people if they can boil water they can make tea. They
can learn the variables later.

Jim

On Oct 15, 11:29 am, "Dominic T." > wrote:
> I just finished writing this for my blog (teasphere.wordpress.com) and
> thought it would be useful here possibly. I'd also be happy to take
> comments/criticisms or additions. i get a lot of questions about
> actually brewing tea and most people are intimidated and don't even
> know where to begin or go by the numbers on the package or a website
> and get discouraged. Often sites and packages will grossly overstate
> the amount of tea to be used as is the case with coffee to keep sales
> up, but not to produce the best tea always. I had a conversation
> earlier that sparked me to write the following piece as a basic
> introduction which can be built on and fine tuned later, but would be
> enough to get someone started in the right direction:
>
> I realize that to many tea brewing begins and ends with dunking a
> teabag into a mug of variably tepid/boiling water for an indeterminate
> amount of time and then adding in sugar and/or milk to mask the acrid
> brew that was just unleashed. I cringe when I see folks at cafes get
> handed a cup full of improperly heated water with a single-use tea
> strainer/bag in it and that is where it remains for the duration of
> the drink. No wonder people don't get tea or think it needs to be
> doctored up in myriad ways to become palatable. There are other
> extremes of thermometers and timers and digital scales too, but as
> with anything, there is a balance. This post is meant to be a primer,
> not the final master class, and I plan to continue to cover this in
> increasing depth to help everyone realize that there is so much more
> to the world of tea and that it isn't hard.
>
> Water, Temperature, and Time
>
> Water is one of the most important parts of the whole equation. You
> want to make sure the water is absent of any flavors or chemicals.
> Water that is poured from the little orange/red spout from coffee
> machines might be filtered but it also may have some hints of the
> coffee present. Water straight from a tap might have chlorine or
> sulphur. There are many options but two inexpensive options are to buy
> a simple faucet-mounted filter (Pur, Dupont, Brita, etc.) or buy the
> 1, 3, or 5-gallon jugs or containers of spring water. Starting with a
> solid foundation is the only way to get a great final result.
>
> Temperature can make the same tea brewed the same way taste completely
> different. Sometimes this range is a good thing and can allow for a
> range of flavors from the same leaf, sometimes too much heat can
> destroy a delicate tea. This is a topic that entire books could be
> written about, so what we are aiming for here is just a good reference
> point and we will dig into it in more detail in the future. There are
> also debates on how the water is heated: microwave, gas stove,
> electric kettle, etc. And while there is some merit to some of these
> arguments, for right now the method will be ignored and we will just
> focus on the final water temperature no matter how it got that way.
>
> The basic rule goes like this:
>
> Black tea - full boiling water or just off boil at the least
>
> Oolong tea - small bubbles/almost boiling or boiling water that has
> been allowed to cool for a minute or so
>
> Green tea - hot but not boiling, allow boiled water to cool for a few
> minutes before using. You should be able to touch the water without
> suffering a burn, not literally but as an illustration of the temp we
> are going for here.
>
> Tisanes/Herbal tea - full boiling water, the hotter the better. This
> is not tea and as such you are trying to extract everything you can
> from the herb/flower.
>
> As you can see, the one-size-fits-all orange/red coffee machine lever
> is not useful for almost anything but green tea and some oolongs. So
> if you are at a cafe or situation (like an office) where this is the
> only option, your best bet is to select a green tea or oolong and just
> make do.
>
> Time is the other important piece in this equation. Again some teas
> allow for some variation here and will offer up different flavors and
> complexities depending on how short or long it is steeped, some will
> become undrinkable (bitter or astringent) if left for too long. Each
> particular tea within a larger category (green, black, etc.) will have
> an optimal time and temperature but again we are setting up the basics
> here.
>
> I start from 30-45 seconds to about 1-2 minutes and an occasional tea
> will work well with 3-5 minutes, herbal/tisanes always go 3-5 minutes.
> Start shorter and then try longer brews and find your particular sweet
> spot for the specific tea. Some do well with even longer 3-5 minute
> brewings, some become bitter and too strong. It is all about what
> tastes good to YOU, not what a package or "expert" states is correct.
> With the right water and temperature, you can experiment on time to
> find what works for you... but leaving the tea in the cup for 5+
> minutes until you finish it is not really the proper solution for ANY
> tea.
>
> Quality tea makes a huge difference as well as does the amount used.
> Start with a solid teaspoon's worth of leaf if in doubt and adjust
> from there to your taste.
>
> Enjoy!
>
> - Dominic