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I’ve Been Making Tea All Wrong

How to make tea
As the rain continues to pour down here, it’s most certainly what I call ‘tea drinking weather’. I’ve always proclaimed my absolute love of coffee, but there’s just something about rain and cold weather that has me thinking of tea.

Am I a tea connoisseur? No, far from it, actually. When it comes to making tea, well, it seems I’ve been making it like a bit of an idiot, apparently. I think if I were to serve tea to a pom, they’d promptly spit it out. My tea, whether it’s an English Breakfast, Lady Grey or Earl Grey, consists of boiling water, three dunks of the tea bag to be specific and I’m done. That’s the way I like it BUT I think I’m doing it wrong. Actually, I’m pretty sure I am.

At my local café, there’s a lovely painting on the wall which explains how each type of tea should be made. Because I’m always there to order coffee, I’ve admired the creativity behind the painting, but not so much the actual reasoning why a certain tea is steeped longer than others, the temperature of the water etc. I never ever thought it made a difference, it just came down to how YOU have your own tea.

So, now, it’s got me a bit fascinated and interested in actually trying out the different methods beyond my three dunks to see if it does make a difference.

What I’ve learnt about making tea

The ‘type’ of water is important

How to make tea
Hands up if you put your kettle under the tap, turn it on and fill her up? ME!

Well, this constitutes making tea like an idiot BECAUSE, if you don’t have access to filtered water (first preference if you’re a fancy pants), you should let the tap run for a little bit BEFORE filling the kettle. Why? Well, it’s very scientific you see. Tap water loses oxygen if it’s been sitting in the pipes too long and tea needs oxygen to brew properly. Who would have known? Now that’s a science lesson for you!

Temperature is important

How to make tea
To be honest, I just thought you boiled the kettle and poured the water into the tea cup or ta pot, for all types of teas! Apparently not.

For green tea, the best temperature is around 70°C because of the more delicate flavour. Now I know why my green tea tastes a bit bitter when I make it. The water is too hot!

Black tea and oolong tea can apparently handle a higher temperature due to their more complex flavours, around 85°C.

If you’re a lover of herbal infusion teas, the good news is that water at 100°C is OK!

Brewing time differs with each type of tea

How to make tea
I apologise to anyone I’ve made tea for in the past, it probably wasn’t very good. My main apology goes to my father-in-law, an avid green tea drinker, I’ve already stuffed up pouring boiling water into the cup and now I think I’ve stuffed up on the brewing part, too.

Whether drinking tea from a pretty tea cup or fancy tea infuser water bottle, steeping time (a name for brewing tea which I’m going to use to sound a bit fancy) is a thing and proof that my three dunk policy is way off the mark.

Green Tea – should be steeped for about 1-2 minutes because it’s a little more delicate than black tea.  Oops, I just left the bag in the cup, no wonder it was so strong with tannin flavours!

White Tea – should be brewed a little longer, for about 1-3 minutes. Subsequent steeping can be done for less time because the water has already penetrated the leaf.

Oolong Tea – I have never really tried Oolong Tea but it is meant to be consumed in small quantities with a high tea leaf to water ratio and only infused for 30 seconds. Oolong can be re-infused up to six times, depending on your taste.

Black Tea – I might be close to on the mark here with my three dunks. Black tea is a bit of a personal preference tea when it comes to strength, but the recommended steeping time if you’re not having milk is about 45 seconds to 1 minute. If you like it strong, it’s 2-3 minutes.

Herbal Tea – I’m a big fan of jasmine tea as well as lemon and ginger tea. These need up to five minutes to really develop the flavours.

It’s a bit of a fine balance this steeping business, too long and it tastes so bitter and YUCK!

Milk and sugar aren’t needed

How to make tea
Whenever I’ve been asked how I have my tea and I respond with, “black, no sugar, three dunks please,” I’ve always felt as though I do it wrong. So many people I know have milk and sugar in their tea. I’m glad to say that in this aspect of tea appreciation, I am not making tea like an idiot. Apparently, with black tea, anything goes and it’s a matter of personal taste.

Now to put this information up somewhere in my kitchen for future reference.

How do you take your tea?

Eva Lewis (The Multitasking Woman)
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  1. June 7, 2016 / 5:55 pm

    OMG I love tea, but that is WAY to bloody complicated if you ask me! Three dunks (tap water), a touch of sugar and a dash of milk. Perfection!!

  2. June 7, 2016 / 6:41 pm

    I drink both coffee & tea the same way, White with one sugar. My grandparents used to make tea from scratch…
    eg, a teapot, tea leaves (which turned into garden compost) and you had to warm the pot first, then add the tea leaves, wait a few minutes for the teapot to “sit” then pour the tea into the cup with a tea strainer. Now to clean out my kettle from the tap water!

  3. June 7, 2016 / 9:50 pm

    I make tea the same way as you do, three dunks and all, and it tastes pretty good to me 🙂

  4. June 8, 2016 / 6:34 am

    English breakfast is my favourite – black with half a teaspoon of sugar please 🙂 A warm cup of chamomile before bed is so lovely and relaxing too