Tea Break #2: The Art of Steeping Tea

Welcome to my Tea Break series!  Here is the second part of Republic of Tea’s Tea 101 newsletter. Today’s topic is the art of steeping tea:

You will extract the most pleasure from premium tea, steeped with care. The Minister of Fire & Water suggests the following step-by-step ritual for steeping tea:

Heat Your Water
Tea begins with the water – the element that brings tea to its full potential. Fresh water yields a better cup. We recommend using filtered or spring water.
Fill your kettle with fresh, cold water and heat to a rolling boil – unless you’re making green tea or 100% White Tea. In that case, stop short of boiling to avoid “cooking” the delicate tea leaves.
Use one teaspoon of tea or herbs or one tea bag per 6 oz. cup. One 6 oz. cup is the size of a traditional tea cup, not a mug. If using full-leaf loose tea or herbs, place tea in an infuser or a teapot.

Time Your Steeping
Pour the heated water over the tea, cover, and infuse to taste. Different teas take well to different infusing times. Experiment to find your ideal time, but take care – don’t steep for too long or you’ll find your tea has gone bitter.

White Tea
water: short of boiling
tea bag: 30-60 seconds
full leaf: 2-3 minutes

Green Tea
water: short of boiling
tea bag: 1-3 minutes
full leaf: 2-4 minutes

Black Tea
water: boiling
tea bag: 3-5 minutes
full leaf: 3-5 minutes

Oolong Tea
water: boiling
tea bag: 3-5 minutes
full leaf: 5-7 minutes

Red/Herbal Tea
water: boiling
tea bag: 5-7 minutes
full leaf: 5-7 minutes

Enjoy Your Tea
Remove the tea bag or infuser, or use a strainer for the leaves. Pour the steaming tea into a cup and let it cool for a moment.  Sip. Enjoy the nuances, the complexity and character.

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