If you thought finding a cure for a disease or achieving world peace was tough, then you haven’t tried brewing the perfect cup of tea. Who knew that something we drink every day could be so hard to do correctly? When afternoon tea time rolls around, be ready. Here are five tips for brewing the perfect cup of tea.
Use the Right Amount (and type) of Milk
Believe it or not, there is a whole science behind the use of milk in tea. Should you have it? Should you put it in first or last? And what about whole milk or skim? Full cream milk promotes a rich and full-bodied cup of tea. You won’t find too many tea fanatics who don’t go for this type of milk when trying to create the perfect brew to start their day.
A survey of 2,000 British tea drinkers found that four-fifths of a teaspoon was the sweet spot and that there is a difference between a “splash” and a “dash.” The trick is to play around until you’ve found your perfect balance.
Use Fresh, Cold Water
Who would have thought that the secret to a perfectly brewed cup of tea is the water? Of course, milk is important, but the water can have an equally powerful impact.
It’s only natural to heat any remaining water left in a kettle from the last time you used it. However, did you know that boiling water a second or third time can result in a flat cup of tea that doesn’t hit the spot?
Where possible, use filtered water, and make sure it’s fresh every time. Clean, fresh water has all the oxygen your tea needs to develop fullness of flavor. When you re-boil old water, the tea’s flavor can be lost or dulled down due to the depleted oxygen.
Pay Attention to Temperature
When asked how they like their tea, many tea lovers say “piping hot.” With this in mind, you might attempt to pour boiling water over loose tea or a teabag to make sure you achieve the desired temperature. However, doing so can scald the leaves.
To achieve a full-flavored cup of tea without scalding the leaves, wait a few minutes after the jug boils. While you will still get a nice, hot cuppa, you will also get a more flavorsome one. Those few minutes can make a huge difference.
Knowing the Optimum Brewing Times
Believe it or not, the optimum brewing time and temperature of tea can depend on the type of tea. A green tea, for example, only needs a brewing time of around one or two minutes between 165 and 175 degrees-Fahrenheit.
Herbal teas can take a lot longer to brew at between three and six minutes and 210 degrees. Fortunately, you don’t have to memorize the times and temperatures. Most teas come with instructions for brewing the perfect cup of tea at a perfect temperature.
Clean Your Teapot
You might hear tea lovers talk about their seasoned teapot and how they wouldn’t dream of cleaning it for fear of losing the flavor.
Clay pots do tend to take on the flavor of the tea, but other materials can just become stained. What’s more, the tannic acid build-up can alter the taste of the tea for the worst. Clean your teapot with vinegar or lemon juice, or even with baking soda, so that it looks as good as new.
Brewing the perfect cup of tea can have you starting your day on the right foot. From using the appropriate amount of milk to paying attention to the temperature, follow the tips above for a lip-smacking cuppa you’ll love.