What are the right ways of brewing different types of tea

authentic tea recipes

Ever wondered why you love the taste of tea made by some and absolutely cannot stand some other? The perfect tea goes way beyond the amount of sugar and milk, it is in the brewing technique. All tea is ultimately originated from the same plant – Camellia sinensis. Based on the processing, oxidising, and methods of brewing; the perfect cup of tea varies for different types of tea. However, there are a lot more factors involved – the kind of water used, the temperature of the water, brewing time, how you stored your tea etc. 

The general rule of thumb for brewing any tea

Every tea has its own boiling temperature and the perfect time for boiling, but the method for brewing is similar to all. Learn how to boil a perfect cup of tea –

  1. First, heat the water to the right temperature.
  2. Then pour a small amount of boiling water into the tea-pot to pre-warm the pot. Take out the water once the pot is warm enough.
  3. After that, place the tea leaves in the pot, either directly or through an infuser.
  4. Pour the water over them and cover it with a lid.
  5. Now you wait for the perfect amount of time. Keep the lid down for 2 minutes and then every 1 minute taste the tea until it matches your liking. Meanwhile, keep stirring to bring out the flavour of the tea.
  6. Soon as you realize the tea is ready, remove the leaves by taking the infuser out or pouring the tea through a strainer.

Different types of tea and how to brew them

Although we have provided you with the detailed brewing guide here for your knowledge, the perfect tea depends on your tastebuds alone. So for each type of tea, experiment with different methods to find out what is perfect for you.

White tea

  • What it is:

White tea is considered one of the most delicate tea as it is processed and oxidised the least amount. Hence it is one of the rarest, purest, and freshest form of tea available, and unsurprisingly one of the most expensive kinds of tea.

  • The ideal temperature for brewing: 175 °F
  • The ideal time for brewing: 2-5 minutes
  • General tea to water ratio:

2 teaspoons of tea in 6 ounces of water (if tea consists of only buds)

2 tablespoons of tea in 6 ounces of water (if tea consists of fluffy leaves)

  • Brewing instructions particular to white tea: 
    • White tea can be steeped 2 to 3 times; each brew produces a new flavour. Slightly increase the water temperature and steeping time for every brew.
    • Remember, leaf tea infuses quicker than bud tea.

Green tea

  • What it is:

Green tea is harvested from Camellia Sinensis plant and heated by pan-frying or steaming and then quickly dried to prevent too much oxidation and maintain the freshly-picked flavour.

It originated in China, however, it is produced and manufactured in bulk in many countries of Asia now. Several varieties of green tea exist, which differ substantially based on the variety of the plant species used, growing conditions, horticultural methods, production processing, and time of harvest.

  • The ideal temperature for brewing: 175 °F (140 °F for some Japanese varieties)
  • The ideal time for brewing: 1-3 minutes
  • General tea to water ratio:

2 gm of tea per 6 ounces of water

  • Brewing instructions particular to green tea:
    • You will know that the tea is brewed perfectly if the colour of it turns into that of yellow olive oil.
    • You can rebrew this tea 2-3 times, producing different flavours each time. For Chinese green tea, the temperature is slightly increased, and for Japanese green tea, the temperature is slightly decreased with each subsequent brew.

Black tea

  • What it is:

Black tea comes from a larger-leafed variety of the same plant from which green tea comes, known as Camellia Sinensis Assamica. It originated in the state of Assam in India. It grows in warm, moist climates, in sub-tropical forests.

At the time of production, the leaves of this tea are allowed full oxidation before they are heated and dried; this is where it becomes “black” and differentiates itself from green tea.

  • The ideal temperature for brewing: 194-203 °F
  • The ideal time for brewing: 2-5 minutes
  • General tea to water ratio:

2-3 gm of tea per 6 ounces of water

  • Brewing instructions particular to black tea:
    • Black tea has a lot of varieties, but all of them require slightly longer brewing time than others to reach the optimum flavour. It should turn into the colour of maple syrup once the brewing is done.
    • Unlike the previous teas, black tea can be consumed with milk and sugar. Heat the milk gradually by adding the milk into the cup first, then pour the tea.

Matcha tea

  • What it is:

Matcha is a powdered form of high-grade green tea. It is packed with antioxidants and extremely healthy.

Originally it came from Japan. What distinguishes it from other green teas is the way it is made. The leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant are covered for several days prior to harvest in order to keep them away from sunlight.

  • The ideal temperature for brewing: 160-170 °F
  • Brewing instructions particular to matcha tea:

This tea is not steeped, instead, it is whisked into hot water or milk to create a frothy drink.

Oolong tea

  • What it is:

Oolong tea is a type of tea with an oxidation level between green tea and black tea and picked later in the season than green tea. Depending on the production style of the tea-master, this can vary from 8-80%. That is why some Oolong tea has a flashy green colour (less oxidised), while others resemble black tea (more oxidised).

  • The ideal temperature for brewing: 175 °F (for lighter oxidised ones)

212 °F (for darker oxidised ones)

  • The ideal time for brewing: 3-4 minutes
  • General tea to water ratio:

1 teaspoon of tea in 6 ounces of water (if the leaves are rolled in balls)

2 tablespoons of tea in 6 ounces of water (if the tea consists of large open leaves)

  • Brewing instructions particular to oolong tea:
    • If you are brewing an unflavoured, rolled Oolong tea, you may consider rinsing the tea in 175 °F water for 30 seconds, then emptying the water before you start with the longer infusion procedure.
    • Remember, leaf-style tea generally gets infused quicker than rolled-style tea.
    • You will know steeping this tea is finished when it reaches a shade darker than green tea – one that is similar to honey.
    • This tea is traditionally steeped multiple times, producing new flavours with each subsequent brew.

Keep in mind…

  • Know your water: Before you know about any special technique, you should know what water you should use to brew your tea since any brewed tea is 99% water. If the water tastes good, half the job of brewing is done. So use only freshwater, with no impurities. Filtered or bottled spring water works best, but avoid tap, distilled, and mineral water. Start with fresh, cold water that has not been boiled previously.
  • Loose is best: Tea bags may be the fastest way to make your tea and convenient when you are running short of time, but the best flavour of the brew is only brought by loose tea and that extra time.
  • Maintain the right tea to water ratio: No matter what kind of tea it is, keep in mind the ratio of tea to water. for 6 ounces of water, use 2 teaspoons of the tea is full of buds only, and 2 tablespoons of tea consist of light and fluffy leaves. For a combination of buds and leaves, you can use an amount in-between.
  • Store right: To protect the freshness of the tea, transfer contents into a clean, dry, airtight, odour-free container and store in a cool, dry place. You may refrigerate it, if possible.
  • More the number of ingredients, worse the tea: Your liking of tea goes with your taste buds only, but too many ingredients ruin the true flavour of the tea. Also, not all ingredients react in the right way. For example, if you are adding milk to black tea stay off of the lemon.
  • Microwaving: This is a big NO for any tea. The hot, hard, and fast increment of the temperature inside a microwave is too harsh for delicate tea leaves and completely destroys the flavour of all tea.

Conclusion

Every tea has immense benefits for your health, only when brewed right. Follow the instructions above to enjoy the perfect sip of tea all year long. Nevertheless, you should bear in mind that not all tea you find in the market is the purest form of that variety. So for best results, you should buy tea only from an authentic tea shop and follow the instructions on the box for the perfect brewed tea experience.