Achieving the Best Brew
BREAK THE RULES
Although there are many tea enthusiasts who promote hard and fast rules about preparing tea, it all comes down to personal preference. So go ahead and break those rules...and discover how YOU best enjoy your tea. The excitement is in the exploration. Let yourself be inspired, and enjoy the journey. For those of you who enjoy learning the specific methods for brewing the many varieties of tea, we offer you the following tips:
Now that you've chosen your favorite tea, the most important factor for you to consider is the quality of your water. Bottled or fresh, spring water is the best choice, but if you have good filtered water coming from your taps, absolutely use it. However, if your water quality is questionable or has an "off" flavor (such as chlorine or sulfur), do NOT use it to infuse your tea. Poor water quality can turn the most delicious tea into an unpleasant experience. Next, each type of tea requires varying degrees in water temperature. When you receive your order, check the label on the packaging for brewing instructions and ideal water temperatures. Instructions for each tea may also be found on its corresponding tea page on our site.
We offer the following guidelines for the various types of tea: Black, Oolong, Green, White, Rooibos, and Herbal
Pour boiling (212°F) water directly over tea leaves - 1 teaspoon per 8 ounce cup. Infuse small leaf black teas for 2-3 minutes, or for 4-5 for larger varieties, or according to your personal preference.
Green teas require a cooler water temperature. NEVER pour boiling water over green tea leaves as they are quite delicate – this will damage the leaf, resulting in a bitter cup. Ideally, bring the water to 160-175°F (just steaming) before adding to your cup. Steep for 2-3 minutes and remove the infuser. Since green teas vary from region to region, you will find that infusion requirements may differ from one to the next. Please refer to the Green Tea section on our website.
White teas are not oxidized at all, and are thus the most delicate of all tea types. Use a teaspoon of leaves per 8 ounce cup. Bring the water to 180-185°F (just steaming) before pouring directly over leaves. Infuse for 3-4 minutes before straining and serve. The flavor of white teas unfold with each additional infusion. The finest Silver Needle can be infused up to 6-7 times.
Pu’erh teas offer enhanced richness with every infusion. This oxidized leaf may be brewed up to 6 times. This tea requires a slight variance in preparation. Pour just-boiling water (195-208°F) over tea leaves and wait 20 seconds before pouring off the liquor. Repour fresh, boiling water over the leaves once again and remove after 1-2 or up to 5 minutes, to your desired taste. Strain and serve.
Pour near-boiling water (180-190°F) directly over 1 teaspoon of tea leaves. Brew 3-4 minutes. Strain and serve. Oolong teas typically improve in flavor with each subsequent brew. Experiment and explore your favorite way to enjoy your oolong.
Rooibos needle-like leaves are very fine in texture and so you'll need one rounded teaspoon per 8 ounce cup. Pour 212°F water directly over leaves and brew approximately 5 minutes before pouring through a very fine strainer.
Herbal infusions, often referred to as "tisanes", do not contain the Camellia Sinesis leaf at all. Generally, they are quite sturdy, and thus benefit from the use of boiling water when infusing them. Pour 212°F water directly over 1 tablespoon of tea and wait about 5 minutes before straining.
We recommend pre-heating your pot or cup before infusing your tea. To do so, pour in a bit of hot water, and swirl it around, or let it sit for several minutes before pouring away. Then, proceed with infusing your tea. Be sure to use a proper tea strainer so that you may remove the leaves after infusing, as leaving them in for an extended period will result in a bitter flavor.
There are a couple of important things to remember about tea infusers/strainers:
1. Allow your tea leaves enough room to fully open and the water to infuse through them properly. They should not be "stuffed" into a small confining holder. the only time you would use something such as a "teaball" or closed teaspoon is when you are brewing a small particle tea such a rooibos or herbals.
2. The openings of the infuser should be small enough to keep pieces from getting into your cup.
Really, if you would rather not bother with anything more than tea and water, just allow your leaves to swim joyously in the cup until the proper time and remove them with a spoon. Your leaves will be happy and so will you.
For your convenience, TUMBLEWOOD TEAS offers a wonderful line of Zojirushi water boilers/warmers which keeps your water at the ideal temperature all day long. Call us for details at 406-932-9641 as this is a special-order product.
TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL ICED TEA
It's easy to prepare your own iced tea drinks. Follow the brewing instructions for your tea type and brew in the same manner as you would hot tea. Always bring brewed tea to room temperature first before placing in the refrigerator. Chill and sweeten if you desire. To maintain the flavor integrity of your iced drink, fill ice cube trays with cooled, brewed tea and add the cubes to your chilled tea before serving. This will offer the fullest flavor without diluting your drink. Enjoy the experience!
CONTROL THE CAFFEINE
If you are caffeine-sensitive and want to control the level in your cup, we offer the following recommendations:
1. Choose a caffeine-free tea or tisane. TUMBLEWOOD TEAS offers a full line of fabulous herbal tisanes, rooibos and honeybush teas which are 100% free of caffeine.
2. Time: If you love green, white, and black tea varieties, consider steeping the leaves for the minimum recommended time. A lighter brew results in a milder cup, both in flavor and caffeine content.
3. Temperature: Lowering the water temperature will also offer a cup lower in caffeine. Again, your resulting flavor will also be on the mild side. Experiment, and find out what your unique preferences are.
4. Quantity: Using a smaller amount of tea per cup will also reduce the amount of caffeine per serving. Remember that each subsequent brewing will also impart smaller concentrations of caffeine as well.
Show your leaves some love! Be sure to store them in suitable air- and light-tight containers to maintain optimal freshness.
TRAVEL WITH US
Visit our blog and travel with us as we share our thoughts, recipes and adventurous meanderings into the world of tea.