Today’s post is brought to you by my wonderful husband. The daily prompt word is tea and in the past few months or so, my husband has learned a great deal about different aspects of tea that I would like to share with you today.
I’m not a tea expert but an enthusiast.
First thing to note is tea can be made out of a lot of different things. Leaves, pine needles, etc. We are just going to focus on the tea leaf. There are many different types of tea. As I know it, they are all derived from the same plant. The four types I’m going to focus on are white, green, oolong and black tea. The difference between these four is how old the leaf is, how oxidized it is and how long it’s roasted. Other factors include geographical location and the altitude where the tea is grown.
So the basic rundown on my knowledge is that white tea is a very young leaf and bud; young as in it’s harvested early on in the plants life. Green tea is a bit older and as a result is green in color whereas white tea is more of a yellow color. Oolong, my favorite, sits in a spot where it’s a little bit more processed than green tea because it’s been roasted a bit. Finally, black tea is usually very oxidized and heavily roasted. There are many combinations of the age of the leaf, oxidation and roasting. There are a lot different types of each tea that have different qualities. I suggest trying a wide variety to find out what you like.
Now we get into the actual process of making the amazing beverage. First we talk about water. What’s tea without water? Leaves. I guess you could eat them, but I’m not too sure how good they would taste. Picking the right water is crucial to flavor. There are many schools of thought on type of water you should use. Most people go with tap water as they say it adds character to the taste. Some prefer filtered water and some prefer mineral water. Personally, I used filtered water. Just do. No rhyme or reason for me but I suggest trying different waters to see how they react with the leaves.
Next, I’ll talk about steeping and the amount of tea you should use in combination with the amount of water (in ounces). To be honest, I don’t remember the ratio. I’ve been doing it so long that I just eyeball the amount of tea. I want to note here that there two ways loose leaf tea comes in a package. It’s either rolled or twisted.
The primary tool I use is a porcelain gaiwan. You could also use a steeping tool like a gravity cup or a tea ball infuser. The temperature of the water is important. Unless it’s black tea, I was told to never go for a full boil (212 degrees F). But, once again, I think this is something you should play with to figure out what your tastes are. Depending on the tea, I usually go for about 170-190 degrees F. Now, it’s steep time. I would say follow the directions on the package. This is very important. If you steep for too long or the water is too hot, you could compromise flavor. This entails a stronger taste than you may like or a very bitter taste/after taste. I like my tea smooth so I tend to steep it for less than two minutes. Some directions may even tell you to steep for 15 seconds. In order to find your sweet spot, you have to try different combinations.
That’s a lot of info. May sound daunting, but if done right, you could enjoy something truly amazing. Although, if all else fails, you could just get regular tea bags. Just try and remember to remove the bag after steeping.
Isn’t he wonderful? ♥ Do you drink tea? Do you prefer easy to use tea bags or loose leaf? Are you more of an herbal infusions tea drinker? Let me know in the comments below!