Ever had tea that was so strong, it could have melted a hole in your cup?
Or taken a mouthful to find it too bitter to drink?
Or discovering there is no real flavour?
The likely cause is because the tea has not been brewed for the correct amount of time…too long, and the tea becomes stewed…not enough, the full taste of the tea has not had time to develop.
You see, tea is not all the same…different types of tea require different brewing times, and believe me, even half a minute too much can turn a beautiful tea, into something undrinkable.
Some teas only need 15 seconds…some need 5 minutes or even longer.
Here is a quick general guide as to recommended brewing times for the different types of tea…
- White Tea – 1 to 2 minutes
- Green Tea – 2 to 3 minutes
- Pu-erh Tea – 2 to 3 minutes
- Oolong Tea – 3 to 4 minutes
- Black Tea – 4 to 5 minutes
Now after telling you this, none of these times are actually set in stone!
Just ask two tea drinkers the best time to brew a particular tea, and you will get two different answers!
So you will need to experiment to get the perfect timing for your tea of choice….and the time should increase with tea that can be infused multiple times but more on that another time!
Well, there is some good news…many tea companies now provide recommended brewing times on their packaging…check the packaging of your favourite tea and see what it says.
For example…here is a brewing guide on the back of a Storm in a Teacup tea…
Even many of the tea bag brands that you find in your supermarket…like my favourite Yorkshire Tea…now have brewing instructions…
So now you have a guide, there are a couple of ways of ensuring your tea is infused for the correct amount of time.
We have been using a Breville Tea Kettle which we love…this special kettle ensures the tea leaves are brewed for the exact amount of time….it basically does it all for you!
As you can see from the photo, it has been well used…in fact, it is probably one of the most used appliances in the house!
You can use an electronic timer….we recently bought this one from T2….
Or you can go old school and use an egg timer…we love this Larsen & Thompson one, available from Travelling Samovar…
Another option is to use a time on your smart phone, tablet…there are even apps available…or just use your watch.
But whatever you do, make sure you keep track of the time and don’t get distracted!
Making sure tea has been infused for the correct amount of time is a very important step to creating the perfect cup of tea….doesn’t matter if the tea is in a bag or in loose leaf form.
Which is why we hate it when we pay good money at cafes, and end up with something which is undrinkable, while all the care and attention is given to the coffee making.
I wrote about this a little while ago, but basically don’t throw the tea bag in the cup with hot water, then leave it sitting before serving.
And if tea is loose leaf, provide a way for the customer to remove the tea leaves from the tea pot, so a second even third cup can be enjoyed.
You know when you have found a place that understands tea because attention is given to how long a tea is infused for…and sadly, we haven’t found too many of them in Melbourne.
If you want to learn more about tea, and enjoy tea brewed correctly, we can suggest a visit to Traveling Samovar in Melbourne, or the Cartel Roasters Brew Bar in Geelong (yes, they do coffee, but they know plenty about tea!).
Both have staff who can give you information about how to get the best out of tea!
Now go and brew up some beautiful tea, while keeping an eye on the time…and don’t forget to experiment till you find the perfect combination!
If you have any questions about brewing tea, feel free to contact me, or put your query in the comments below!
I’m also a tea lover and I couldn’t agree more with your comments about the cafes! There’s nothing worse than paying $4.50 and receiving a cup of water with a Lipton tea bag stewing in it. I could do that myself at home… but I don’t!! We use the good old fashioned pot and tea leaves.