Everyone has their own way of making their favourite cup of tea according to their own tastes, but it’s always good to kick it up a notch by perfecting your tea-making method. Here are some simple yet effective tips for making the best cup of tea:
Use a teapot.
Yes, it’s usually quicker and easier to pop a teabag into a mug and brew it in that, and usually the go-to method when you are in a hurry or only making a cup for yourself. But using a teapot will allow your tea to fully circulate in a larger body of water, leading to a richer, more flavourful brew. Which brings us onto the next point…
Warm the teapot
What? Yeah that’s really a thing. The main reason is just to slow down the cooling of the tea. When the teapot is preheated, the hot water does not cool down so fast, as it is in contact with a warm material. Also if you are using a fancy ceramic or china teapot, you can risk cracking if you pour hot water into a cold pot.
Use fresh water
This should be a given, but some people just aren’t wise to it. Tea loves oxygen – it helps the flavour develop, making for a more delicious tea. Draw fresh water every time by letting the tap run for a second before filling the kettle up to get is nicely aerated, and don’t even think about using water that’s sat in the kettle for ages, or has already been boiled once. As water boils, oxygen is driven out and the more it boils, the less oxygen stays in the water. This can deprive your tea of its fresh, crisp taste, leaving it flat.
Don’t use straight up boiling water
It does depend on what kind of tea you are making, but a good rule of thumb is to use freshly boiled water that has cooled to around 80c. This is because the amino acids (which produce the tea’s flavour) dissolve at lower temperatures than tannin. Tea made with water at 100°c will be more astringent tasting, and less sweet. Herbal or fruit teas that don’t contain actual tea leaves, however, are best made with boiling water.
This is a bit of a personal preference, and if you are using a teapot, it doesn’t matter too much, but if you are brewing in the cup, putting milk in first will cool the infusion down, and prevent the tea from brewing properly. Also how do you know how much to add?? It’s a minefield, I tell you. Avoid weak, pale tea by brewing it sufficiently, and then adding milk.