Ah, there’s nothing quite like watching the rolling boil of hot water as it is gently poured on to fragrant tea leaves. The sight is quite spectacular and for many of us it signifies memories of calm, peaceful serenity. But, what exactly goes into making a fine cup of tea? As much as it depends on the time of day, type of tea and type of person, it also depends on skill. So let us show you how its done!
Pure water is best water
When brewing a nice cuppa it is always better to use water from a good source. Ideally spring or filtered. Water from the tap can be highly chlorinated and laden with impurities like chalk and limestone. To know tea has been brewed with good water you need only look at the colour.
A good brew will always create tea with an orangey-reddish hue, while tea brewed with less desirable water will turn an unpleasant shade of brown.
Bring on the fire!
The temperature in which you boil the tea is integral to the tea making process. As a rule, hot water will always give you the best brew. But this depends greatly on the kind of tea you are using. If it’s black tea, then it’s best to steep the tea in water boiled at 100 degrees Celsius.
When brewing green tea however you should never infuse the tea at a temperature above 80 degrees Celsius. Doing so will cause green tea to become astringent and too bitter.
Don’t let time pass you by
There's an exact length of time for brewing the perfect cuppa. Here's a few instructions. If you choose to add milk, one spoonful or two grams of tea should not be brewed for more than four minutes. Remove tea leaves using a tea strainer. Then stir with milk and sugar for preference. Sugar is completely optional!
For a straight or 'plain tea' three minutes is ample for brewing. Sip on soon after. Sweetener is to one's taste, add honey or sugar as ypu please. Green tea too must be brewed for two to three minutes. Brewing tea for longer than five minutes will create unpleasant flavours.
Give the tea space to breathe
The art of pouring tea into a yard of tea or “yara thei” is actually a method of mixing more oxygen to your cup. With increased oxygen the flavonoids activate, which makes for a more fragrant and tastier brew.
Freshly boiled water is the best, never re-boil as then the water loses its quantum of oxygen and would result in a less appealing cup. 100 degrees Celsius, nothing more nothing less, will ensure you don’t under or over brew. For green tea, the mantra is similar. Boil the water to a 100 degrees Celsius and let it cool to 80 degrees Celsius to ensure a balanced and smooth cup.
Many people enjoy their tea strong and plain. However, there are equally as many who need just a little extra be it milk or sweetener. When it comes to milk tea it’s important to remember that fresh milk is always the best choice.
Heating the milk before mixing is also an option. Sweetener on the other hand merely a supporting player in this tale. Extras depend on the consumer. There are options such as jaggery, sugar or bee’s honey for sweetners. Pick your choice and enjoy ‘your cup’ of tea.