brewing tea: 2 posts

Tea Primer Part 4 : How to Brew a Perfect Cup of Tea

In my last article of Tea Primer, I discussed the three essential parts to brewing any cup of tea: water, tea, and teaware. Now you have all three ready, but where to start? It’s really very simple, and only requires a bit of practice to master. Just as your preference for particular fragrance notes and styles would be evident after a look at your fragrance wardrobe, each person’s way of preparing tea is unique, shaped by their preferences and proclivities. Luckily, once you are familiar with the techniques detailed here, you will have a basic understanding of how to prepare any tea using any method of preparation that you like, as the basic underlying principles are always the same. To make it easier to follow, I’ve separated the elements of brewing a cup of tea into four easy steps.  Let’s get started!


Part 1 : Black and Oolong Teas

Part 2 : Green, White and Herbal Teas

Part 3 : Tea Brewing Basics

Part 5 : A Guide to Buying Quality Tea

1. Know your tea

Before you start heating up your water, it is important to decide what kind of tea you are going to drink, as this will determine how hot the water needs to be. In my experience, this step can often be the hardest of them all, because, as with perfume, choosing what tea you are in the mood for is sometimes difficult. Below is a chart of time and temperature information for brewing various types of tea. Teas differ from company to company, however, so it is also a good idea to refer to the company website and packaging for exact instructions for the tea you wish to prepare. And, as always, feel free to experiment! The information on this chart is only a guideline for brewing tea. Your instinctive sense of scent and taste is always the best guide.

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Tea Primer Part 3 : Tea Brewing Basics

In the world of fragrance, the difference between being lightly veiled in scent and being a walking thundercloud of headache-inducing vapors is often a fine one. Whereas a citrusy eau du cologne might be sprayed on with reckless abandon, to no ill effect, a single drop of a rich gourmand perfume might suffice in scenting you generously for the entire day. Wearing fragrance is simply not a one-size-fits-all proposition, and the same goes for brewing tea, which requires a bit of know how to be done correctly. Fortunately, the skip over from perfume to tea is a short one, as knowing how to brew your tea properly is a lot like knowing how to wear a fragrance appropriately—once you have mastered the technique, it becomes second nature.

Part 1 : Black and Oolong Teas

Part 2 : Green, White and Herbal Teas

Part 4 : How to Brew a Perfect Cup of Tea

Part 5 : A Guide to Buying Quality Tea

Of first importance in learning how to brew tea is to realize that there are very few hard and fast rules that you must follow to enjoy your tea to its fullest. Most of the tips I describe below are merely guidelines. It is perfectly acceptable, and even encouraged that you experiment with quantities, temperatures, and steeping times to discover a personal style for brewing tea that makes your teatime the most delicious and enjoyable experience possible. No matter how much you customize your tea experience, though, there are three essential elements to all tea preparation—water, tea, and teaware.

Continue reading →

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