Tea Brewing and Storing
Most tap water contains ingredients that can spoil the appearance, aroma and taste of tea, so it’s always a good idea to filter the water in order to remove calcium, chlorine, dissolved heavy metals, sand, rust, dust, etc. This will give the tea a much clearer, brighter appearance and will allow all the flavours to develop.
Water temperature is also very important to draw out the best from each type of tea. Most black teas should be brewed in water that is just coming up to boiling, but more delicate black teas, such as First Flush Darjeelings, require a temperature of 90° C. Dark oolongs should be brewed at 95° C, and green balled oolongs at 90° C. White teas brew well at around 80° C and most green teas should be brewed at 70° C.
Timing is also important and large leafed black teas should be brewed for 4-5 minutes, medium sized black teas for 3 minutes, and smaller particles for 2-3 minutes. White and oolong teas usually reach their optimum flavor in 3-4 minutes, Chinese style green teas need 3-4 minutes, while Japanese green teas brew more quickly and often only need 1- 1.5 minutes.
At the end of the optimum brewing time, the tea should always be separated from the water so that it doesn’t overbrew and become bitter and harsh.
Whatever type of tea you buy, whether in teabags or as loose leaf, it’s really important to store it very carefully so that no air, humidity or polluting odours can find their way into the tea pack. Keep the tea away from sunlight and strong-smelling foods, spices, herbs, etc. Always close the pack as quickly as possible after measuring tea or tea bags into the pot or other brewing vessel.