Steps in making tea:
10 Points before you start-
- First, ensure that the utensils that you use for making tea are clean.
- See that the water is fresh and clean. Whatever be the source of the water, be it tap, spring or filter, it should be tasty and odorless as far as possible.
- Do not use already boiled water or distilled water. Always use fresh and cold water.
- When preparing tea with milk, add the tea to the milk. Do not add milk to the cup with tea. This enables smoother mixing of tea with milk.
- If you are using powdered milk, put the whitener into the cup first.
- Never use cold liquid milk. It will spoil the taste of a cup of hot tea. Heat the milk before you pour into the cup.
- You can add sugar or sweetener to the cup at any time.
- Never add lemon with milk. The acid in lemon juice will react with the milk. As a result the milk will curdle.
- If you want to use condiments like ginger, cardamom or bay leaf into your cup, add it while the water is boiling.
- Never use the microwave to reheat the tea.
Making tea – know the steps:
Put fresh water into the pot and put it on fire. The measurement for a standard cup should be around 200 ml (six and a half ounce). With one liter water you will get five cups of tea. The temperature of the water may be slightly different for different varieties of tea as below:
You know that the white or green tea leaves are very much delicate. Hence avoid use of over boiled water. Over heated water may destroy the flavor of the tea. Hence use cooler water only. This will extract the right flavors of green and white tea. Hence keep the water temperature level within 165-185 °F (74 to 85 °C). You will get this temperature just before the boiling starts.
As you know, oolong tea is a partially oxidized tea. Hence it has a little hint of greenness of green tea with mostly brownness of black tea. So you should ensure that the water temperature is within the range of 200 to 205°F (93 to 96°C).
At the time of its production, tea leaves are allowed to oxidize fully. Hence bright color and strong flavor are the hallmark of a quality black tea. To extract the best out of it, you will need hotter water for proper infusion of black tea. The optimum level of temperature range for black tea is around 200 to 212 F (93-100°C).
Common practices you should follow in making tea
- Pour some boiling water to warm up the pot or the cup you will be using for brewing the tea. Then pour out the water. If you pour the hot tea directly to a cold cup, the cup shall absorb some amount of heat from the hot tea. This will make your tea a little bit colder and may be staler.
- Add the tea leaves at the rate of one teaspoon (2 gm) for each cup of tea. Then pour the boiled water into the pot or cup and cover it with the lid.
- Allow the tea to brew for a minimum duration of one minute. If you enjoy less warm tea, you can wait for up to three minutes for a stronger brew. As I myself prefer a hotter cup, I do not allow my cup to brew longer. I fear the brew may loose its steam with longer brewing time! Hence I add a little bit more amount of tea say half a teaspoonful to the cup for a quick brew. This works for me.
- Pour the brew into the cup using a strainer.
- Stir the tea with a spoon if you add sugar or any other condiments of your choice. Use a separate spoon for stirring. Never use the spoon kept inside the sugar container. This may spoil the tea.
For oolong tea add two teaspoons of tea (3 gm) into a cup. Brew the tea for around 2 to 5 minutes. One special quality of good oolong is that you can re-brew it up to five times using the same leaves. One interesting point with high quality oolong is that you can get a better tea each time with re-brewing. And you may find the third brew to be the best!
For the enjoyment of full bodied strong CTC tea, you have many options. You can enjoy the tea with sugar, milk, ginger, lemon, black pepper or even with a pinch of salt too. You may need to adjust the brewing time according to the grain size. For example, you shall have to allow more time to bigger sized brokens for brewing than the smaller sized fannings or dust categories for that matter.
Making tea with milk – the Indian way
In India, most of the people prefer milk tea. It is prepared using CTC black tea. If you want to make tea in Indian style, here is how to make it.
First add the water into the pan and and boil it. Then add milk as per your choice. For a stronger cup, do not add more than one fourth of milk to a cup. More milk will shadow the brightness and flavor of the cup. You can add ginger or cardamom if you wish. Then add the tea leaves at the rate of one full teaspoon per cup. Allow the tea to boil for a minute. Now your cup of tea is ready. Now pour the tea into the cup using a strainer. Add sugar as per your taste. If you want to make a more concentrated ‘special tea’, then do not use water. Make the tea with pure milk. But for making ‘special tea’, you will have to add more tea leaves per cup – up to two teaspoon depending on the thickness of the milk.