How to Make the Perfect Cuppa Tea
There are thousands and millions of tea drinkers all around the world. The global tea consumption in 2018 alone have reached 273 billion litres, and the number continues to rise .The discussion on how to make the perfect cuppa is a never ending one, and everyone swears by their own way of brewing. As a tea fanatic myself, this is the 'golden formula' that I have perfected over the years.
You will need:
Loose tea leaves
Warm Water (60-70°C) for Pre-warming
Optional: Lemon and/ or Milk
Step 1: Pre-warm both of your teapots and teacups with warm water (around 60-70°C)
There are two reasons why we need to pre-warm our teapots:
If we skip this step, the water temperature of our boiling water will immediately drop when it hits the cool teapot and tea leaves. Water that is too cool will not be able to extract the tea leaves' flavours fully and you will lose a lot of the complexity from your resulting tea.
This is an important step to protect and preserve your dainty vintage teapot that possibility is a family heritage. Pouring extremely hot liquid into a cool teapot could severely damage it. Due to the sharp temperature difference, the heat shock could force the wall of the teapot to expand in a very short period of time, which could produce cracks and lead to irreversible damage. By pre-warming your teapot, you bring up the teapot's temperature and reduces the temperature difference between it and the boiling water, preventing it from cracking. This step is especially important when you’re brewing tea in cold weather.
Step 2: Pick Your Tea
Depending on the types of tea you choose, the brewing temperature and time would vary. Keeping this in mind, we can then move to the next step after we know what tea we will be brewing.
Step 3: Freshly Boil Water to the Right Temperature.
Always use freshly boiled water. It is said that the high level of dissolved oxygen in freshly drawn water contribute to the depth and complexity of your tea, so never reboil your water if you want to have that perfect cuppa!
Using the right water temperature is crucial to making the perfect cup of tea. If the water used is too cold, you would not be able to extract all the good stuff from the tea leaves, leaving your tea bland. Conversely, if the water is too hot, you will bruise (or burn) your tea leaves, resulting in a bitter and astringent brew. Therefore, make sure the water you're using is at the right temperature when brewing tea. Most tea companies nowadays provides instructions on how to brew a specific blend. However, if that information is lacking, these are the general guidelines:
Step 4: One Teaspoon per Person, and One for the Pot.
Always measure out your tea leaves to ensure every single cups of your tea are of the perfect intensity. When I say one teaspoon per person, it does not mean you should add 2 teaspoons of tea leaves to a 6-cups teapot even though you’re just making tea for yourself and bae. Make sure that you know the volume of your teapot. If your teapot holds 6 cups of water, you will need 6 teaspoons of tea leaves plus one extra teaspoon for the pot.
Step 5: Rinse.
Pour a small amount of your freshly boiled water over the tea leaves, give it a quick swirl, and then discard the liquid immediately. The rinsing step serves two purposes:
It removes any dirt and impurities that is left on the surface of the tea leaves, which could give your tea an off taste sometimes
It loosens up the tea leaves, which helps them to unroll and relax later in the steeping step.
Step 6: Set Your Timer and Steep.
Set your timer to make sure the tea is not under- or oversteeped. In order to get the perfect cup of tea, the leaves need to be steeped long enough to ensure complete extraction of your fine tea leaves; but not long enough to extract too much tannin from it which could leave the final product with a bitter and rough aftertaste. If you are feeling extra fancy, use a hourglass instead of your phone's timer just because it is cool to look at!
Step 7: Pour the Freshly Brewed Tea Over a Tea Strainer, into the Serving Teapot.
By transferring the ready-to-drink tea into a serving teapot (also pre-warmed, of course), we avoided prolonged contact between the now perfectly brewed tea and the remaining tealeaves. If we let the leaves sit in the remaining liquid as we enjoy the first cup or two, the tea will continue to steep and we would end up with overly steeped tea which is never a good thing. By separating the tea from the tea leaves, we can lay back and enjoy our perfect cuppa without worrying about the rest of the pot. Make sure to use a tea warmer or tea cozy to keep your tea warm! Bonus, it looks really cute that way.
Step 8 (Optional): Add Milk or Lemon to Your Liking
If you prefer to add milk or lemon to your tea, this is the time to do it. If you are serving your tea with milk, make sure your milk is at room temperature. There is an endless debate on whether you should pour in the tea first or the milk first. Personally I like to pour the milk before I pour the tea. I think it gives the tea a smoother mouthfeel while protecting my precious vintage teacups from getting heat shocked. But it is your perfect cuppa so do whatever pleases you!
Step 9: Enjoy and Thank Me Later!
1. Annual tea consumption worldwide from 2013 to 2021 (in billion liters). In Statista - The Statistics Portal. Retrieved on 31 Jan 2019 https://www.statista.com/statistics/940102/global-tea-consumption/