“The path to heaven passes through a pot of tea.” – Ancient Chinese Proverb
The art of tea is an ancient one that has made its way around the world and has a history that is over a thousand years old. The art of making a perfect cup of tea is far more than just pouring boiling water over a teabag. From knowing what tea to select, the ideal amount to buy, how to store it as well as how to brew it and just how much to drink every day are all important things to consider. Each element, from the water you choose to the temperature used to brew the tea, has a great deal of bearing on the taste and enjoyment of a cup of tea.
Choosing Your Tea
Tea professionals such as tea blenders and sommeliers go through extensive training to know how to select and blend the best teas. It’s essential to choose teas made from the finest tea leaves, herbs, spices, and other ingredients. Here at Sir Jason Winters International, we take great pride in the high-quality ingredients in every product that we offer. Each of our teas are blended by a professional tea blender to ensure the best quality.
Storing Your Tea
No matter what kind of tea you purchase, like all types of herbs and spices, it is essential to keep tea leaves away from heat, moisture, and light. Choose an airtight container that is specially designed to hold tea or store in a dark amber or cobalt blue glass jar that can be kept in a cool dark place. Never use plastic or cardboard as it is porous and can absorb any volatile oils in the tea or other herbs and can increase exposure to outside scents, pests, and lessen the shelf life of the drink.
Choosing the Best Water for Tea
Approximately 1,200 years ago, Lo Yu, the author of the ancient Chinese book, “The Classic of Tea,” referred to water as being “The Mother of Tea.” Lo Yu wrote that when brewing tea, the highest quality water should be used. Today, the best water comes from mountain streams. Of lesser quality is river water, followed by water that is drawn from an artesian well that has few minerals within it. Hard water can make tea taste dull or even oily.
Many cities have reclaimed or highly treated water that can affect the taste of tea. Water should be cold, low in minerals, and preferably filtered. Remember: The fresher the water, the more you will notice the delicate and complex tastes contained within the tea.
Heating Water to the Proper Temperature
When heating water for tea, temperature plays a crucial role. Teas that are considered delicate like a white, yellow, green, or teas containing flowers are heated to a somewhat lower temperature than black teas. These types of teas are best infused at approximately 180 degrees Fahrenheit (82 degrees Celsius). A higher temperature can cause a bitter cup of tea by bruising the delicate tea leaves.
Black and herbal teas, on the other hand, need to be prepared with water that has been brought to a boil or a temperature of approximately 210 degrees Fahrenheit (99 degrees Celsius) to penetrate the cellular wall of the tea and bring out the best flavor. No matter what type of tea you choose to drink, it’s important not to over-boil your water. Boiling water too long causes it to lose oxygen. The more oxygen that is within the water, the better and more complex the taste of your tea.
If you will be using a teapot to steep your tea, it’s important to preheat it before pouring the hot water into the pot. A cold teapot can cool the water to below boiling and also affect the taste of your tea.
How Much Tea to Use
A good rule of thumb in making any type of tea is to use one teaspoon of tea for each cup of tea that you are brewing. If you are brewing a pot of tea that holds four cups, for example, you will want to put four teaspoons of tea into the teapot for brewing. However, always follow the brewing instructions located on the packaging of the tea you purchased.
Some tea connoisseurs recommend adding a bit of hot water into the pot and swirling it around before adding the rest of the water to steep them. This action helps the tea to “wake up” and encourages the leaves to unfurl and begin to release their flavor.
The Right Amount of Time to Steep Your Tea
Depending on the type of tea you are brewing, steeping time can vary. More delicate teas require less steeping time while darker teas and herbal blends may require more time to bring out the best flavor. Steeping tea for too long can cause the leaves to release more tannins and can create a bitter cup of tea.
At Sir Jason Winters, we have included instructions on every package of our tea for precise measurements and steeping times to help ensure you brew the best tasting cup of tea possible.
Our loose leaf teas may be placed in an infuser or tea sack and can be steeped for up to 15 minutes to ensure you get all of the benefits of our tea.
If you choose to go with our herbal tea bags, you can have a cup of Sir Jason Winters Tea ready to drink in just two or three minutes. Our teas are economical, too. You can reuse your tea bag to steep an additional one or two more cups of tea if you wish!
For our line of pre-brewed teas, both the original formula and our Green Herbal Tea or GHT can be ready to drink in a couple of minutes, and you only need ½ teaspoon to enjoy its delicious taste.
For over 40 years, Sir Jason Winters International has been proud to offer our high quality and delicious teas in a variety of forms and flavors that people worldwide have come to love.
Now is the time to sit back and enjoy the delicious beauty that can be found in tea.
The Way of Tea” by Master Lam Kam Chuyen, Lam Kai Sin and Lam Tin Yu, 2002, Barron’s Educational Series, NY
“The Tea Box” by Giles Brochard, 2001, Barron’s Educational Series, Hauppauge, NY
“Modern Tea: A Fresh Look at an Ancient Beverage” by Lisa Boalt Richardson, 2014, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA
“20,000 Secrets of Tea “by Victoria Zak, 1999, Random House, New York, N.Y.