Tea can seem simple. Put leaves in the water, boil the water, and drink. However, while this is mostly true, it isn’t entirely accurate. Different types of tea work best with specific variations. There is a general procedure, but details will vary based on the tea you’re preparing.
Here are a few guidelines to help you prepare better tea.
First, water should be fresh and cold. Purified water is best due to being free of substances that can alter the taste of the tea. However, some natural mineral content is good because it can enhance the flavor.
Whatever you like, avoid distilled water because it leaves the taste flat. Pre-heated water is also a bad move. This sort of water is typically overheated, losing oxygen content.
In most types of tea – especially Asian ones – bring the water to a gentle boil before preparing. Heat until a steady stream of bubbles rises to the surface.
In fact, the temperature is necessary. Different variants of tea require different temperatures. Japanese green tea, for example, only has the right flavor if boiled at a cooler temperature. In contrast, for black tea, you need the water much hotter.
The duration is also crucial. Different types of tea must brew at different times. Delicate teas like green only need a short period. A heartier tea or fermented ones require longer periods to infuse properly.
At the same time, culture plays a part. In some regions of the world, certain teas must brew for a particular time, even if this would be anathema to an outsider.
The material of the pot also matters since it affects the quality of the infusion.
Materials like iron or Chinese ceramics tend to excel at retaining heat. Glass and porcelain have a higher chance of releasing heat over time. If you need a tea prepared for a long time at high temperatures, go with ceramics or iron. Delicate teas should go in glass or porcelain.