How To Brew
Tea, whether camellia sinensis (common tea) or herbal tea, is the second most consumed beverage in the world. So what kinds of teas are there, and how do I brew them? Great question.
White Tea: This tea is one of the rarest forms of camellia sinensis due to it being produced in much smaller quantities than other types of tea. Young leaves or new growth buds undergo a minimal amount of oxidation before being halted by being baked dry. They also may be allowed to dry slowly naturally in the sun. This results in a lighter flavor than other teas.
- Brewing: Amount: 1 heaping teaspoon per 8 ounces water. Water temperature: 160°F-185°F. Steep time: 2 - 5 minutes.
Green Tea: The most commonly consumed tea in Asia, this tea is quickly heated after being picked by steam (Japanese method), or by dry cooking in hot pans (Chinese method). High quality green tea retains most of the chemical composition of the fresh leaves.
- Brewing: Amount: 1 heaping teaspoon per 8 ounces water. Water temperature: 160°F-180°F. Steep time: 30 seconds - 3 minutes. The large range in steep time is due to the various grades and types of green teas.
Oolong: This tea is produced by withering the leaves under the strong sun. The leaves are then oxidized anywhere between green tea and black tea. This amount depends on the style and location where the tea is produced.
- Brewing: Amount: 1 heaping teaspoon per 8 ounces water. Water temperature: 185°F-205°F. Steep time: 1.5 - 3 minutes.
Black Tea: This type of tea is the most commonly known tea in the western world. Black tea starts out as a green tea which is left to oxidize, turning it the characteristic dark color.
- Brewing: Amount: 1 heaping teaspoon per 8 ounces water. Water temperature: 190°F-212°F. Steep time: 2 - 3 minutes.
Red Tea: This type of tea usually refers to Rooibos, or Honeybush tea. Both teas are endemic to the Western Cape province of South Africa.
- Brewing: Amount: 1 heaping teaspoon per 9 ounces water. Water temperature: 212°F. Steep time: 5 - 7 minutes.
Herbal Tea: Herbal tea is any mixture of herbs, spices, or any combination of herbs, spices, and even camellia sinensis.
- Brewing: Amount: 1 tsp - 1 Tbsp per 8 ounces water. Water temperature: 212°F. Steep time: 4 - 10 minutes. The hardier the herbs (roots, bark, stems, etc.) the longer the steep time usually is. Shorter steep times for more delicate herbal teas that include more flowers.
Remember, the brewing suggestions are only just that...suggestions. You should experiment with different types of teas and different brewing methods to truly find your own way of enjoying tea. You have specific individual tastes, so enjoy your tea, your way!