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Steep Tea Like an Expert

Working from home can make you restless easily. Prep a delicious cup of tea and recharge yourself during the day, or relax you at night.

To brew tea, it’s very simple – you just need to steep it in hot water. Steeping is the process of extracting the flavour and health-promoting compounds from the solids used to make tea.

Learn from this blog the best ways to steep tea so you can enjoy a perfect cup every time.

Types of Tea

Not all teas are the same, and steeping techniques vary depending on the type you’re brewing. There are 2 major types of tea: True teas or Herbal teas.

True teas come from the Camellia sinensis plant and include black, green, oolong, and white tea. Their flavours, colours and antioxidant contents differ depending on how the tea leaves are oxidized before they’re dried.

Herbal teas are not true teas. They’re infusions or decoctions made from the roots, leaves, stems, or flowers of herbs and plants, such as sacha inchi, peppermint, chamomile, or turmeric.

The basic steeping technique is the same for both, but the amount of water needed to brew a cup varies between dried and fresh ingredients. The steeping time and water temperature needed to extract the best flavours also differ.

Time & Temperature

To steep tea, pour hot water over your tea bag or fresh ingredients and let them rest for a few minutes. There’s no exact science, and you should experiment to find what tastes right to you. But here are some general guidelines;

A hotter temperature or longer steeping time doesn’t necessarily make the tea taste better. For example, studies shown that green tea brewed this way scored lower on colour, flavour, and aroma.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that caffeine content increases with a longer steep time. Steeping tea for an extra minute increases the caffeine content by up to 29% and using boiling temperature water increases it by up to 66%. However, this doesn’t apply to sacha inchi tea as there’s no caffeine in it.

Hot Steeping

Steeping your tea with hot water is the quickest way to brew a delicious cup of tea. White tea and green tea should be steep for 3 – 5 minutes at a lower temperature of 79°C, white oolong and black tea should be steep for 3 – 5 minutes at a higher temperature of 91°C.

You should steep dried herbal teas like chamomile, sacha inchi, and peppermint according to the manufacturer’s instructions at 100°C.

Cold Steeping

If you plan to drink your tea iced, cold steeping is the way to go. Steeping tea in cold to room-temperature water results in a less bitter and more aromatic tea and higher antioxidant content.

However, the lower the steeping temperature, the longer the brewing takes. In most cases, it could be as long as 12 hours. 

Tools, techniques, and tips

While there are special tools to help you steep tea, you can also keep it simple and still steep like an expert.

The basic tools you need are a teacup, teabag, and kettle. Simply place the teabag in your teacup. Fill the kettle with water, best if it’s filtered, and bring it to a boil. Then, let the water sit for a few minutes to lower the temperature and pour the water over your teabag in the teacup. Steep for about 5 minutes, or to your personal preference. 

For loose leaf tea, you will need an additional tool like a metal tea ball or infuser to hold the leaves. Measure out your desired dried tea leaves and place them in the tea infuser. Submerge it in a cup of freshly boiled water for the proper amount of time. 

As for cold-brewed tea, it’s a better idea to make multiple servings in a large jug at once because of its long steep time. Fill a jug with fresh, cold water and add 1 tea bag or 1 tablespoon of dried leaves in an infuser for every cup (250ml) of water.

In conclusion

Steeping tea in hot or cold water allows unique flavours, aromas, and health-promoting compounds to be extracted from the tea leaves. While there are recommendations for ideal steeping time and temperatures for different teas, experimenting with your own steeping methods will allow you to discover what tastes best to you. 

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