Updated: Jul 12, 2020
It seems so simple. Put some tea in a pot and add boiling water. With the invention of tea bags in 1903 it became even more simple – no more guessing how many spoonfuls of tea to use.
The art and science of tea brewing have been evolving for almost two thousand years with the first recorded use from China in 59 BC. Tea became a popular beverage in Europe in the 16th century and then in England in the 17th. Even with that long history too many of us still get it wrong.
Art and Science
Dedicated tea drinkers believe that using tea bags is a sacrilege and should only be resorted to in cases of emergency when no loose tea or teapot is available.
There is no question that tea bags are convenient and that sometimes we have to choose between perfection and convenience in our busy modern lives. Tea connoisseurs have concerns that some blended materials used in the manufacture of tea bags may affect the taste, be harmful to the environment and pose a health risk.
Tea Brewing Essentials
The first step is to select and purchase your tea from our store Choosing the right tea depends on many factors which we will address in a future post.
Tea Pot or Cafetiere (French Press)
Tea Cosy or other covering
Cup & Saucer or Mug
Your teapot should be made of glass, china or silver.
Aluminum teapots were very popular in the early and mid 20th centuries until health concerns about aluminum being a possible contributor to Alzheimer's and dementia. We find that tea made in silver, glass or china teapots always tastes better.
For the same reasons, cups should be made of glass or china, not enamel, metal or plastic.
The Science of Tea Brewing
The science of tea brewing is quite simple.
Place tea in teapot
pour boiling water onto tea in teapot,
allow to steep
Brewing the perfect cup of tea needs the heart and the hand of the artist in you. It’s an art of nuances, care, feeling and years of practice.
The Art Of Tea Brewing
Fill your kettle with clean water – filtered if necessary to remove sediment
Boil your kettle. (Set to a specific temperature if appropriate)
Select the correct sized teapot for the number of cups to be poured (Teapot should be filled to 60% to 90% to prevent rapid heat loss or scalded hands)
Warm your teapot by filling it to 25% with hot water
Just before your kettle boils, swirl the hot water around to heat the upper part of the pot.
Empty the teapot
From your airtight tea storage container (tea caddy) add 1 heaped teaspoon of tea for each cup required
When the water in the kettle is at the correct temperature, pour over the tea in the teapot, adding enough water for the number of cups needed.
Cover teapot with a tea cosy or other covering to maintain temperature.
Allow tea to steep for appropriate length of time for the variety being brewed and for personal preference.
Gently swirl teapot for a uniform brew
Pour tea and enjoy
The Japanese have developed the brewing, pouring and drinking of tea into a tradition. You will find that you will enjoy practicing tea brewing an art instead of a science. You will develop your own rituals, find your favourite tea, discover the exact quantities to use, the right temperature for the water, how long it should be steeped.
You will become the artist to create your own perfect brew.