Each type of tea brews differently, so be sure to follow the instructions on your tea packet. Each are individually written for that tea’s ingredients.
Elizabeth Ruby has studied with tea sommeliers for a number of years and has learned the best practices for each type of tea.
Always start with fresh, cold water. The freshest water brews the best tea.
Always warm your tea pot. A cold tea pot will steal the heat from the water, and by extension, your tea. Warm it by pouring just a bit of the boiling water and swirling it around in your pot. Pour out the water. This will also help keep your tea pot clean and prevent any taste confusion.
Pack your tea leaves loosely. Whatever device you choose to brew with, leave room for the leaves to expand.
Black tea: Steep directly out of a rolling boil for about 3-5 minutes. Oolongs and Darjeelings are the exception. Follow the suggestions on the packet.
Green tea: After coming to a boil, allow the water to cool to about 160 – 175 degrees. Steep for 1-2 minutes. (Steeping in still-boiling water will cause the tea to scald and taste bitter.)
White teas: After coming to a boil, allow the water to cool to about 150 degrees. Steep for 2-3 minutes.
Herbals: Most herbals can be treated like a black tea, with full boiling water and a longer steeping time of 5-7 minutes.
HOW TO DECAFFEINATE ANY TEA:
Prepare to brew your tea as usual. Place your tea into the proper water for 30 seconds to a minute. All of the caffeine is released from the tea leaves in the first 30 seconds of a brew. Remove the tea, throw out the water, and brew as usual. This is handy for those who are not supposed to ingest caffeine, or when you want a cup of tea before bed.