Tea is Delicious! You Should Drink it Correctly!

Tea is amazing and it’s good for you.  There are so many different kinds of tea to try and enjoy.  So, what is the best way to drink it.  There are loose leaf teas, tea bags, powdered teas, and tea flowers.  Which is the best way to drink your tea though?  Let’s look at how to properly brew each of these types of teas and see which one would probably be best and why.

IMG_1190Before we get to that let’s go over the six most common ways to process tea.  White Teas are unoxidized and have wilted.  Yellow teas and Green Teas are both unoxidized and unwilted.  However, unlike other teas, Yellow Teas are allowed to turn yellow.  Oolong teas have been partially oxidized.  Like White Teas, Oolongs are wilted.  These Oolongs  have the leaves bruised though.  Black Teas are wilted, fully oxidized, and at times crushed.  Post-Fermented Teas are made of feremented Green Teas.  Keep in mind that Black Teas are called Red Tea in China and that Post-Fermented Teas are called Black Teas in China.

Loose leaf teas are often associated with proper British teas and tea snobs.  To brew loose leaf teas you need a tea infuser or a tea ball.  For a good cup of tea you should use one teaspoon of the leaves in the infuser or tea ball.  White teas only need to be steep for one to two minutes.  The same is true for Yellow and Green Tea.  Black and Oolong Teas take about three minutes to brew.  The good thing about using loose leaf teas is that you can get several brewings out of each teaspoon.  You can resteep White and Yellow Teas up to three times.  Green, Black, and Oolongs an be brewed any where from four to six times depending on the blend.  In terms of the temperature of the water poured over the tea leaves, it varies.  White Teas are best at 150°F.  Yellow Teas are best at 160°F. Green Teas brew best at 170°F.  180°F is best for Oolongs.  Black Teas have the highest brewing water of the loose leaf teas at 210°F.

When it comes to tea bags you can follow the steep time and water temperatures of the loos leaf teas.  However, bagged teas can only be brewed once.  The leaves are often ground more finely than loose leaf teas, but not as finely as powdered teas.  These teas are more common in the States than else where in the world.  While they are more continent in that you don’t have to measure the amount of tea being used, they are not quite as flavourful.  You miss a lot of the lighter notes in the tea that you can usually only get from the loose leaf teas because of the finer grinding of the tea leaves.  While most of these are brewed with hot water, there are a few varieties that can be brewed with cold water.

Powdered teas are an anomaly to me.  It can be brewed with both hot and cold water.  They are odd tasting and bitter.  However, they are very continent.  The only real way to make these tolerable is to add flavouring to them.  This form of tea was made for soldiers in the war.  It is a good idea in general much like instant coffee. It tastes bad and there really isn’t a good way to brew it to make it taste bad without adding stuff to it.  I avoid these types of teas whenever possible.  If I have a choice between powdered teas and something else, I will always pick something else despite tea being my drink of choice.
Flowering Teas are so much fun!  They are a variation of loose leaf teas.  They are bundles of tea leaves and flowers.  They steep for about 5 minutes and the water is a 212°F.  These flowers can be used about 5 times.  Keep in mind the longer you use the flower the longer it will you will need to steep it longer.  These are typically brewed in clear glass tea pots because they are so pretty.  They usually have a very floral flavour to them.  They are wonderful and if nothing else quite a conversation piece for when you are having tea with other people.

Out of these teas, the loose leaf teas and flowering teas are the best teas for if you are really wanting to enjoy a good quality cup of tea.  If you are just wanting a cup of tea just to have a cup of tea, tea bags are great.  I use loose leaf teas, flowering teas, and tea bags.  Powdered teas should just be stayed away from whenever possible.  I mean unless you are in to drinking supper bitter weak teas.  If that is the case then powdered teas are for you.