Brewed loose tea not only tastes much better than tea brewed out of a paper teabag, but it is also the more healthful option. Both black and green teas have antioxidants that are released during the brewing process. Antioxidants are beneficial to overall health. Unfortunately, the more a tea is processed, the more antioxidants are lost in the process. For this reason, it is a great idea for all tea lovers to learn how to brew loose tea. Tea is a great beverage for any time of year or day, and freshly brewed loose tea is a true treat.
Things You'll Need
- Loose tea
Find a loose tea supplier. Loose tea can be found in a few grocery stores, but the best varieties are found at smaller stores that specialize in teas and coffees. These shops are also great resources to find a tea steeper, teapots and teacups.
Choose an intriguing brew. Take the time to smell a few interesting tea mixes and question the store employees about popular brews. Keep in mind that some stores will even allow the customers to create special blends from available teas.
Pick out an infuser. Infusers are typically metal mesh or ceramic. Some are only large enough for a 6 oz. single-serving teacup, while others can be large enough for a whole teapot. Some teapots come equipped with an infuser inside.
The chosen infuser should hold at least 1 tsp. of loose tea per serving. The mesh should be tight enough that no tea leaves will be able to escape. The most important aspect, however, is how tightly the infuser secures. An infuser that secures tightly is preferred to one that has gaps. Few people enjoy the grit of tea leaves in their cup, and a tightly secured infuser is the key to preventing this problem.
Making the Perfect Brew
Fill a stovetop teakettle with water, and bring to a boil. Make sure the water is of the highest quality. Water straight from the faucet has a tendency to taste metallic or sometimes chlorinated. Using filtered water is preferable for the best taste.
Prepare the tea infuser. The amount of loose tea placed in the tea infuser will vary depending on taste. For a light flavor, start with 1 tsp. per serving; for a stronger tea taste, opt for 2 tsp. Place the tea loosely in the infuser and secure the infuser shut.
Place the infuser in a teacup or teapot and pour the water over the infuser. Let the tea steep for 3 to 5 minutes. The longer a tea steeps, the more caffeine and tannins will be released into the brew. Watch for oversteeping. Many teas, especially black teas, will become bitter if left to steep too long.
Dress the brew to taste and drink up. Add a little sugar or honey to green teas, cream and sugar to black tea mixes and nothing at all to white teas, oolongs and herbal teas. A little sugar brings out many of the hidden flavors of any intricate blend, and all tea brews benefit from the addition of a fresh squeeze of lemon.
Tips & Warnings
- For loose green, oolong and white teas, let the boiling water cool a few minutes before pouring. Water that is too hot will yield a bitter result as it burns the delicate leaves.
- Photo Credit Woodsy @ sxc.hu/woodsy
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