How to make the perfect cup of tea
People often ask us how to make the perfect cup of tea and we always tell them the same thing: while there are some fail-safe rules to be followed, at the end of the day, a cup of tea is so personal. Really, there isn’t just one perfect way to make it – you should enjoy it just the way you like it but if you’re new to loose leaf tea these suggestions may help you to start with your loose tea experience. We recommend you experiment with brewing times and tea quantities to suit your taste and mood and to create your very own ‘perfect cup of tea’!
Measures referred to on our website
1 person’s teapot (small teapot) = 300ml. 1 mug or large cup = 250ml. 1 cup = 150ml
General Tea Making Guidelines
Remember that quality loose tea especially oolongs often give many infusions as do some white teas. Most good green teas will give a second, and even third infusions but vary a lot, e.g. high quality Japanese tea may give many more infusions than a standard green tea, but are more sensitive to temperature. For example Japanese 'Gyokuro' requires a temperature as low as 60° C. Genmaicha will give a sweeter taste if brewed using a lower water temperature around 85 °C.
When making teas which give several infusions, always remember to pour out all the brewed tea from the teapot before adding more water for your next infusion. This will prevent 'stewing'. Some may have a flask of hot water at hand to top up your teapot with more hot water for further infusions. The number of infusions will vary with the quality and type of tea used.
Try and see what suits your taste buds, you never know what you may discover about tea.
Simple things that help to make better tea
Warm the teapot first! The reason for this is to help your tea infuse well and stop it going cold too quickly. Do this even if the water temperature for the tea you are brewing is supposed to be much lower than boiling. The Chinese go even further and warm their cups as well as the tea pot and pour hot water over the top of the teapot which runs down into a slatted tray for discarding later.
Use a good teapot which pours well (to make life easier; choose a simple one without holes inside the spout so you don’t struggle with cleaning out the tea leaves).
There are plenty of quality porcelain or stoneware glazed teapots to choose from which are dishwasher safe so you they are no trouble to clean.
For everyday use, use a porcelain cup or mug rather than a ceramic one, whenever possible. If you have a special bone china set, why not to use it even if only occasionally, you may be surprised how well your tea will taste from a special cup as long as you’re prepared to wash it by hand. It’s certainly worth it for the sake of delicious, comforting cup of tea.
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Use a good tea strainer (ideally with a fine mesh which is best for all types of tea including finer, broken leaves or herbal infusions). We also recommend it as an alternative ‘infuser’, because of its hook, it fits into most mugs and cups, so you can use it for brewing a single infusion. Alternatively you can use a fine mesh infuser buy try to find one suitable for your cup or mug. Traditional ‘ball’ style infusers may look pretty but a larger deeper infuser (open type one) works better as it holds a bigger amount and is useful for various (even larger) types of tea. More space will ensure the leave will have enough room to move around giving you better flavour.
Use freshly drawn water, more oxygen in water helps to make better tea. Avoid using re-boiled water. Use the correct water temperature and brewing time for the type of tea you are making
Descale kettle regularly (especially in hard water areas) as the limescale will noticeably negatively impact the tea.
Store tea pouch in a cool, dry and dark place. For the best taste, use within one year from the date of purchase. We recommend storing loose tea in dry cool place, in air-tight, dark containers.
Avoid using clear glass jars, if you like using glass for tea storage use dark glass containers instead or otherwise store in a cupboard.
Of course, it depends how quickly you drink your tea and therefore if you are a heavy tea drinker, a traditional metal tea caddy is the perfect solution, especially for storing black loose tea. These are not completely air tight so we don’t recommend them for scented teas or less robust teas such as some green or white teas. They are fine for most black teas such as Breakfast tea and Assam if you’re using the tea in the space of a month or so.
Store all tea far away from any heat (e.g. central heating, cooking stove or kettle). It is tempting to have it at hand near the kettle, just make sure it’s not above the rising heat and steam.