Tea readily absorbs odours and fragrances from other products. So they are best stored in an air-tight container, away from light and moisture.
Tea should be brewed using fresh, pure cold water. This may be tap water or better still, water that has been filtered or bottled. Most tea brews best in moderate to soft water. Avoid hard water, particularly when preparing green, white & oolong tea. If unavoidable, filter first.
Measuring the Tea
If you are unsure, it is better to start with a level teaspoon per cup of water and brew for the recommended time. Add more or less tea according to your taste. White teas usually require larger amounts, approximately 1 – 2 tsp per cup. Generally speaking, however, with all teas and infusions, if you want a stronger flavour, it is best to increase the amount of tea you use rather than increasing the steeping time.
The correct water temperature is crucial in the successful preparation of tea. Black teas, oolongs and pu-erh require near boiling water, while the temperature for white and green teas should be lower. See below for water temperature guidelines.
How to get the correct Water Temperature
The best method is to use a variable temperature kettle. These kettles have indicators telling you when the water has reached a certain temperature and are available at department stores.
Another method is to use the ratio of cold water to boiling water. For example, the following temperatures can approximately be obtained and multiplied for larger amounts of water:
75˚C = 60ml (1/4 cup) cold water + 190ml boiling water
80˚C = 50ml (1/5 cup) cold water + 200ml boiling water
85˚C = 30ml (1/8 cup) cold water + 220ml boiling water
90˚C = 15ml cold water + 235 ml boiling water
Infusion or brewing times vary according to the type of tea. Certain types of tea, such as green, oolong, white and pu-erh can be reinfused. See below for infusion guidelines.
|Green tea||1-3mins (2nd infusion)|
|Blooming Tea||3-5mins (2nd infusion)|
|White Tea||3-5mins, longer if desired (2nd infusion)|
|Oolong Tea||3-5mins (2nd infusion)|
|Pu-erh Tea||2-5mins (2nd & 3rd infusion)|
|Black Tea (normal )*||2-3mins|
|Black Tea (broken and whole leaf)||3-5mins|
*For black tea, a general rule of thumb is the smaller the leaf, the shorter the brewing time
Serve: White or Black?
Many tea purists do not add milk to their tea, nor do they add sugar or lemon. It is, however, perfectly acceptable to add a splash of cold milk to black teas especially if they come in the form of broken leaves or fannings for example, teabag tea.
Note: Milk is not added to green, white, oolong, pu-erh or blooming tea. It is only an optional addition for black tea.