Is brewing tea a lost art?
For many, many years now we've relied on the ubiquitous tea bag to contain our leaves, fruits and herbs - how often do we stop to consider what's actually in them?
It wasn't always the case - our childhood recollections involve teapots resplendant in the middle of tables everywhere we went - at our grandparents, aunties, cousins and neighbours houses.
From the conversations we have with our customers, we're not the only ones - so how did it come to this?
There's no doubt that teabags offer ultimate convenience, but as you've probably heard there can be issues ...
We made our choice to drink loose leaf tea for it's beauty, flavour and experience.
If you follow in our footsteps you'll be pleased to know the right tools for the job these days make it easy and convenient, without sacrificing lots of time or creating lots of mess.
Here's how ....
Brewing tea in all its varieties is a matter of infusing your blend of choice in water so that the flavours impart themselves to the liquid.
On that basis, you can use pretty much any recepticle to do that - many people have old teapots around the house but you could do it directly in any mug, jug, pan - just as you do with your teabag.
What you ideally want to avoid is then transferring the bits into your drinking vessel when you pour, as anyone who has encountered a mouth full of tealeaves will tell you - it's unpleasant!
There are a number of ways this can be achieved ...
The good old fashioned tea strainer
Just like they did in the old days - pour the tea into your cup through a strainer which will filter out the leaves and keep them out of your cup.
If you find you have a teapot without filter / strainer at home and don't want to invest in any new fangled tea tech right now, this is probably the easiest place to start.
Downsides are it can be a bit messy and emptying the leaves from the teapot can be a bit of a chore.
Our much preferred option!
They can be referred to a strainers / infusers /filters - we like to call them "re-useable tea bags". They can be found in all sorts of fun and funky shapes and sizes which can be used in almost any mug or cup. However, it's nigh on impossible to find one to fit an existing teapot.
Beware! They can be fiddly and we are looking for convenience so choose one which is easy to fill, empty and clean.
A great choice for a one person / one time brew and definitely fit for purpose.
Often they are a very stylish addition to your home or office and we even know people who have specific ones for different teas.
We are rather partial to those based on traditional Chinese designs with accompanying lids - they help to keep your brew warm and can sometimes also be used as very handy coasters.
Whatever your choice they'll include the all important infuser / strainer in the kit - easy to use and easy to admire.p>
The Modern Teapot
If you want to brew several cups at one time, nothing replaces our beloved teapot - icon of home, comfort and relaxation.
Nowadays you can find teapots with integral infusers to contain your loose leaves - making emptying and cleaning the pot a much easier ball game.
This also means you can adjust the brewing time much more easily to prevent over-brewing (or stewing as it was once known - ugh!) .
Available in glass, ceramic, metal varieties they are life changing for tea lovers - choose the one which fits your style perfectly and enjoy,
Spoon your chosen blend into your infuser / teapot ...
How much should I use?
As referred to in our Top Tea Tips this somewhat depends on how strong you like your tea. We suggest roughly a rounded teaspoon of tea (approx. 2g) per cup / mug required. Teas / infusions are not all equal in size so you may need more or less to achieve your goal - the experimenting and tweaking is part of the fun!
Bring freshly drawn water to the boil ...
What temperature should the water be?
This depends on the type of tea you're brewing.
Generally black teas will infuse just under boiling point whereas green & white teas are more delicate and require lower temperatures. Refer to our descriptions for each tea for more specific information but in all cases we advise boiling the water first and leaving to cool if necessary.
Pour over the tea and leave to infuse ...
How long should I leave the tea to infuse?
This also depends on the desired end result - strong, weak or middling.
Black teas will normally take around 3 - 6 minutes, or in our case enough time to eat a slice of toast.
We find that green teas would be very bitter if left more than 1 - 2 minutes, however, some green tea drinkers embrace that stonger taste.
This is where infusers used in mugs or teapots are genius giving you complete control over when to remove or pour.
Refer to our descriptions for each tea for more specific information but in all cases we advise tweaking your brewing time to achieve a cuppa to your own taste.
Sit back and enjoy your personal perfect cuppa ...
With a friend, with a book, with your own thoughts - the choice is yours!