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Five Tips for Making an Exceptional Cup of Tea

Story and Photography Provided

Most everyone has probably brewed a cup of tea in their life, and many people have their own method of doing so. Did you know that there actually is a right and a wrong way to brew tea?

Maybe you are one of those people who say, “I don’t like tea,” but maybe you have simply been brewing your tea the wrong way. Here are five tips to help you brew the perfect cup of tea – maybe if you follow these tips you’ll become a person who says, “I like tea!” 

1.  Use a high-quality tea. Tea of poor quality reflects how the tea leaves have been handled and processed. A quality tea is handpicked so as not to damage the leaves. Quality tea is most often grown organically without use of pesticides and fertilizers. All of these factors affect the taste. Quality tea just tastes better. We carry Republic of Tea, Elmwood Inn, VAHDAM, Oliver Pluff & Company, and TeaSource teas.

2.  Use correct water temperature. Heat the water to a boil and then let it sit for at least one minute to cool down a little. Adding boiling water to tea will scald the leaves, and will affect the flavor and overall outcome. The perfect water temperature depends on the kind of tea you are brewing. Water for white and green teas should be between 170 and 185 degrees Fahrenheit. Oolong should be brewed between 180 and 190 degrees, and black and herbal teas should be brewed between 208 and 212 degrees. We carry tea kettles that will control the temperature. 

3.  The most common mistake in brewing tea is brewing it for too long. The longer you let the tea leaves sit in hot water, the more tannin is released. Too much tannin creates a bitter tea. Even if you like your tea a little bitter, there is a limit, and an overly steeped tea will become very bitter and unpalatable. As with water temperature, brewing time varies with tea variety. Usually the packaging will tell you how long you should brew the tea. Don’t overlook this step, as it makes a difference. We carry tea timers that take out the guesswork, allowing the user to push a button for each kind of tea.

4.  Use quality water. Sometimes the quality of the water being used can make a huge difference. You can of course use tap water, but if your tap dispenses “hard” water or has a sulfur smell, or if you live in a town with chlorinated water, consider spring or filtered water.

5.  Store your tea properly. If your tea is not stored properly, away from strong odors, it can absorb odors that will adversely affect the taste. To keep your tea fresh, it should be stored in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight – preferably a dark cabinet. You should also store your tea in an airtight container to protect it from becoming contaminated by odors.

The quality tea in bagged and loose form sold at New Kitchen Store, along with the above tips, will ensure that your next tea drinking experience will be brew-ti-ful!

New Kitchen Store, the largest gourmet kitchen supply store in Michiana, is located at 330 Liberty Street in Walkerton. For more information, call 574-586-2745 or visit NewKitchenStore.com.

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