Asian brewing is distinct. Tea is prepared as an infusion of whole leaves multiple times in short bursts. Traditionalists prefer brewing it in a small clay teapot (“Zisha Hu”). Depending on the tea, a quarter to a third of the teapot is filled with leaves. After brewing, the tea is usually drunk pure, in small cups. It is believed that the due to the larger amount of tea used and short intervals of steeping, this method provides for a richer taste. In fact, each additional infusion can reveal distinct flavors, especially if the tea is of a suitably high quality. This style of brewing is also about encouraging relaxation and allowing enough quality time to spend with family and friends.
In all brewing methods, there are always a few important factors to be attentive to:
1) The type of tea:
Different teas require different water temperatures to produce optimum flavor. Oxidised teas like black tea, need hotter water to release a full bodied flavour. Green and white teas have more delicate flavors. If you’re looking for a strong brew, use smaller tea leaves as it creates a stronger tea liquor by infusing more flavour.
2) The type of water:
Don’t forget that tea is fundamentally flavoured water,even if milk is added. It is important to use good and fresh water, for a good flavour profile. Some teahouses recommend using water that is more alkaline.
3) The temperature of the water:
Generally tea requires a brewing temperature of anywhere from 70°C to 100°C, depending on its type. White and green teas need to be brewed with much cooler water than Oolong, Black and Puerh teas, which can stand higher temperatures.
4) Steeping method:
One of the essential requirements of brewing tea is giving the leaves enough room to unfurl and expose surface area. By doing so, the essential oils have time to transfer from the leaves into the water and their flavor is properly extracted. Hence, the tea should flow freely through the water so no tea bags, infusion baskets or tea balls! Ideally, water should be poured directly over the tea and can be strained before drinking. Secondly, how long you steep controls the flavour of your brew - if it’s too little, the tea is weak and watery; if it is over steeped, it is bitter and astringent. Steeping time also affects the quantity of caffeine in your brew. For more alertness, steep for a shorter amount of time. For less caffeine, you can do a brief steep, pour out the brew, and then re-steep to cut as much as 80% of the caffeine.
If you’re not sure, use this handy timer to know how long to steep your brew!
3 Reasons to Cold Brew
1. BALANCED FLAVORS:
Brewing makes all the difference to a cup of tea. Leave the tea bag in too long and it’s bound to get bitter. Take it out too soon and it will taste weak. With cold brewing, you don’t have to worry about timing. Cold water extracts flavors more slowly and naturally so the result is less bitter and more clean than hot tea.
2. NO ICE:
Ice is generally used to cool the tea, but it can also water down its unique flavor profile. When you cold brew, there’s no need to add ice since the tea is chilled in the refrigerator.
3. HEALTH BENEFITS:
Cold brewed tea retains more antioxidants than hot brewed teas. Studies also show that cold brewed teas contain about half (or two thirds) the amount of caffeine.
FOR LOOSE OR TEA BAGS:
1.Pour 8 oz. of just boiled water over 2 Tbsp. loose leaf tea (or 2 tea bags).
2.Steep for 2-4 minutes.
3.Strain and pour over ice. Or strain, let cool, and refrigerate to chill.