In today’s fast-paced world, it too often seems we have a need for speed: We want to get there faster, receive our information quicker, and our day-to-day activities are often completed in a rush. As we find ourselves racing around more, it seems that fewer of us are taking the time to slow down and enjoy the finer simplicities life has to offer. This haste creates the impression that our lives are almost out of our control, life is swallowing us up gulp by gulp, rather than us savoring life sip by sip.
For generations, people all over the world have taken the time to pause and enjoy a hot cup of tea with family and friends. Keeping this tradition alive in today’s hectic world is a fine way to slow down and unwind. I have few memories of my maternal grandfather, but one of those precious memories is of sitting on his knee during morning-tea time as he enjoyed a hard earned cup of Mama’s best brew and a warm scone with cream and jam.
From its inception in ancient China centuries ago, the ritual of steeping tea has not changed much:
Tea begins with the water —Fresh water provides a blank canvas for tea and replacing any water that has been sitting around is important as water is a sponge that absorbs flavors, even from the air around it.
All tea comes from the one plant, Camellia sinensis, the difference is in the processing. But the way we make tea should depend on the variety.
To prepare most varieties, the water will need to come to a rolling boil. However, if making a premium green tea or 100% white tea, you will want to remove your kettle just short of boiling, to avoid scalding the leaves. This rule is relevant whether you are brewing loose tea or teabags.
This may seem obvious but use premium tea such as the Tea4U range. If preparing full-leaf loose tea or herbs, use about one teaspoon per six-ounce cup, and place it in an infusing basket or teapot. If preparing with tea bags, you will need one tea bag per six ounces of water. One six-ounce cup is the size of a traditional tea cup, or about half the size of most mugs.
When the water has reached the desired temperature, pour over the tea, cover, and begin to time the steeping. The delicate leaves of 100% white and green teas will require only two to four minutes. Steep black tea for three to five minutes. More robust varieties such as oolong, rooibos and herbal teas will require more time; about five to seven minutes. Experiment to find your ideal time but take care — don’t steep for too long or you’ll find your tea has gone bitter. If you are after a stronger cup, the trick is more tea, not more steeping. My pet peeve is seeing too many people keeping their teabag in their travel mug for way too long and then them wondering why the tea had a bitter taste – brew, then get rid of the bag!
Uncover your teapot and remove the infuser or tea bags. Pour the hot tea into a cup and let it steam a few moments before taking the first sip. Sip by sip, enjoy the nuances, complexity and character of each flavor. You can save oolong leaves for multiple infusions.
We know life in today’s world will continue to be fast and frenzied, but we at Tea4usa hope that you will help to keep the practice of taking time for tea around for future generations. We all deserve to step back, steep some tea, and relax with family and friends to unwind. Keeping this art alive will help us all to slow down and enjoy this life, sip by sip, rather than gulp by gulp.
Memories are such an important part of a journey, let's keep making them together.
P.S. Mastering Iced Tea
Nearly anything you love hot can also be iced pretty easily. The principles are the same as above, with a couple of important twists:
1.Since half of the water in iced tea is just melted ice, using good water means using good ice. Try making ice cubes from the same water you would use to make the tea. The difference can be quite noticeable.
2. If you are making iced tea to drink right away, use twice as much tea as you would for brewing hot tea. That way, when you pour it over ice, the melting water brings it to the perfect strength.