A great cup of tea is 99.something or other % water. So its obvious that the quality of your water will determine how good your tea is. We hope to post shortly about dealing with different quality water and how to achieve the best infusion from each. On this page i will be outlining some basic brewing rules and we will be looking primarily at how to deal with the .something percent – which is the tea.
See the page on tea types to understand more about what tea is and isn’t.
Basics of Tea Brewing
1. Water – Quality of the water will be a large determiner of the end cup. To be dealt with in subsequent posts
2. Tea – the type of the tea, quality, leaf size, dosage and varietals
3. Temperature – Heat is a catalyst and will accelerate extraction of the components in the tea, relative to their solubilty. The presence/lack thereof will also effect your taste perception
4. Time – Relative to Heat. Given enough time, you will extract more components. The lower the heat, the slower the process of extraction, given enough time all extractable components will come out.
Although there are a number of tables laid out, as the one that i will present later. I find that approaching tea in a systematic fashion allows me to determine the best extraction for that tea. i use the guides as well as the basic principles to give me a clearer direction, however often a specific tea will defy the rule and you can miss the boat all together by not exploring it yourself.
Step 1 – choose which variables you wish to explore, and what will be constants. the fewer variables at play, the greater your ability to make sound judgement.
i like to set the tea, water, dosage, temperature as constants, and then explore the time of extraction as the sole variable.
for e.g.trial tea -sencha, Japanese green tea. Dosage 1gm/100ml.Temperature 80c. all treated as constants. infusions at 30 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 2 minutes 3 seconds etc.
cup the infusions. note the flavour characteristics of each of the infusions and repeat the process changing one of the other constants such as heat. (eg, heat at 70c, with the same time increments). Soon you will be able to build a direction of how the tea best performs and you will greatly enrich your tea experience.