For a tea lover, the ritual of making tea can be such a calming, pleasurable part of the day! Whether you begin each morning with a revitalizing cup of green tea, keep an assortment of teabags in your desk at work for a soothing afternoon treat, or spend your last half-hour before bedtime curled up in your favorite chair while savoring some chamomile tea, you'll enjoy the emotional and physical benefits of this wonderfully healthful beverage.
Tea is made by adding freshly boiled or very hot water to loose tea or teabags, and steeping the infusion for the desired amount of time (usually just a few minutes).
While the amount of tea and steeping times are a matter of personal taste to the individual tea lover, each tea type has its unique suggested tea amounts, water temperatures, and brewing times.
Here are some guidelines to help you make the perfect cup of tea! You'll find some tempting additions below, as well, that may make your tea taste even better.
Remember, these suggested tea amounts, water temperatures, and steeping times are just guidelines for you to start with. For a lighter flavor, try the lower suggested amount of loose-leaf tea and brewing time. Or, if you're planning to add some extras, like lemon, honey, or mint, brew your tea just a bit longer.
Don't be afraid to experiment until you've made the perfect cup of tea for you! You may find that you prefer your tea to be stronger or weaker. You may love the amazing, complex flavor of your tea just as it is, or you may prefer your oolong tea with a dollop of honey or your green tea with a bit of milk or sugar.
The most important part of making tea is to make your pot, cup, or glass of tea so it tastes just right to you (and it doesn't matter what anyone else says about how tea 'should' and 'shouldn't' be brewed and served)!
Many tea drinkers add milk, sugar, honey, lemon, peppermint, or even whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon for a decadent topping to their tea! You can find a few more creative suggestions for tea additions here.
When you're using loose leaves for making tea (rather than a store-bought teabag), be sure to leave plenty of room for the water to flow around the tea, so you can enjoy the full flavor and strength of the tea.
If you're using a tea ball, make sure it is large enough to provide plenty of room for the loose tea to expand. You could also use a larger fine-mesh infuser or a disposable filter teabag to make your tea. Or, why not collect two or three pretty vintage or antique silver tea strainers? Then you can add your loose tea directly to your teapot, and, after the tea has steeped, pour it through the tea strainer into your cup, and the strainer will catch any loose tea.
To keep your loose-leaf tea fresh and flavorful, remember to store it in an airtight package or container in a dark, cool spot.
Herbal teas, which are also called 'herbal tisanes,' can be infusions or concoctions. To make an infusion, very hot water is added to loose tea or teabags, and the tea is then brewed for the desired amount of time (usually 5 to 10 or even up to 15 minutes for herbal teas). Be sure to cover your herbal tea while it steeps so you don't lose any of those beneficial elements. And why not wrap it in a pretty tea cozy, too, to keep your tea nice and hot?
A herbal concoction is usually preferred when the harder or tougher parts of the plant (such as bark, seeds, or roots) are used to make tea.
To make a concoction, combine the tea ingredients with cold, fresh water in a saucepan, bring the mixture to a boil, and then simmer over low heat for a period of time (half an hour or more, for example). Strain the mixture and enjoy the tea hot, warm, or cold! Ginger tea is a delicious herbal tisane that is made as a concoction.
As enjoyable as hot tea is, tea and herbal teas are also wonderful iced. To make iced tea, simply brew your tea at twice the usual strength, and pour immediately into a glass filled with ice cubes. Or, cool the hot tea and serve over ice later.
Keep reading here to learn more about making tea, including choosing the best water for your tea, some facts about organic teas, and more.
Tea is such a wonderful beverage - not only is tea chock-full of benefits for our physical and mental health and wellness, but it can be so very good for us emotionally and socially, too!
However you enjoy your tea - hot, iced, made with teabags or loose tea, with milk or without - your body, mind and spirit will thank you!
Please remember, as well, that not every tea or herbal tisane is the healthiest choice for each of us. Check with your naturopathic or homeopathic doctor, herbal practitioner, or other qualified healthcare provider about the best teas for you. And, you can read more about some potential side effects and risks associated with drinking tea here.