Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.
Today: Avoid over-steeped, bitter tea for good. Here's how to brew the perfect cup, whether green, black, or herbal is your tea of choice (or your cup of tea, if you will).
All of Edith Bourgault of Art et Manufacture's pieces are handmade in white porcelain and then detailed with cobalt blue designs. We planted our herbs in her flower pots, bake in her pie plates, and now, we want to drink tea from her delicate, gorgeous tea cups and saucers she created exclusively for our Shop.
Thing is, her cups deserve only the best-brewed tea. Bitterness just doesn't fit into this scenario. Leaving leaves of black or green tea steeping and steeping isn't going to get you the cup you want—there's more of a science to it. The interaction between oxygen, water, and tea leaves isn't unlike the way ingredients in a cake come together like an edible science project. So if you spend a few minutes perfecting the procedure, tea time can be a relaxing part of your day.
First, choose the right teapot:
Picking the perfect pot matters. Different materials can influence the taste and affect heat retention, and you may not realize it, but some can even over-steep your tea. Each material has different pros and cons:
Pick the right tea:
Use high-quality tea bags or make your own. For 1 cup of tea, use a heaping teaspoon of loose-leaf tea. Some teapots come with built-in strainers, but you could also use tea bags to contain the leaves. Be sure to store tea in an airtight container at room temperature. If the tea aisle at your grocery store overwhelms you, uses these tasting notes as a guide:
Prepare the water:
Consider two things when readying your water for tea: quality and temperature.
Steep your tea:
Once you've picked your teapot, prepared your tea leaves, and boiled the water, the only thing left to do is brew your tea. Place the tea leaves in the teapot and pour in the hot water. You'll need to steep the leaves for a different amount of time, depending on your choice of leaves. For every 1 teaspoon of leaves, brew as follows:
When brewing mixed loose-leaf teas (for example, jasmine with green), be sure to use the shortest steeping time from each set of instructions. And never reboil the water, as it will reduce oxygen and affect the flavor of the tea. It might be best to brew a new pot of tea instead.
Take the leaves out of the water, pour your tea into your cups, and enjoy. Sweets are a good idea, too (Edith's saucers double as dessert plates).
Photos by Mark Weinberg