Brew 101

Tea 

First of all, if you haven’t had tea brewed from true loose-leaf tea leaves, then you need to pause for a moment and re-evaluate your life choices. I’ll wait.
Ready? 
Growing up, my mother was a big iced tea drinker, and I always found it bitter. My mom’s a big fan of Lipton, she even uses the *shudder* Lipton instant iced tea powder (sorry mom, you know how I feel about this). So it wasn’t until I was in college that I started buying different types of bagged tea. With a healthy amount of honey, or sugar, and lemon it was soothing and delicious. (Or so my poor, undeveloped taste buds thought). 
My life changed during a trip to Vancouver where I shopped at my first loose-leaf tea shop. One deep whiff from the Cream Royal black tea container and I was hooked. 
This tea didn’t need sugar, or honey, or lemon. It was perfect.
Since then, I’ve written off the pre-packaged, pre-bagged crap they sell in the drink isle of the grocery store, because the real deal is so much better. And here’s why:
  • Health: When you buy premium loose-leaf teas from a reputable vendor, you know what it is you’re brewing in your hot water. 
  • Flavor: The best loose leaf teas are flavored with actual ingredients. i.e. the walnut green tea that I drink is green tea with pieces of walnut in it. The walnuts give it walnut flavor. It seems so simple, right? But with cheaper pre-bagged “big name” teas use fake flavoring. Why would you even?
  • Ritual: I’ve found that over the years, even beginning the ritual of tea brewing is soothing. Measuring the tea, boiling the water, and letting it steep while I prepare to settle down is such a nice habit. 
  • Tradition: the history of true tea is so much more fun than throwing in some cheap bag of dust in your water and letting it get cold and soggy. Plus, there’s an elevated experience that happens when you serve at true cuppa to friends in a nice teapot. 
So now that you’re (hopefully) hooked on the idea of loose-leaf tea, the next step is to transition to it! And it doesn’t have to be intimidating. Tea shop owners and loose-leaf vendors are always passionate individuals who have a desire to get everyone hooked on loose-leaf teas, so you never have to feel shy about asking questions. But in the rare case that you’re at all introverted like myself, here’s the basic how-to:
It is important that you brew the tea properly, because otherwise you won’t be enjoying the full experience of flavor and health benefits. Always feel free to contact me with questions or recommendations!

White tea leaves

How to Properly Brew Tea:

  1. Bring filtered or drinking water to recommended boiling point.
  2. Measure loose leaf tea into brewing bag. 1 tsp of tea per 8 oz water.
  3. Place bag into the water and brew for the recommended brewing time.
Recommended Brewing Times and Water Temperature:
  • Black, Herbal, Oolong, Rooibos 3-6 minutes at 212*
  • Green 3-5 minutes at 160-185*
  • White 7-10 minutes at 185*
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5 thoughts on “Brew 101

  1. I get mine at HyVee in the organic section near the teas and coffee filters. You can also order them online. Amazon has some decently priced varieties, including silk pouches if you want something a little more upscale – I've had great success with these, but this is an ENORMOUS amount – maybe you can find them locally: http://goo.gl/JGc0BR

    Good luck!

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