Teamaking 101

How to Make the Perfect Cup of Tea

If you were to look, you’d find legends for nearly every variety of tea throughout the east. It’s been steamed and ground into powder, plucked and pan-fried, oxidized and aged deep inside caves. It was a beverage suitable for rulers and only after trade boomed did it start to spread far and wide until we come to where we are today.

Despite this vast history, tea is a relatively new fad this side of the world, and very few people know much about it. Studies are being done to show all the health benefits of green tea, pu-erh, and the like, but these are tidbits of knowledge that have many cultures smiling our way and saying, “we tried to tell you.”

There has been a small setback with this trend and that is, people want tea. You might be thinking, well that’s a good thing, isn’t it? I’d have to agree to an extent, but because the industry focuses so much on the benefits and so little on everything else, what can be an indulgent, potentially life-changing daily ritual, has many people pinching their noses and throwing it back like medicine.

Every type of tea has unique characteristics and qualities. The leaves can be picky, and to get it right there’s a bit of know-how that goes into it. I’m going to cover a few tricks to help make sure you can enjoy a near perfect pot of your favorite tea.

Green and White Tea

Specially selected early in the morning fresh white tea leaves spread curing in bamboo basket tray after harvest.Chinese silver needle white tea of premium quality. Tea orchard in the background.

Green tea tends to be the most notorious for being bad, bitter tea and that’s usually because it can be the most finicky when it comes to brewing it. Green tea can be popularly categorized in two. On the one hand, we have Chinese green tea which is harvested, pan-fried and quickly dried to prevent oxidation. Then, there’s Japanese green tea which is harvested, steamed and quickly dried. Chinese green teas are often a bit sweeter and more fragrant while Japanese green teas tend to be a deeper green color and have a grassy taste.

One of my favorite green teas is our Snow Jasmine. It’s a sweet green tea that’s very fragrant and easy to brew. But the Starfruit green is one of our most popular summer drinks. We blend some tropical fruit in with a delicate Chinese green tea. It makes a refreshing and tantalizing cup.

To make the best cup of green tea, you want to make sure to use hot water that’s at most 170. A good way to tell this without a thermometer is to keep an eye on the bubbles forming at the bottom of the pot. If they’re small and a few are starting to zig-zag to the surface, that’s perfect.

You also want to keep an eye on the time it steeps for. Green tea is great for many infusions, but you only want to steep it for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

White tea, on the other hand, is primarily a Chinese tea. It tends to be sweeter and much more delicate than green tea. That’s because white tea is made from the soft, new buds of the Camellia Sinensis plant – the tea plant. It’s quickly pan fried to prevent oxidation and then dried. Because the leaves are so young it tends to be delicate and boiled water will scorch the dried leaves. For this reason, like green tea, you want to use water at about 170. Unlike green teas, many white teas won’t get overly bitter if left to steep for long periods of time.

One of our most popular white teas is our Pink Cherry Cider. We blend our silver needle with a collection of fruits to make a pot that’s subtly sweet all on its own.

Oolong Tea

oolong green tea in olive bowl

Oolong tea tends to be the most complex flavor wise. It’s designed for multiple infusions, and for having a gradually maturing flavor as the infusions progress, and the leaves fully open. You can use fully-boiled water with this tea and steep it for about three minutes every time. Some have a tendency to get bitter, so keep an eye on it.

My favorite Oolong is our Buddha’s Favor, also known as Ti Kuan Yin. If you want to know the legend behind it, click the link here. But, by far the crowd favorite had been our Blackberry Oolong. We mix premium rolled oolong leaves with dried blackberries, elderberries and more to make a deep red elixir. It’s sweet and tangy and fantastic iced.

Black Tea

Good-Tea_Li-Zhi-Hong-Cha_56B9096_b-800x800

Black teas are typically very strong and dark teas. The leaves have been fully oxidized after harvesting which gives the leaves their dark color and flavor. You can use boiled water but only steep it for two minutes. Some black teas can get very bitter if over infused. Our Keemun is a traditional Chinese black tea. If you want to learn more about it, you can read a little here. It’s a robust black tea with some nutty, chocolate notes and pairs wonderfully with warm milk and honey.

Pu-erh

Black pu-erh tea

Pu-erh tea is one I consider to be right up there with herbal teas in terms of how easy it is to brew, especially if you like your tea as strong as I do. This is a fermented tea that actually came about by happy accident.

You can use fully-boiled water. Pu-erh is a dark tea without much of the bitterness and astringency of a black tea. Some can get bitter if left in the water too long, but I find a good quality of pu-erh will often get deeper and darker the longer it steeps. If you want more infusions out of it (and this tea can go for a long time,) then steep it for about four minutes before removing the leaves.

I prefer classic pu-erh blocks myself. I can’t resist the deep woodsy notes and the full mouth flavor. Our Strawberry Slim comes in at a close second. The strawberries give you a slash of summer flavor that’s mellowed out by the lingering effect of pu-erh tea.

Herbal Tea

Cup of herbal tea

Most people think boiled water when it comes to Herbal teas, but did you know some are prone to burning the same way a white tea would? When you have an herbal tea with lots of flowers it’s best to use under boiled water like with white or green tea. The good thing is, it’s difficult to make a bad cup of herbal tea. The longer you let it sit, the stronger the flavor.

A few more tricks for the road

One of the biggest downsides to tea bags and tea balls if the lack of room the leaves have to move around. Tea likes to breathe and it likes movement. You’ll get the best flavor by steeping your tea in a pot where it can move, and to stir the leaves around while it’s steeping.

For Iced tea, the trick is to make a tea concentrate first. You add a heaping tablespoon of leaves to the pot and steep it in about half the amount of water you normally would use before pouring it over a cup full of it. That way, when the ice melts, it’ll dilute the concentrate and give you a fully flavorful cup of refreshing iced tea.

If you have any questions about tea leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer! We sell our teas online too, just click this link here to visit our website and check it out.

~Tea Barista

Food, Tea, Tea Recipes, Teamaking 101

Creme Earl Grey Princess Brownies

Tea isn’t just for drinking. Of course there’s nothing like a freshly brewed cup of loose-leaf tea, but you can also use your leaves to add a boost of flavor & health benefits to a variety of foods. Below we have a delicious brownie recipe using Creme Earl Grey Princess. It’s an organic Sri Lankan Black Tea blended with bergamot oil, French vanilla & cornflower.

Creme Earl Grey Princess: Organic Sri Lankan Black Tea blended with bergamot oil & French vanilla
Creme Earl Grey Princess Latte: Organic Sri Lankan Black Tea blended with bergamot oil, cornflower & French vanilla

Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 3.18.09 PM

What You Need:

  • Creme Earl Grey Princess Loose Leaf Tea
  • Your favorite brownie recipe or mix (that uses butter or margarine)
  • White chocolate chips (optional)
  1. Melt butter or margarine that is called for in your brownie recipe.
  2. For each 1/2 cup of melted butter or margarine, mix 2-3 TBSP of Creme Earl Grey tea.
  3. Cover the mixture & let the tea steep in the butter at room temperature for at least 2 hours (the longer the stronger the flavor!)
  4. After tea has steeped, strain the tea from the butter & use it for the brownies!
  5. Add white chocolate chips for an enriched creamy flavor.

*This technique can be used in any recipe that calls for butter or margarine. It yields a much stronger flavor in comparison to adding crushed tea leaves or brewed tea to the batter.

Shop in stores & online for 40% OFF Creme Earl Grey (while supplies last)

http://www.thegreenteahouse.com/Creme-Earl-Grey-Princess-p/tb07.htm

Health, Recipes, Tea, Teamaking 101

DIY Matcha Latte

Organic Matcha Latte

Matcha tea is as tasty as it is healthy! It contains more antioxidants than any other green tea. It has numerous health benefits as well. It boosts your immune system, detoxifies the body, helps prevent cancer, boosts energy levels, aids in weight loss, lowers cholesterol & blood sugar, and contains anti-aging properties. It has a rich creamy finish (without milk) and it is a great healthy addition to smoothies, baked goods, & even cooking!

DID YOU KNOW?  The health benefits of matcha tea exceed those of green tea because when you drink matcha you ingest the whole leaf.

MATCHA LATTE RECIPE:

1.) Bring 16 oz of water to 170 degrees F, just below boiling point
2.) Mix one full matcha spoon (1/3 tsp.) of matcha tea with 4 oz of 170F water
3.) Stir together well
4.) Add 2 oz of Half & Half (or your choice of milk/substitute) to the 4 oz of matcha tea
5.) Pour combined tea and Half & Half into blender
6.) Whip for approximately 20 seconds
7.) Add the matcha & milk mixture to the remaining 10 oz of hot water
8.) Sweeten your latte to taste

~SIP, RELAX & ENJOY~

Click the link below to purchase our premium matcha teas, & matcha accessories!

http://www.thegreenteahouse.com/SearchResults.asp?Search=matcha&Submit=

Matcha Green Tea Powder

Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 1.12.13 PM

Teamaking 101

5 Easy Ways to Get the Best Cup of Green Tea

Green Tea has become a highly popular beverage over the past years. Whether hot or iced, flavored or basic, full leaf or ground, Green Tea is widely recognized for it’s light, grassy taste and widely recognized health value. However, Green Tea is a very delicate leaf and requires some care when steeping to avoid an astringent or bitter taste after steeping.

photo 3-8

Here are five ways to get the very best cup of Green Tea: Continue reading “5 Easy Ways to Get the Best Cup of Green Tea”

Summertime Teas, Teamaking 101

Twenty Teas to Try Iced

Although we are just on the beginning fringes of the warmer months (hooray!), iced tea is becoming a very popular choice. One question asked a lot is…”Well what tea tastes good iced?” Quite honestly, any tea tastes great iced. However, there do seem to be some popular and, maybe a little unique, flavors of iced tea possibilities…

Here are just a few as chosen by our team members and customers (through online and in-store reviews): Continue reading “Twenty Teas to Try Iced”