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

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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

DIY Cold Steeping

There’s no better way to cool down during a heat wave than with a refreshing cup of iced tea! Follow this step-by-step guide to make a perfect pitcher of iced tea. Make life easy & prepare it the night before your next picnic, BBQ or beach trip.

FEATURED TEA: Tropical Ginger – A fruity caffeine free blend of Tangerine Ginger & Shanghai Sunset…a Green Teahouse favorite!

 

1) MEASURE 16 TBS TEA FOR EVERY 16 OZ OF WATER

2) ADD TEA TO PITCHER

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FILL PITCHER WITH COLD WATER & STORE IN FRIDGE FOR AT LEAST 4 HRS

We recommend using 1 TBS of tea for every 16 oz of water. So if your iced tea pitcher is a gallon, then you will use 8 tablespoons of tea.

LIKE YOUR TEA SWEET?

  1. Fill pitcher half-way with cold water.
  2. Dissolve desired amount of honey in 1 cup of hot water & add to pitcher.
  3. Then fill pitcher with more cold water until full.

If you prefer a stronger flavor, add an extra tablespoon of tea or refrigerate overnight!

 

 

Matcha Belgian Waffles

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Treat yourself to a satisfying breakfast that’s both delicious and healthy! MATCHA BELGIAN WAFFLES are low carb, gluten-free, high in protein, and rich in powerful antioxidants.

This simple recipe will become one of your favorites, not only because of its yummy flavor but for how great you’ll feel after eating it! Starting your day with a protein packed breakfast will:

  1.  Provide long-lasting energy
  2. Keep you fuller longer
  3. Curb mid-morning cravings
  4. Help build lean muscle
  5. Help maintain a healthy weight

If you’re new to the magic of MATCHA read all about its healthy powers from our friends at Bordeaux Nutrition: Matcha Making It’s Mark in 2016 

MATCHA BELGIAN WAFFLES

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBS Organic Matcha 
  • 4 TBS melted butter
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 TSP salt
  • 1/2 TSP baking soda

Directions:

  1. In a blender, mix eggs and melted butter until well combined.
  2. Add honey, salt & baking powder and blend for about 30 seconds.
  3. Gradually add coconut flour, and mix well until batter is smooth and lump-free.
  4. Let batter sit for at least 5 minutes until thickened.
  5. Cook in belgian waffle maker & enjoy!

*We recommend topping it with fresh fruit, shredded coconut, & a drizzle of nut butter!*

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4TH of July Tea Cocktail: Berry Bliss

IMG_3115July is a wonderful time of year! We get to enjoy gorgeous weather, the outdoors, berry picking, cookouts with family & friends, and of course The Fourth of July!

We have a delicious & hydrating tea cocktail recipe to help you celebrate called, BERRY BLISS! It’s a blend of two popular summer teas Blueberry Silver, & Strawberry Slim Pu-erh. Whether you’re having a BBQ or heading to the beach, this drink is easy & simple to make.

It offers a rich berry flavor, plus health benefits like: antioxidants, vitamins, boosting metabolism, & detoxifying the body!

Making this recipe is EASY! The first step can be done the night before…

BSN picnic

Step One:

  • In a gallon sized iced tea pitcher add 7 TSP of both Blueberry Silver & Strawberry Slim
  • Fill pitcher half-way with room temperature water
  • Dissolve 3/4 cup of honey in 1 cup of boiling water & add to pitcher
  • Fill rest of pitcher with room temperature water
  • Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or overnight)

~BERRY BLISS TEA COCKTAIL RECIPE~

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz. Berry Bliss Tea blend (see preparation above)
  • 2 oz. Vodka
  • Ice
  • Fresh lemon, mint or berries for garnish

Directions:

  1. Fill 16 oz glass with ice.
  2. Add vodka, followed by tea and stir well.
  3. Garnish with a lemon wedge, fresh mint or berries
  4. ENJOY & please drink responsibly

 

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!

* ENJOY FREE SHIPPING ON ORDERS $25 & OVER 7/1-7/4*

Loose Leaf vs. Tea Bags: A Steep Dilemma

Silver Needle

Featured: Organic Jasmine Silver Needle White Tea

There are two types of tea lovers in the world, those that use tea bags & those that use loose leaf. Yes, stocking up on boxes of tea at the supermarket is quick and convenient, but using loose-leaf tea is not only better for the environment…IT’S BETTER FOR YOU!

6 REASONS TO DRINK LOOSE-LEAF TEA:

  1. Hand-picked whole tea leaves offer optimal flavor & health benefits
  2. Premium teas are made by artisan tea makers with generations of cultivating experience
  3. Enjoy complex flavors like: jasmine, cardamom, peach blossom, or shredded coconut
  4. Tea leaves can be re-steeped…1 TSP can yield multiple cups of tea
  5. High quality tea releases flavor slowly so each cup is subtly different
  6. Allows us to be mindful of our environment & appreciate the beauty in premium tea

6 REASONS TO AVOID TEA BAGS:

  1. Tea bags are filled with machine picked tea, then mulched into a powder
  2. Bitter leaves & twigs get mixed in with the tea
  3. Mass produced in industrial plants that generate waste
  4. All the flavor is released in 1 steeping…1 CUP of TEA / 1 TEA BAG
  5. Most tea bags are not biodegradable & can be made with toxic plastics
  6. Flavors are simple & can include artificial ingredients/flavors

Those that are new to loose-leaf tea worry it’s expensive, complicated & confusing. However, it is actually very simple, cost effective & environmentally friendly.

All you need is…

LOOSE LEAF TEA + STRAINER + HOT WATER = PERFECT CUP of TEA

what you need

Still confused about how to brew your tea? FOLLOW OUR EASY STEEPING GUIDE!

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VISIT US IN-STORE OR ONLINE TO SHOP STRAINERS & LOOSE-LEAF TEA

http://www.thegreenteahouse.com/default.asp