Brewing the Perfect Pot

There are many thoughts and methods for brewing tea, loose leaf teas particularly. Personally I prefer less harshly brewed teas. While some think this would bring about bland, flavorless tea I find that it actually allows for many of the subtle less obvious characteristics to shine through. Here are some tips on brewing some specific teas "my way."

Darjeeling First Flush Black Tea

Prepare water to under a boil, 195°, keeping in mind that boiling is 212°.

Use a level teaspoon of tea leaves for each 8 ounces of water.

Pour prepared water on top of tealeaves and brew for 3 minutes.

Golden Monkey Organic Black Tea

Follow the same suggestions as above adding 1 minute to the brewing time.

Kukicha Green Tea

Prepare water to well under a boil, 170° tops!

Use one level to scant teaspoon of tea leaves for each 8 ounces of water.

Pour prepared water on top of the tealeaves and brew for no more than 3 minutes, preferably 2 minutes.

It is important when preparing a tea of this nature to use the purest water possible eliminating foreign tastes reveals the bright, happy character of this delicious Japanese green tea.

Golden Dragon Aged Oolong Tea

Most that have had the opportunity to experience this special tea are quite fond of it, sometimes to the point of addicted. Don't be put off by the many stems and twigs; something we have been schooled as undesirable in premium teas, this one is definitely the exception to that rule. These stems and twigs add to the incredible taste characteristics of this extraordinary tea. High in antibacterial properties and naturally low in caffeine this uniquely aged oolong resembles the taste of golden raisins.

Prepare water to under a boil, about 190°.

Place one heaping teaspoon of tea leaves for each 8 ounce of water, loose in a pot.

Pour prepared water over top of the tealeaves, swirling water once or twice in the pot then pouring off. Do not swirl water longer than 20 seconds.

This extra step is called "washing" the leaves and is a common practice in Asian cultures when preparing oolong teas. The thought is that washing preps the leaves for the first brewing. Another interesting fact to note is that an oolong's first infusion, in Asian cultures, is not considered to be the best. Rather the second and sometimes third infusions have the most character and reveal the leaf's true nature.

Again pour prepared water over top of the tealeaves this time allowing the infusion to last 3 - 4 minutes, I prefer 3.

Continue steeping the tea in this manner until the water runs clear or you no longer get your desired results.

Remember that tea, the way you drink and prepare it is a personal choice. Listed are some of my favorites and preferred brewing methods. Begin to explore what best suits your tastes. Try brewing teas at various times of day and I bet you'll find that what you like in the morning differs from your afternoon preferences. If you have brewed a tea and don't care for it the first time, don't give up! Try different brewing times, water temperatures and change the time of day you consume it. Those simple alterations may leave you pleasantly surprised.

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Beth Johnston, a tea importer and noted tea expert, publishes an informative monthly newsletter on tea, tea history, health and lifestyle enhancements. To learn more about the world of tea, join her free newsletter at http://www.TeasEtc.com/Newsletter.asp or visit http://www.TeasEtc.com.

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