Some of us may have had this experience — with the same tea leaves, the same tea sets and the same water, the tea we make at home does not taste as good as those prepared by the host at tea shops. Today, we will take a look at some small details that affect the taste of tea.
Warming Up the Tea Pot and Cups
When the room temperature is low, the temperature of the teapot/cups are also low, which will affect the water temperature of the tea. When the water temperature is not high enough, naturally the taste of tea would not have the desired taste.
On the one hand, warming up teapot with hot water cleans and removes any unexpected smells; on the other, it reduces the effect of the tea utensils’ temperature on tea. A hot teapot and tea cups can help hot water to stimulate the tea aroma.
Handling Tea Leaves
Tea leaves are delicate and it is good to avoid adding moisture and any additional odors. But our hands sweat easily and touch a lot of things every day; it is inevitable for our hands to carry microorganisms or bacteria. With the hands grabbing the tea leaves, not only the subtle fragrance of tea leaves can be affected, but also it may speed up the deterioration of the tea leaves. So, when making tea, it is better to use proper tools such as a “tea scoop” rather than directly touching the tea leaves with our hands.
Different tea has different properties, and each type of tea requires a suitable water temperature. Some people simply pour hot boiled water into the teapot and directly over the tea leaves regardless of the tea type. But not all teas are suitable for brewing with boiled water. For some tea, such as white tea (“Silver Needle” in particular), if the water temperature is too high it will result in a bitter taste and the delicate fresh taste will be lost. So, water temperature can be critical here.
The Way of Infusion
The way of water infusion into the teapot is also a factor, since that affects the temperature and therefore the taste of tea. Generally speaking, if you care more for the fragrance of tea, water should be poured quickly, letting the tea leaves fully rubbed with water; if you desire the tea to be soft and dense, let the water flow steady by pouring it slowly into the teapot.
If the tea is steeped in the pot for too long, the taste of tea becomes bitter. Also, the tea polyphenol and aromatic substances in the tea will oxidate, the color and aroma will become dull, and the multiple “layers” of the tea taste will be missed. To avoid this, you can use a serving cup (tea pitcher) for regulating the strength of tea by not “over-soaking” the tea leaves.
The way of making tea may sound tricky for beginner tea lovers; but the fun of making and drinking tea will grow for certain with continued practice. Enjoy!
［原创］Edited translation by zenteaone.org from posting of The Five Petals Tea Hut.