More tea is consumed on Earth than with any other drink (except water), and this is particularly useful in times of doom scrolling and the endless hours indoors.
A cup of tea is much more than just water and leaves. This 5,000 year old ritual is calm and nurturing – for body and mind. It is also ideal for breaking up boredom.
Regardless of whether you prefer black, green, white, hot, cold, or strong, experts agree that these tea rules are of paramount importance:
- Always use filtered water, especially if you use a tap that is water funky or tastes hard.
- Store loose-leaf tea in an opaque container, away from sunlight, strong smells and moisture. (When stored this way, loose-leaf tea lasts about 2 years.)
- Never squeeze the tea bag together (this can lead to bitterness).
- Do not exceed. We have all the information you need to soak.
Stay with us to find out why this old drink is as popular as ever and, above all, how to brew the perfect cup.
Like all good things in life, there is one right way and one less right way. While most of us do it well by pouring boiling water over a tea bag and letting it sit until it is cool enough to take a sip, the tastiest cup of tea is made much more thoughtfully.
Hot Soak 1
- Use 1 teaspoon of loose leaf tea, herbs, or 1 tea bag per 6 ounces of water.
- Bring water to a boil – approximately 100 ° C (212 ° F).
- If you are brewing white, green, or oolong tea, heat water just before it boils – about 85 ° C (185 ° F).
- Add an infusion or teabag to your mug or teapot. If you're using a saucepan, swirl hot water in (this warms the saucepan) before the infuser goes in, pour out the water, and then slide your leaves in.
- Pour the hot water directly onto the leaves or the bag.
- Wait the appropriate time (guidelines below).
- Remove the pouch or infuser. Remember not to squeeze the bag!
Pro tip: Most teas can be soaked several times in one session, although the taste changes after each "wash" and generally becomes milder.
Cold, soaking tea is not only a refreshing way to cool off on a hot summer day, it also creates an aromatic, smooth tea that is sweeter, less astringent and less bitter. In addition, the caffeine content is lower.
With all these professionals, it is important that soaking in the cold is a much slower and gentler process. We speak much slower, up to 12 hours to gently elicit the aromas of the leaves.
Cold Soak 101
- Use 1 to 2 teaspoons of loose leaf tea or 1 tea bag per 8 ounces of water.
- Put tea and cold, filtered water in a glass jug and let it stand for 30 minutes at room temperature.
- Depending on the desired strength and type of tea, cover and cool for up to 12 hours
- White, green and herbal tea can brew for 6 to 8 hours; Black, red and oolong tea can brew for 8 to 12 hours.
- Thoroughly strain the loose leaf tea or remove the tea bag.
- Store cold brewed tea in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Pro tip: Store cold brewed tea in glass containers, as plastic can stain or cause odors.
Tea is not just about taste. It also has health benefits. Depending on what you're looking for, you may want to add one of these teas to your daily wellness routine.
Green and black tea are both antioxidant powerhouses. Use the cold brewing method for maximum antioxidant properties.
Stick to the four "true teas" for heart health. These teas are rich in flavonoids, which are believed to reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
If you need help to focus on something difficult, stick to black tea with the highest caffeine content of all tea (hi mental alertness) and also contain the star amino acid L-theanine, which has been shown to do so increases mental alertness, focus and energy.
There are also many sleep-promoting herbal teas such as chamomile and passion flower. In fact, we've written an entire article specifically about the best Sleepy Time teas!
But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Because you can make tea – also called herbal teas – from just about any plant, the list of potential health benefits could fill an encyclopedia.
Don't be afraid to experiment with different types of tea to calm and support your body.
Real teas all contain caffeine, but in different amounts. The general rule of thumb is: the darker the tea – also known as oxidized – the higher the caffeine content. So black tea has the most, followed by oolong, green and then white.
Another factor that influences the caffeine content is the size of the leaf. In short, leaves that are finely chopped give a higher concentration of caffeine. Tea bags generally have finer leaf sizes and are therefore considered to be higher in caffeine than loose tea.
The longer a tea soaks and the hotter the water from which it is made, the more caffeine is ultimately extracted.
Wait, but what are "real teas"?
Black, green, white and oolong are considered "real teas". They all come from the same source: the plant Camellia sinensis .
The type of tea depends on how the plant is processed – especially on how strongly the leaves are oxidized. Oxidation is a process of chemical reactions that emphasize the taste and tan the leaves.
Black tea is made, for example, from fully oxidized tea leaves, which is why it has a pronounced, deep taste. Other teas – like green, white or oolong – are semi-boxidated or not oxidized at all, which leads to milder flavors.
Within these four general types of tea there are dozens of more specific types, each with its own taste profile. For example, Ceylon is a black tea variety grown in Sri Lanka and Sencha is a green tea from Japan. For more information on teas, see our article on teas.
Technically, any tea that does not come from the Camellia sinensis plant is not tea at all. It is actually called "tisane" although most people refer to it as herbal teas.
These untrue teas are made from roots, plants, fruits, and flowers – you name it. The main difference is that herbal teas have to brew longer – 5 minutes or longer – to extract optimal flavors. They are also 100 percent caffeine free.
For example, if you rub ginger into a tea bag and pull it away. This is tea! (Find DIY tea recipes below.)
Sure, you can easily buy your favorite teas. But ever try to make your own?
Making your own herbal tea is easy. Popular varieties are turmeric, ginger, lavender and mint tea, but the possibilities are endless.
Try some of our favorite recipes:
Tiffany La Forge is a professional cook, recipe developer and food writer who runs the blog Parsnips and Pastries . Visit her on her blog or on Instagram .