7 essential things that will literally improve your tea quality

Hey, guys! This time, I will talk about the quality of your tea preparation.  There are many things to discuss in relation to this theme, so I will try to be clear and specific to save your time! Let’s learn how to make a casual cup of tea something special.

High-quality tea

Make sure you are always using a good quality tea because from all these options these days it is not grown and prepared the same. An organic tea is a good option, but grown by biodynamic standards is the best what can be found at this moment. Also, you would want to look if it was bought and sold by Fairtrade standards. We can recommend you a brand which has all that is mentioned above and a wonderful taste, which you can find here!

elocaltea tea collection

H20

The main thing is that you will need is soft and clean water to improve the taste, smell and color of your tea. (1) There are some different ways to make water with the perfect properties, so I will describe two options here. First, you can use a reverse osmosis water filter which will clean and soften the water. It has a fine membrane which catches large minerals and other particles in the water. You can imagine these large water mineral particles as thieves, who will steal all the goodness from your tea by absorbing it. From three liters of water, you can make one liter of a pure product that is perfectly suitable for your ideal cup of tea. Only about 5-10 % of the small mineral particles will be left after filtering the water with a reverse osmosis filter. However, the filter system needs to be checked once every half year to maintain a good condition of the equipment. It’s not the best water to drink daily because of the lack of minerals, but it is perfect for a cup of tea. After the infusion of the herbs or tea leaves, the water becomes rich in properties once again.

The second way you can make soft water, without any filter, is by crystallizing the water at home without any modern equipment.  All you need is to freeze the water in a freezer until it becomes ice. Then, you need to leave it at room temperature to let it melt. All the unnecessary water particles will stay at the bottom of the container.

water purification elocaltea

 

The right H2O temperature

If you are serious about your tea, a second important thing you will want to know is the right brewing temperature. Below, you will find a table that will help you to choose the correct temperature for different types of tea. This table will even let you know how much caffeine you will consume per cup, according to the various plant species. If we are speaking about herbal tea, fresh or early picked leaves or rings need a lower temperature of 70 degrees, while older ones and special preparations ( fermented / matured ) require a higher temperature level, like 80 or even up to 90 degrees Celsius.

The temperatures and steeping times that you see in the chart above are our recommendations. You may find different variations of steeping times and temperatures based on the different recommendations of tea suppliers or researchers.

tea steeping temperatures for various tea

 

The material of your teapot

The right material of the teapot makes a difference in the tea quality. For example, iron or “Chinese Yixing ware” are excellent at retaining heat over long periods of time, while glass or porcelain are more likely to release that heat. Therefore, iron and similarly heavy materials are better for a type of tea that needs to be prepared at a high temperature, such as black tea or rooibos. A teapot made from metal will keep the water hot enough to extract the full flavors from the tea materials. However, green, white and herbal tea needs a vessel that will stay cooler, such as glass or porcelain.

the best pots to make your tea

 

Duration of the tea infusion

 Different kinds of tea need to stay in the water for different lengths of time. Researchers have found that the temperature and range of time that the tea leaves are steeped will affect their antioxidant properties, and this differs across the various types. Generally, delicate tea species such as green tea need to be brewed for a shorter time, while the benefits of black tea and the earthy, fermented Pu-erh tea increase from longer infusions, which can be 5 to 10 minutes. (3). Green and oolong tea tend to brew faster, in around 1 to 3 minutes (2), while herbal tea may need to steep for up to 6 minutes. Meanwhile, the best infusion time for loose mate leaves is up to 9 minutes. (4)

The infusion time and the form of the tea (loosely packed or bagged) have been shown to be essential determinants of the antioxidant activity and the polyphenol content of black tea infusions, in addition to the variety, growing environment and the manufacturing conditions. (3)

Considering the extraction dynamics of different tea forms, tea of a small particle size has usually been used in the manufacturing of bagged tea allowing for a faster extraction efficacy of the various tea constituents. Besides this, the teabag design is likely to influence the composition of the tea infusion. In this regard, over the past decades, tea bag manufacturers have made many changes in the shapes, sizes, and materials of the teabag itself to increase the extraction efficacy of the tea constituents. (3)

To conclude this part, let’s keep in mind that the duration of the tea infusion may vary along with the culture and personal preference.

duration of tea infusion

Storage of tea materials

The proper storage of tea is essential if you want to keep it fresh and maintain the same properties, as well as a pleasant smell, taste and quality. If it is not stored properly, even the best tea can change its structure, which can cause an outdated taste and even health problems.

Here are the main factors that cause the deterioration of tea:

1. humidity

2. temperature

3. light

4. oxygen

5. tea moisture content

6. odor pollution

7. microorganisms

The deterioration caused by microorganisms is also affected by the temperature, moisture and oxygen; while odor pollution is related to the storage environment. Therefore, the key to the storage of tea is the proper conditions in terms of the temperature, humidity, light and odor. If you can, use opaque packaging and make sure that it is food safe. It is important to use a proper container, which may be of non-reactive metals and opaque, colored glass bottles, purple clay pots, non-leaching plastics, glazed ceramic cartons or other organic materials. Wood packaging may be a workable option, but be aware that many wood containers have odors that can influence the tea’s taste. The bags that suppliers use to sell the tea can also vary widely with regard to the quality. For long-term storage, make sure your bags are multi-ply with an inner layer of foil or glassine (a substance similar to wax paper). This will help to avoid contamination from water, air or grease.

 

tea storage

Source: Tea Research Institute of the Sichuan Academy of Agricultural Sciences, China Testing Technology Research Institute


tea storage temperature

Source: Tea Research Institute of the Sichuan Academy of Agricultural Sciences, China Testing Technology Research Institute

Enjoy the moment

In this rushed and competitive world, we need to stop from time to time and think about the most important things. This moment can be your tea time! When you drink your tea, savor the smell of it and the warmth in your hands when you hold the cup. Leave it in your mouth for some time, and let flavors touch your tongue. Be in the moment. Let this small ritual make you happy.

tea moment 

See you later!

Dovainis from #elocaltea

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