So you buy a sack of loose leaf tea and some paper tea filters and headed home with a vision of serving yourself a wonderful, tasty cup of heavenly perfection anytime your heart desires. You get home, open the sack of tea, look at the package of filters, and wonder "But what do I do with it?" Loose leaf tea can be intimidating, but I am here to tell you that it doesn't need to feel that way! There are a few basic guidelines that you'll need to know, and I'll have you brewing tea that rivals the Queen's daily cup.
Different Temps for Different Teas
The first thing you should know is what kind of tea you're about to brew because some leaves are a little more delicate than others, and your water temperature can help bring out the best in your brew.
It should go without saying, but water quality matters immensely. If you aren't using good, clean water, then your tea is going to taste bad. Unfiltered spring water is best, as the natural minerals in spring water help bring out the flavor of the tea, but if filtered water is all you have, then that works fine. Stay away from chlorinated tap water (yuk).
The general rule of thumb for brewing temperature and time is as follows:
Black tea 208-212ºF (100ºC) 4-5 minutes
Oolong tea 175-185ºF (80-85ºC) 3-4 minutes
Green tea 165-175ºF (75-80ºC) 2-3 minutes
White tea 150-155ºF (65-70ºC) 2-3 minutes
Herbal/Rooibos tea 208-212ºF (100ºC) 8-10 minutes
Now stay with me and don't hop on Amazon to order a thermometer just yet. There's a trick to know when your water is in the general range, and you aren't going to ruin your tea if your temperature isn't exact. For black, herbal, and rooibos teas, once your water reaches a rolling boil, it's ready to pour over your tea bag. For your oolong and green teas, once those tiny bubbles form on the bottom of the water kettle and start rising to the top, you're ready to pour. And for your delicate white tea, once those tiny bubble form, just before they start quickly rising to the top, you're good to go.
Now that we've covered time and temp, let's put the whole thing into action.
Brewing the Perfect Cup:
Scoop 1 rounded teaspoon of loose tea for every 8 ozs of water
If you want a stronger brew, add more tea leaves. Do NOT increase brewing time or you'll end up with bitter tea. This is a common misconception.
Place tea in your tea ball, paper tea bag, or reusable tea bag, and make sure the top is either tied up or above the top of the mug so your loose tea doesn't escape into the cup
Heat water in a pot or tea kettle to the desired temp (see notes above)
Pour water over the tea bag and let steep for the appropriate amount of time
Remove tea bag and set aside (I don't recommend squeezing as it can bring out bitter tannins)
Stir in your favorite sweetener
**IMPORTANT STEP FOR HEMP TEAS** Mix in a tablespoon or two of your favorite creamer
Understanding Cannabinoids in Hemp Tea
One thing that's important to understand about the cannabinoids found in hemp is that they are lipophilic, which means that they love fat. They must have a fat to bind to in order for them to become bioavailable to us. At Morningside Roots, we handpick teas that already contain some sort of binding agent, but it is very important to add a creamer of some sort to gain the maximum amount of benefit from your full spectrum hemp tea. My personal favorite is half-and-half, but if you don't get along with dairy, coconut creamer is a good alternative.
What Are You Waiting For??
Brewing tea can feel like a daunting task, but once you get the basics down, it's almost impossible to mess it up. Now you're ready to get out there and start brewing! As always, please feel free to email us if you need help.
-Katy C (Morningside Roots' tea guru)