Alice, from the Adventures in Wonderland books, famously asked “Would you like an adventure now, or shall we have our tea first?” For us here at teakruthi the answer is always tea first… but not just any cuppa tea, we need it absolutely perfect.
We promise to deliver you the freshest and most flavorful tea leaves Sri Lanka has to offer, but once its at your doorstep your cup is in your hands.
Use pure and aerated water in your teacup
A good cup of tea starts with water that is pure and thoroughly aerated. This helps ensure sufficient oxygen that helps carry the flavors throughout your pot. Hence the reason you hear tea gurus tell you not to re-boil a teakettle as it depletes oxygen after the first boiling.
The best is to fill your kettle with a tap that has been running cold for a few minutes – running water has a good supply of air and oxygen, and any bacterial impurities are killed-off during boiling. Should your tap water be hard (with iron or other chemical impurities) you should use bottled spring water as a substitute.
Tips on hot brewing your tea
Hot brewing is what’s commonly used for most teas. A frequent misnomer is to keep your teakettle constantly boiling and ready to top-off your cup when you need to re-steep. You shouldn’t do that. A constant boil depletes the air in water and without oxygen your tea tastes flat.
Strong and tangy Black teas are ideally steeped at just under 100 degrees centigrade, i.e. boiling temperature. That means as soon as your teakettle reaches a rolling boil, turn it off, let it settle a bit and pour it over your tealeaves. Black teas generally steep for about four to five minutes, but be sure to check on suggested steeping times as they may vary by blend.
Oolong, Green and White teas on the other hand are more delicate with less oxidization, and as such are to be steeped at about 80 degrees centigrade. If you don’t have a thermometer in your kettle, here’s an industry trick – after your water reaches a rolling boil let it cool for approximately two minutes. Hot water generally cools at about 10 degrees centigrade per minute.
Steeping times vary between Oolong, Green and White teas. Oolong and Green teas tend to steep quickly and would generally be done in about 3 minutes or even less based on your taste preferences. White teas that are milder tasting need to steep longer, usually for about 5 minutes or more. Remember to check suggested steeping times as they may vary by blend.
Making the perfect cup of Iced Tea
A favorite in the United States - Iced Tea - is a great way to combat the heat. There are a several techniques for making iced tea, including Cold Brewing overnight in the bridge. We however prefer using a Hot Brew variation that does a better job at unlocking the flavors out of the leaves.
Follow our tips on Hot Brewing but use twice as much tealeaves as you would normally, e.g. 4 grams or 2 teaspoons for every 8 oz serving. When you are done steeping, fill a pitcher or tall jar halfway with the hot tea and mix it with an equal amount of cold water and have it cool before putting it in the fridge - directly putting hot tea in a cold fridge makes it cloudy. Add sweetener as required and serve over ice for a refreshing drink.
A strong tea such as our Mythical Green, Rainforest Indulgence, Zen Mint or Lemon Kandy are best for making Iced Tea. This is because the flavors of cold beverages are dulled when served cold. Consider adding more tealeaves for an even stronger and flavorful Iced Tea.
Do not over-steep!
We don’t advise over-steeping your tea. Studies have shown that over-steeped tea could be healthier as it allows the leaves to release more antioxidants into the tea. It also releases more caffeine and makes the tea taste bitter and tart.
We at teakruthi are suckers for delicious tasting tea. If you are looking for a stronger cup, we suggest adding more tealeaves rather than over steeping.
Remember to have fun with it
At the end it all boils down – pun intended – to your personal preference and having fun with it. So be sure to experiment with your tea – mix-up the steeping time, water temperature, amount of tealeaves, and even steep it multiple times. Our teas can generally be steeped three or more times to bring out more subtle flavors and notes. Some even prefer the second or third steeping to the first.
We have a few favorites at teakruthi. Lasith likes his tea without milk but a touch of lemon or ginger. Dilan prefers it with a spoon of honey or jaggery. What’s your favorite tea condiment? Tell us in the comments below.