This Fine Tea Preparation Guide is intended to be an instruction for brewing high-end tea leaves to their full potential. Beginners can follow it step by step, while more experienced drinkers can treat it as a series of tips.
Tea brewing principles
Making tea should not be difficult. There are however some basic rules that will significantly improve your tea experience, if you follow them. This is especially true for the kind of gourmet specialty tea you will find on this site.
The better quality tea leaves you have, the more they will profit from your attention to how you brew them. There is nothing wrong with the “lazy method” of infusing the leaves at once in a big teapot. This method is easy and is good at equalizing the weaknesses of average quality leaves. On the other hand, it will not make the strengths of premium teas stand out to their fullest.
Premium tea leaves satisfy a series of quality criteria, which make them stand out from more ordinary products. This kind of tea is best enjoyed slowly, one short steep at a time. One portion can last up to 10 steeps, or more. Sometimes called “Gongfu Style”, this tea brewing method allows for all the different tastes, aromas and sensations, to be perfectly appreciated. It is also a more peaceful and harmonious experience.
By practicing this more refined tea tasting, you put yourself in the steps of a long tradition rooted in China’s literati culture, as well as in its more popular Daoist and Buddhist customs
Tea brewing vessels
To be able to prepare tea according to our Fine Tea Preparation Guide, you need three pieces of teaware: A tea brewing vessel (gaiwan or teapot), a faircup, and a teacup. For all three, we suggest sizes and shapes that are not too big, and that are comfortable to handle.
Tea brewing step by step
- Relax and take your time. Making tea in itself is a calming activity. The more relaxed you are, the better it will taste.
- Prepare the right amount of tea leaves for one session (around 3 grams for green and yellow tea; 5 grams for red tea; 5-7 grams for dark tea).
- Boil your water, then let it rest until it is quiet again. Let it rest a little longer for green and yellow tea.
- Warm your teaware by quickly rinsing it with the boiled water.
- Put your tea leaves in your brewing vessel and make them “open up” by pouring boiled water on them and immediately throwing that water away. At that stage, you should take a chance to smell your leaves, as they will be very fragrant.
- Infuse your tea leaves for about five seconds, then pour the brew into your faircup, or directly into your teacup: Your first cup is ready!
- Adapt the infusion time for the following cups, according to your preferences. Pay attention to the slight variations of taste with each infusion.
- When you pour water into your brewing vessel, try as much as possible not to stir the tea leaves. Gently let the water slide in from the borders.
- Enjoy your tea, one cup at a time …
Making tea is not a science. We hope our Fine Tea Preparation Guide was useful and would love to hear from your own experiences.
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