Brewing tea is probably one of the things tea lovers enjoy doing in the morning. Most tea lovers do not like somebody else brewing their tea simply because they are afraid the other person may mess it up. I know, in as much as it sounds unreal, some people do not have the necessary skills to properly steep tea. If you are one of these people, do not worry. Here we will take you through 5 common mistakes made when brewing tea. On top of that, we will guide you on how to avoid them so that you can brew the perfect cup of tea.
1. Using Tap Water
If you walk into ten households, it is highly likely that you will find that in at least six of the ten, people are using tap water to brew tea. What I am trying to say is that brewing tea using tap water is the most common mistake concerning steeping. In as much as steeping tea using tap water is possible when brewing African or Indian teas, not all leaves can handle it. Let me explain why.
First and foremost, you need to understand the different types of water. There are two main types of water, and they are hard water and soft water. Hard Water contains minerals, while soft water contains little or no minerals at all. In this case, water from taps is hard water, and therefore, it contains minerals. When steeping your tea, minerals interfere with the taste, and consequently, you yield terrible results.
In other cases, tap water may contain chemicals. These chemicals come from the substances that you use when treating your water. Just like the minerals, chemicals in tap water also hurt the taste of tea. Let us not forget the fact that tap water has to run through pipes. Passing from one part of the tube to other until it gets to your cup means certain additives have dissolved or come into contact with the water. This also affects the tea you brew.
How to Avoid:
Try as much as possible to use soft water. Unlike tap water, soft water does not contain minerals. When you make tea using soft water, the resultant tea will be bland. The reason is that it, no enhancing of taste has taken place as there are no minerals.
2. Under or Over Steeping
Brewing your perfect cup of tea is all about balance. One of the most important things you need to balance when brewing your tea is how much time you use when steeping the tea. Overstepping is when you brew your tea for too long. Never over-brew your tea as the results you will get will be disastrous. For instance, you should only brew black tea for five minutes. When brewing Japanese teas like Sencha, the perfect brewing time is one minute. A couple of seconds are allowed just for the second infusion to take place. Also, do not brew your tea for fewer minutes than what is required. That is what we call under steeping.
How to Avoid:
Try as much as possible go through various articles and literature that talk about brewing times for teas. Doing so will give an insight into the world of beverages, open up your mind to new things and most importantly help you avoid over brewing and under steeping your tea. As you do this multiple times, brewing your perfect cup of tea will be a walk in the park.
3. Improper Addition of Tea Leaves
Tea leaves are an essential ingredient when brewing your tea. Many people may make brewing tea sound like a simple process that involves adding tea leaves to hot water, but I am afraid that is not the case. Specific rules need to be followed when adding tea leaves. One of them is adding the right amount of tea leaves. So many people always end up adding either too little tea leaves or too much.
When adding tea leaves, you need to know that teas differ in so many ways, including size and weight. Some tea leaves are bigger and heavier than the others. That is why one teaspoon of tea leaves may not be enough when brewing certain teas but maybe enough when brewing others.
How to Avoid:
How to avoid improperly adding the wrong amount of tea leaves is quite simple. Make sure you take note of the tea leaves you are using first. Are the leaves broken and small or unbroken and large? If they are bigger and unbroken always consider using a slightly higher amount as compared to when using small and broken tea leaves.
4. Using Low Quality Tea
When brewing tea, you should always put into account that not all leaves are the same. Yes, they all come from the same plant, but the different processing each of them go through brings all the difference. In essence, each of them carries a distinct and unique taste and characteristic.
Brewing tea is an art, go for the best equipment or in this case, the best ingredients. If you are using low quality or old tea leaves, you will get a cup of tea that tastes terrible. It does not matter how good your brewing process was.
How to Avoid:
Go for the best/high quality tea leaves. Doings will help you get the best results ever. Ensure that you do not use tea leaves that have stayed in your storage for too long. Try as much as possible to use new leaves every day. Furthermore, ensure that you keep the bags and tins you store your tea leaves in are correctly sealed. Keep the bags and tins away from direct sunlight, humidity, heat or light.
5. Wrong Temperature
Using the wrong temperature is also a common problem when brewing tea. People usually do not know the right temperatures to steep various types of tea, and this messes them up completely. Mostly, they tend to either use water that is either too hot or too cold, depending on the tea.
How to Avoid:
Make sure you know the type of tea leaves you are using as this plays a vital role in determining the right temperatures to use. When brewing black teas, for instance, you need boiling water so that the flavours can come out beautifully. Green teas, on the other hand, require relatively low temperatures of about 160 degrees and below.
One of the key things when trying to make the perfect cup of tea is knowing your tea leaves. When you know about the tea leaves you are using, things like brewing at the right temperature become simple. Use the right amount of tea leaves and avoid using low quality and old tea leaves. Let us not forget that you should always try as much as possible to avoid using tap water as it interferes with the taste of your tea.
Related Article: How to Brew Large Amounts of Tea