I have drank hundreds if not thousands of cups of tea at this stage on my quest for the perfect cup of Health tea.
I have tried every which way from teabags and infusers to teapots, plungers and even just straight into a cup with no strainer (I do not recommend this one).
The road to the perfect cup of tea is paved with many variables, a lot of which are based in science.
Disclaimer Alert – Obviously tea drinking is completely subjective and personal to you so these are just my personal tips, I am not telling you this is the only way to make tea. These are just my best tips. What I say makes the perfect cup of tea might not be your cup of tea at all. That’s the beauty of herbal teas and being an individual. On the back of every Healthtea packet I specifically say ‘you are you, experiment, find your own flavour and drink to your health!!’
Let’s start at the very beginning, before you even boil that kettle you have to get this one right; The quality of your herbs! This will be dependent on different things such as soil quality, growing conditions, harvesting times, drying times and how old they are.
Now you don’t want to be bothered by all this, you just want a nice cup of tea so tip number one is to start with quality herbs and tea blends preferably cultivated without the use of pesticides and chemicals that are grown both ethically and responsibly.
Second most important thing to consider is your water! You might not have realised this but water quality can make or break your cuppa. Ever had a nice cup of tea from a hotel room? no? Me neither! Try to use fresh water each time, only boiling what you need because re boiled water contains less oxygen, which your tea needs to brew and avoids that metallic taste.
Next, have a think about the type of tea you are drinking and how much of it to use. Is it a strong flavour? Like Iron Brew with Nettle & Peppermint or is it light and floral like Serenitea with chamomile & lemon balm. This will give you an idea of how many teaspoons of herb to use. As a rule of thumb the lighter the blend the more Herb I use. The stronger the flavours and tannins the less herb I use. I never use less than 2 teaspoons personally per cup and often go up to four per cup depending on the brew.
Moving on is choice of Brewing vessel. This plays such a significant part in your tea experience. When drinking for health benefits as well as flavour the medium you choose makes all the difference because the more of the water you allow to infuse with herbs the more goodness you extract.
Here comes the science bit;
Osmotic diffusion occures when there’s fluid on both sides of a selectively permeable membrane – in this case the leaves. Compounds on the surface of the leaf and in the interior cells will diffuse into the surrounding liquid until the compounds in both the leaf and the water reach equilibrium. In other words – if given enough time the liquid in your teapot will become just as concentrated with tea compounds as the leaves and the ratio will stay that way.
Now it’s worth mentioning that osmotic diffusion will occur whether you use tea bags or loose leaf but there is a notable difference between the two. When given room to expand, loose leaves can swell to their full capacity, creating more room for water to flow in and extract all those nutritious compounds. Tea that comes in teabags on the other hand or that is brewing within a strainer only has so much room room to grow and the quality suffers as a result.
An ordinary teapot works perfect for this, or my own favourite is the french press/ coffee plunger because they are so easy to use and clean out after. Using either of these allows the herbs freedom to move as opposed to being restricted inside an infuser.
Now I know people who use tea infuser balls and pots with the infusers in them and love them. Personally the flavour and strength just doesn’t compare to a good old fashioned teapot that is kept hot enough while brewing to extract all the good stuff. Give it a try and taste the difference for yourself.
So your tea is brewing nicely inside the teapot and covered up with a nice tea cosy, all you have to do is…. wait. Patiently! Or not so patiently, as I have discovered on my HealthTea journey! Apparently, it would seem that some people have a very hard time allowing their tea to do it’s thing and steep for at least 10 minutes.
Now I get it, you are busy, a million and one things to do, who has time to wait 10 minutes for a cuppa??!! In that case pour and drink it as soon as you want, whatever way you want! But remember, we are talking about the most perfect cup of health tea here and well, perfection takes time! Do yourself and your body a favour and wait. I promise you, it will be worth it.
I say no less than 10 minutes minimum and up to infinity depending on your personal preferences. I never ever pour my tea before 15 minutes myself and quite often I even forget all about it only to come back to it over half an hour later.
The steeping is vital as the longer it steeps the more of the vitamins, minerals and micronutrients that are extracted. So really the health benefits you gain all boils down to your patience (pun intended). Try to push yourself an extra 5 minutes every time until you find that sweet spot between deliciousness and goodness. If you go too long and it’s too strong just dilute back down with some freshly boiled water and no harm done.
So what’s next? Well Now we go find our favourite mug, pour that liquid gold and drink to your health. Don’t forget the spent leaves can be reused. Pour over more boiled water and you can drink again hot for a lighter infusion or you can leave for a few hours and put into the fridge for a deliciously refreshing herbal water.
Then empty that pot of herbs into your compost heap, feed it to your house plants or outside straight into your flower bed!
So how do you brew yours? Do you follow any special or unusual tea rituals to get the perfect brew? Leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!
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