Getting Started With Loose Leaf Tea



note that this article was previously published on april 22nd, 2014

Many of you DailyTea drinkers have your tea routine down pat. You know what you like and how you wish to prepare it. For those who are new to tea or want to gain more tea knowledge, here is a loose leaf tea rundown.

Getting started with loose leaf tea can seem like a daunting task. The good news is that a few basic tools are all you really need to make a great cuppa at home. Before you consider your equipment, make sure to use freshly boiled spring or filtered water. Microwaving your water can make the taste flat and bland because it rapidly removes oxygen from the water.

Control The Temperature
Black teas and pu-erh can usually be made with boiling water but for other teas you’ll need to control the temperature. Variable temperature tea kettles are widely available but you can also do things the old fashioned way. Many tea retailers sell thermometers that are specifically made for tea but any kitchen thermometer will do the trick as well.

13106295963_e282cd16e0_o (1)Hold Your Leaves
In addition to temperature you’ll also need to be careful about how long the tea leaves are allowed to steep. There are a lot of different tools available to hold your tea leaves while brewing. When shopping there are two important things to keep in mind, avoiding plastic and making sure that your leaves have room to expand.

If the tea can’t stretch its legs, you’ll be missing out on flavor.
Plastic pieces that come into contact with the tea should be avoided because they can add unpleasant tastes. Metal is also much easier to keep clean over time. Traditionally styled tea balls can be too restricting for all but the tiniest of leaves. Basket style infusers are usually my go to when I’m only brewing one cup. Making your own  tea bags will do in a pinch, especially while traveling, with easy to fill tea filters.

10763455636_799e5bc683_oSip in Style
This is your chance to really show off your personality. Whether its a pretty vintage teacup or a big mug displaying your love for Dr. Who, what you sip your brew out of is entirely up to you. Some tea drinkers prefer glass or plain white porcelain so that they can better appreciate the color of their tea. Thicker walled cups will keep your tea hot for longer so they work well for multi-tasking.

Once you’ve got the hang of things, try branching out into more traditional methods of brewing. Gaiwans, yixing teapots, kyusu and other vessels can add another layer of appreciation to your tea drinking.


About Author

Nicole is a New Jersey native with a passion for everything tea. She loves to learn and share her tea knowledge, which she does through her fun and informative tea blog, Tea for Me Please.

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