Getting Started: How To Brew A Good Cuppa.

Getting Started: How To Brew A Good Cuppa.

Like most things in life, it all starts with good water. Now, we’re not saying you need to be brewing your tea with expensive, name brand, quadruple filtered bottled water, but good water makes good tea. If your water has a good clean flavor right out of the tap, that’s all you need! However, if your tap water takes on the flavors of the chemicals used to treat the water in your city, (you know that chlorinated pool water smell and taste that city tap water sometimes gets?) or if you have hard water that tastes of heavy minerals you may want to explore filtering your water to get the best flavor out of your tea. After all, it's all about the tea!

Water aside, there are a few other steps you can take to brew the best cup you can. For example, did you know that different types of tea should be brewed at different temperatures and even different lengths of time? 

Black tea, for example can be good brewed at just about any temperature, and strengthens it’s flavor the longer you let it steep, but gets it’s best flavor when brewed at a boiling temp for just under 5 minutes. Green tea, however, owing to it's "fresher" nature, tends to be more temperamental and if not brewed at a slightly lower temperature for just the right amount of time (2-3 minutes), can get too grassy or even bitter and overpowering. Herbal and fruit teas tend to do the best with high temperatures and long steep times to get the most flavor out of the dried herbs, spices and fruits.  

What’s the best method for ensuring you have the right temperature? (if you answered “put it in the microwave” you’re welcome to show yourself out…Okay, not really but you REALLY should reconsider your life choices…) You don’t need anything fancy, a simple pot or kettle to boil your water, and a thermometer will do. That's it! most of us already have those on hand anyway. 

Don't have a thermometer? No worries. you can gauge an appropriate temperature for your tea by sight as well - our recommendation is if the steam is gently curling out of your pot, and it's just beginning to simmer, (small pinhead sized bubbles are starting to show at the bottom, and maybe moving a bit) you're good for white and green tea. if it's at a full rolling boil (big bubbles moving rapidly) and steam is billowing out, you're good for black tea, oolong and herbals. (easy peasy!)

For the thermometer method, you can either dip the thermometer in your pot as you’re bringing your water to a boil and take it off the heat when it’s at the temperature you need, or let it come to a boil and periodically check the temperature as it sits and cools. There are also many different kettles available on the market that you can program for a specific temperature, or even some that have handy pre-sets for different temperatures for specific types of tea. (the thermometer method tends to be the simplest and cheapest if you don’t want to invest in a bunch of equipment right away.) 

Now, you’re probably thinking “That's great and all, but how do I know what the exact right temperature is for my tea?” No worries! We’ve compiled this handy dandy reference guide to help you get the most out of your tea leaves*: 

Remember it all depends on your preferred taste, so there’s a little room to play with steep times and temperatures to get a flavor you love, but the reference guide will get you started in the right direction. (all of our labels have a recommended brew time and temperature printed on them as well so you don’t have to worry about memorizing anything, or printing it out to carry with you…unless you want to.) 

As with anything, there are a few exceptions to these rules** like when you’re brewing a blend that includes multiple types of tea (perhaps a black and green blend, Oolong fruit tea, or an herbal and black tea) We suggest referring to the lower side of the spectrum for brew times and steeping, particularly in blends that have the more delicate white and green teas. Simply put, because it can be so fickle, if it includes green tea, brew it like a green tea. Black teas that include fruit or herbals can be steeped hotter and longer without as much worry of harming the flavor. Don't worry. As you go you’ll find a combination that works for your palate, budget, schedule, and preferred blend. 




Oh! We almost forgot! Don’t forget to warm your cup, mug, or vessel of choice before pouring your brew. (you can do this by simply filling it with hot water while your tea steeps, then discard the water before adding your tea.) Is it necessary? No! And to be honest there are many days when we skip this step all together at Foundry HQ, but for the best cuppa, a warm vessel is the way to go. Not only does it help your tea stay warmer longer, but it helps deliver the best aroma and all those warm-fuzzy hug-in-a-mug feelings that tea delivers. 



*We don't carry teas and infusions that include fresh herbs and fruits, but wanted to include it anyway in case you've got some extras from a recipe, or have some herby goodness growing in your garden and want to try your hand at a fresh infusion of your own. (lemon ginger, apple mint and thyme orange are some great combinations to try!) Don't forget: "Play is the highest form of research." (Albert Einstein) so have fun with it!

**Note that much like the Pirate Code, they're more like guidelines than actual rules. if you like all of your tea brewed at the same temp for the same length of time, or are a "set it and forget it" kind of person that's fine too! You do you and be proud!

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