Don’t make these common mistakes when making tea
Especially if you don’t want your tea bitter
Jan 10, 2018
Tea is the most consumed beverage in the world after water. After all, it’s the national drink of the two most populated countries in the world (China and India in case you’re wondering). While the drink is simple and easy enough to prepare—steep dried tea leaves in hot water for a couple of minutes then add milk, honey, or sugar—many people still make common mistakes when preparing and drinking tea. Here’s what you should avoid.
Over-steeping the tea bag
There’s no harm in drinking your tea with the bag still in it.
However, if you’re meticulous, don’t leave the bag in the water for more than five minutes if you don’t want a bitter, sharp, and dry concoction. If you want a stronger and fuller taste of the leaves, it’s recommended to use two bags instead of an oversoaked one. Here’s a guide on how long should you steep different kinds of teas.
Squeezing the tea bag against the side of your cup
Like over-steeping, squeezing tea bags will result in a bitter cup because it releases more tannins, a kind of natural astringent that has a bitter taste. It’s not hazardous though, don’t worry.
But if you prefer your tea bitter, then squeeze ahead.
Hopping on marketing names
…such as “rare,” “reserve,” “monkey-picked,” and “imperial.” Like “monkey-picked,” which is usually used to describe a particular Chinese oolong tea, Tie Guan Yin. Legend has it that this variety of tea plant isn’t accessible to tea farmers, so monks trained monkeys to pick the prime leaves in the mountains instead. But that’s only a myth, and only probably meant something centuries ago.
So if you’re splurging on high-quality leaves and bags, make sure the leaves you’re buying aren’t torn apart and shredded (unless they’re Japanese green tea or Irish breakfast) and have no to minimal pieces of stems and dust.
Using small infusers
Ball and novelty infusers are mostly small, preventing the tea leaves to unroll properly. Avoid these as tea leaves tend to expand as they’re steeped; they also need a considerable amount of room to grow.
Header image courtesy of Unsplash
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