Just as selecting the best tea is important for a great cuppa, so are the minute details of preparation such as the water temperature, the infusion time and the quality of water.
In the video, Andrew Gadsden, owner of All About Tea, reckons to make the perfect cup you should put the tea bag and water in before the milk, with the water ‘totally boiling’. Do you agree?
Sebastian Pole, medical herbalist and author of new herbal tea recipe book ‘Cleanse Nurture and Restore with Herbal Tea’, has also shared his simple tips to creating the perfect brew.
Filter your water
Water should be fresh, pure, clear, odourless and low in minerals. So it’s best to use a water filter before making your tea.
Don’t overboil your water
Overboiling causes the minerals to escape and collect as a film on the surface. This upsets the balance between the stronger tannins and some of the subtle volatile oils and amino acids in the herbs.
Remember not to overfill your kettle – use only enough for the cups or pot – and use a renewable energy supplier.
Use freshly boiled water
Re-boiling water risks concentrating certain undesirable compounds, including nitrates and salts, that may be in your water.
Not too hot – or too cold
Really hot water extracts more bitter and astringent compounds, making the tea, especially green tea, taste harsh.
Water that is too cool on the other hand lacks the power to entice the flavours out of herbs, making the tea taste weak.
Herbal teas should be made with freshly boiled water at a temperature of around 90–95OC/ 190–205OF.
Delicate teas such as chamomile, mint or green teas infuse in a lower water temperature.
Oolongs (traditional Chinese teas) and fruit teas need a slightly hotter temperature whilst black teas infuse at an even hotter temperature.
As a guide:
- Green tea – 80-85OC / 175-185OF
- Oolongs (around) 85-90OC / 185-195OF
- Black teas (around) 95OC / 205OF
Infuse the tea for the right length of time
Delicate aromatic flowers, leaves and seeds need less infusion time; from five to 10 minutes. Harder fruits, roots and barks need a longer infusion time, from 10 up to 20 minutes.
The right cup or pot
There is no ‘right’ cup or pot to make and drink herbal tea from.
If you’re brewing tea in a pot, then choose a sturdy one so it keeps your tea warm.
The choice of cup is all yours – a good trick is to keep a lid on your cup when drinking aromatic herbs to prevent the valuable volatile oils from evaporating away.
And of course, always drink your tea in good company or in a relaxed environment to full appreciate its taste and benefits.
To make ‘A Cup of Love’ from Master Herbsmith, Sebastian Pole’s new herbal tea recipe book, follow the below recipe:
‘A Cup of Love’ – serves three cups of love
3 grams Chamomile flowers
2 grams Limeflower
2 grams Marigold (calendula) petal
1 gram Rose flower
1 gram Lavender flower
1 gram Licorice root
Put all of the ingredients in a pot. Add 500ml/18floz freshly boiled filtered water. Leave to steep for 10–15 minutes, then strain and let the love flow.
Here are five teas to enjoy this National Tea Day
Pukka Herbs’ Turmeric Gold – This is a tea to celebrate life – lemon fruit, aromatic cardamom and whole leaf green tea expertly blended with one of nature’s most powerful spices, turmeric.
Pukka Herbs’ Blackcurrant Beauty – Full-bodied and fruity; packed full of distinctive berry flavours with additional hints of sweet dark beetroot and the mellow fruitiness of orange peel. Characteristic for its use of adventurous flavours and ingredients, Pukka has also incorporated rose hips, fennel, hibiscus and licorice. Whilst full of flavour, Blackcurrant Beauty is also a healthy alternative to curb sweet cravings and is naturally caffeine free. This delicious combination aids cellular repair, protects the skin against sun damage and lends the skin to a radiant glow.
Pukka Herbs’ Mint Refresh – This tasty and cooling blend combines a number of herbs including peppermint, licorice root, fennel seed and coriander seed which all help to improve and strengthen the digestive system. The addition of rose flower will leave you feeling nourished, calm and uplifted. This combined with peppermint and hibiscus flower denotes a summery vibe and is also great to enjoy following meal times.
Pukka Herbs’ Three Ginger – A potent ginger tea, full of wonderfully warming organic ingredients. Expertly blended using ginger root, turmeric root and galangal root, to name a few. Naturally hot, spicy and stimulating, these herbs and spices will stimulate the system, warm the digestion and improve nutrient assimilation.
Pukka Herbs’ Peppermint and Licorice – A delicious combination of refreshingly aromatic peppermint and indulgently sweet licorice. Peppermint has a deliciously clean, fresh and sweet flavour – its aroma clears the head and removes stagnation in the body to cleanse and revive. Comforting and moistening licorice is like an internal balm to soothe and soften wherever it goes.