TEA LITERATURE RECOMMENDATIONS
Blook Review - Harney and Sons Guide to Tea
PU-ERH 101 SERIES
How to Get Started - 5 things to know before you choose your leaves
QUIRKY TEA - VARIATIONS
Bubbling Over With Homecrafted Boba - making Boba Milk tea at home w/less sugar
Start with good water. No need to go to the trouble of purchasing bottled water, but if you have hard water in your tap, you may want to purchase a filtered pitcher, such as Brita. It will make a difference not only in taste, but in the longevity of your brewing equipment.
Regardless of how you intend to heat your water, you need a method that will let the water get to boiling. This rules out most office coffee-brewer-with-hot-tap and microwave options. That's not to say that you can't enjoy tea at cooler temperatures, and for greens, a cooler temp is preferable, but to get the most from your leaves, the water needs to peak at boiling.
I am not a person who goes to the trouble of measuring the temperature of my water so it perfectly matches the tea type. I work backwards from "whistle." Here's how it works:
boiling temps : backwards from whistle :
Heat water to whistle - pour immediately over black tea and small amount over Pu-erh and oolong
Whistle minus 2 minutes = pour first steep of Pu-erh, oolong
Whistle minues 2.5 minutes = pour first steep of greens and fruited black blends
Whistle minus 3 minutes = pour first steep of more delicate greens and white teas
Once you've poured the water, each tea will have it's own instructions, but generally:
Pu-erhs can steep indefinitely according to taste, the longer it steeps, the darker it will be
Oolongs and black teas steep between 1 and 5 minutes depending on type
Herbal tisanes and sencha greens anywhere from 30 seconds to 4 minutes
Whites and florals 30 seconds to 2 minutes
Your experience will vary, this is simply what works for me.
TEA ON THE GO AND AT THE OFFICE
situation: no way to boil water where I'm going or no breakroom to prepare tea
solution: boil your water at home in your preferred quantity for the day, pour into a double-walled thermos, pack an infuser, a small tin or sachets of your favorite tea, and your favorite teacup (see tea postings for recommendations on equipment that doesn't take up space in your bag or briefcase).
why this works: The water, if you keep it seperate, will stay hot for hours and you'll be able to steep just enough for a cup at a time. You know where your water is coming from, which can be preferable to taking a chance on questionable water systems where you're going. Some places don't encourage consuming food at your desk, so keeping your steeps short and sweet will keep complaints to a minumum. If you're flying, keep your thermos empty until you get to the gate, you can usually get hot water or already-prepared tea to fill your thermos at one of the coffee shops.
A few of my favorite video finds from the internet.
The Story of Pu'Erh Tea
Tea in Wu Dang - GongFu Ceremony
last update June 2011