Purified and spring water is best to make a perfect cup of tea, as it is free from pollutants and other substances that can alter the taste of tea. On the other hand, water that has some natural minerals can enhance the tea's flavour. Avoid distilled water for this reason as the lack of minerals will leave the tea tasting flat. Traditionally, in Asia, water is always brought to a gentle boil where a steady stream of air bubbles gently start rising to the surface, which is when water is sufficiently heated for preparing tea.
The popular assumption is that boiling water can be used on any kind of tea, this is actually not correct. Temperature of the water is critical in making a good cup of tea. Each type of tea has a different range of temperature. The lesser the oxidation, the cooler temperature to bring out the right flavour. That’s why a green tea or white tea can be easily cold brewed overnight. On the other hand, black tea, which has been fully oxidized, needs water at a higher temperature to bring out its characteristics.
Duration of infusion
Similar to water temperature, different kinds of tea need to steeped/soaked for different lengths of time. Generally, delicate teas such as green tea need to be brewed for a shortertime in hot water as compared to black teas.
Material of teapot
It is important to consider the type of tea for which you are choosing a teapot. Materials like Chinese yixing or iron are excellent at retaining heat over long periods of time making them perfect for teas that are steeped at higher temperatures like black tea or yixing. On the other hand porcelain or glass teapotsare more likely to release heat and are therefore better for Green and white teas.
General guidelines for the perfect cup of tea!
Collect your tea ware. As mentioned above (Under Point: Material of teapot) depending on the type of tea in question choose your teapot.
Select your tea. For one person each suggested serving is about 2.5 grams (2 teaspoons). For 2 people use around 4-8 grams. However this is flexible and completely depends on your personal preferences. Add more if you prefer a stronger brew or less if you like it on the lighter side.
As explained earlier (Under Point: Water), it’s best to use filtered water heated by stove or an electric kettle, avoid using a microwave to heat your water. If you are brewing white, green, or herbal teas, add about 2-3 tablespoons of cold water to the leaves before adding into hot water, this helps in controlling the temperature in case the water was too hot.
Infusion time is flexible depending on your taste. 2-3 minutes for the first steep is what we find appropriate, but depends on the type of tea. With each steeping, increase the time.