The Perfect Steep - A Tea Brewing Quest

The Perfect Steep - A Tea Brewing Quest

How to make tea...The Big Steep conjures up quixotic journeys through the back alleyways and steamy tea rooms of an insatiably thirsty noir world-but, thankfully, we won't be going there today.

Seriously, though, what we're simply looking for is how to brew loose leaf tea, and how to make tea with tea bags. How can we get the most(as quickly as humanly possible), out of our finest loose leaf, or our latest premium bagged tea? Since we're always pressed for time these days, I decided to make this journey more of a low-impact hike, than a drawn out be all end all odyssey. So, let's get this virtual(no Zoom sign-on required), tea party started!
First of all, I admit to being "hard core". Tea surrounds, envelopes, embraces and carries(nay, lifts!!), me through the calmest and craziest days of my week.  A serious cuppa tea's always close at hand while cramming for exams; a flashy tea tumbler sits in the ubiquitous and, dare I say, messy, car cup holder on my way to the gym; and my trusty work tumbler wears a snug top lid, and stands ready willing and able on my desktop in my workspace. 

I guess you could say that I definitely do my part in helping the world reach its impressive daily 2.2 billion cups of tea consumed statistic! I purposely keep my friends close; and, to me, a proverbial tea in hand, is certainly worth two in the box OR tin.....

                  Tea Field From Blue Cat Tees Blog How To Make TeaPeoples of the world have been drinking tea for five thousand years. China, India & Turkey are the world's largest producers of fine leaf. Though I can't claim to have millennia of experience, I do know what I like, and what makes for me, an extremely satisfying sip....
Actually, there are only five basic types of tea. The most popular teas come from these five types. These are those from the plant known as Camellia sinensis.

    The variety to which any of the above five teas belongs, is completely dependent on how the individual leaves are treated after they are picked. These are considered the only “true teas”, and anything else among the many commonly found tea flavors is actually an herbal or plant infusion, and not a true or "pure leaf". That's not to say that these "relatives" can't be REALLY delicious, though!

    One of my favorite infusion teas is Bigelow's "Constant Comment", which is a blend of black tea, orange rind and sweet spices(of which one of these is surely cloves).
    My fav black tea has to be the top tea of India-Darjeeling. It has a clean, nut-like flavor profile when you compare it to the muscular and potent taste of other black teas. It is lightly colored and quite flowery. I've always found it to have a VERY chill, serene, calming and composure-inducing effect on me personally, and it's my go-to after a particularly stressful and trying day.
    Green tea has to be the "big boy" in the room, whenever health & physical well-being are the focus. When it comes to varieties of tea and their benefits, green tea always seems to come up on the top of every list. It is processed so quickly after harvest to prevent oxidation, that it retains its vibrant jade color and high nutrient base. As such, Green tea has the highest concentration of antioxidants among the five aforementioned "true" teas. 
    After brewing, green tea takes on a yellow-green hue, and has a flavor profile that's grassy and vegetal. I love that astringent "bite" I get after taking my first sip! As I prefer my tea on the brawny side, the lovely bitterness just reassures me that I'm blowing through my antioxidant
    recommended daily requirement with each successive gulp!


    Whenever I need to quickly decompress and unravel the day, I delight in a soothing jasmine green. The green tea leaves are blended with jasmine petals, giving you a slightly sweet and devastatingly effective flower BOMB!

    Tea Ball & Loose Leaf Tea From Blue Cat Tees Tea Blog  

    Oolong is kind of a hybrid green and black tea, because of the way it is processed after harvest. Taiwan is the main producing nation for this variety. I find this tea to be on the woodsy and smoky side. Oolong has a pretty fair caffeine count, so it might be considered as one of the world's original energy drinks!

    Hailing from its main growing and harvesting region in northern China, white tea is the least processed of any tea variety. I've always considered this variety as being kind of mysterious and almost sacred in its solitary uniqueness, if that makes any sense.... White tea has a delicate and refined flavor. This tea also contains the least amount of caffeine. Mild, light and fruity, white tea has become more widely available in recent years. Amazingly, white tea actually rivals green tea in its antioxidant power, so drink up!

    If you thought white tea was the "mysterious cousin", of the extended tea family, make room for Pu’er. This tea has a secretive and almost mystical aura surrounding it. This variety is a fermented tea originally produced and grown in China. For years it has been protected(considered as a sacred national treasure), and carefully regulated in China. Recently, though, it has become more available. It has a complex bitter-sweet and earthy flavor profile. It is dark in color, due to a careful and precise aging process. I expect to see this fine leaf variety grow in popularity in the coming years.

    You made it! We've finally arrived at my two foolproof ways that I always fall back on when I want to brew the best AND quickest cuppa tea from either my favorite loose leaf or bagged tea.

    I've found that brewing my tea in the tea tumbler I'll be taking with me to school, work, or the gym, is the quickest way for me to get a consistent and delicious sip for the least amount of time and effort. I've found by experimentation that a "happy medium" of three minutes steep time works for any tea type, whether loose or bagged. How to steep tea:

    • Bagged Tea: Bring 6 oz of cold water(you can microwave in a pyrex cup if pressed for time), to just where you start to see small bubbles forming(the start of boiling). Drop 1 tea bag of your favorite tea into your to-go tea tumbler, and gently pour in the heated water. Steep for three minutes, and carefully discard the bag.
    • Loose Leaf:  Again, bring 6 oz of cold water(you can microwave in a pyrex cup if you need to), to just where you start to see small bubbles forming(the start of boiling). Add 1 rounded teaspoon of your favorite fine leaf, into your strainer or tea ball. With the strainer or tea ball now inside of your to-go tea tumbler, gently pour the heated water directly over and covering the leaves. Steep for three minutes, and carefully discard the strainer or tea ball...
    For me, the allure of tea has always been, and continues to be, the thrill I get from my latest unboxing, or reading "anything TEA" online. Fascinating articles and magazines never fail to sweep me up, and start me off on a new adventure to distant lands, exotic locales, and, of course, my latest OBSESSION!

    For a deeper dive into the wonderful benefits of tea, visit the fascinating and informative Harvard School Of Public Health's The Nutrition Source "Tea".

    "With dessert, she'll want tea"
    --"Be Our Guest" from "Disney's Beauty And The Beast"

    I'd love to hear from you. Please share my blog with friends, leave me a comment & follow us here at Blue Cat Tees!

    ~See you all next time!                                           

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