We often write about the health benefits of tea. It’s a healthy, calorie-free beverage with well-documented effects on physical and mental health. Even just the act of taking time to enjoy this warming beverage seems to make anxiety slip away.
The best way to brew tea is to make a ritual out of it. This allows us to make time and space for relaxation and for ourselves. Rather than quickly boiling water and pouring over a bag of grocery store tea, take time to truly appreciate this ritual and do it right. You will find that the benefits of properly enjoying this task will translate into other areas of your life.
Choose your tea: Choose a loose leaf tea from a local purveyor or online store. Do you prefer green, black, oolong, rooibos or white tea? Plain or with added flavor? Strawberry green tea and coconut oolong are some of the most popular for the summer season. Make sure to store your tea in an airtight container away from light and humidity.
Warm your teapot: Warm the teapot with hot tap water. Once the porcelain has warmed, discard the water.
Measure your tea: Place one teaspoon of tea leaves per cup of water in a basket infuser. This is better than a tea ball, which prevents leaves from fully expanding and releasing their flavor.
Boil your water: Water temperature is key to a good cup of tea; you may want to use a thermometer until you are used to brewing it this way. Add filtered water to your kettle and use the following temperatures for different types of tea: White, 165°; green tea, 175°; oolong, 200°; black tea 212°.
Steep: Steep black teas 4-5 minutes, oolongs 4-7 minutes and green or white teas 2-5 minutes. Agitate the leaves occasionally to better release their flavor.
Pour: Remove the infuser and pour tea into cups. Smaller cups will help keep the tea you drink warmer, longer.
Like any ritual, tea making requires discipline and practice. Because steeping a good pot of tea requires mindful attention to details, it keeps us present in the moment, infuses us with serenity and rewards our senses with the fruits of our efforts.