Ask 10 people how to make the perfect cup of tea and you will get 10 very different answers – and probably end up in an argument. People take their tea very seriously!
Master tea blender at Joekels Tea Packers Jonathan Kelsey notes that tea is one of the most popular beverages worldwide, and every tea drinker has his/her preferred flavour and specific way of making a cuppa.
However, when it comes to understanding tea, nobody knows more than the master. According to Kelsey, the two biggest mistakes people make are not brewing the tea for long enough and using reboiled water.
“To get the most of the flavour and benefits, tea should always be steeped for at least three minutes, or longer – depending on how strong you like it. Using reboiled water makes tea taste flat, which is why tea should always be prepared with freshly-boiled water,” he said.
For those looking to prepare tea like the master himself, Kelsey has shared some useful tips.
- The key to enjoying black tea is choosing a quality blend. A good quality black tea should have a reddish or golden hue to it once milk is added, while poorer quality teas are generally a flatter, muddy brown colour.
- Black tea should be brewed for three to five minutes to enjoy the full flavour.
- Black tea can be enjoyed with or without milk and/or sugar.
- Flavoured black tea varieties are best enjoyed with milk and sugar.
- Green tea has a very delicate flavour, which can become bitter if prepared with boiling water. For optimum flavour, green tea should be prepared with water that hasn’t reached boiling point.
- Green tea is best prepared without milk. Milk contains a protein called casein that negates some of the benefits of the natural antioxidants found in green tea.
- Green tea should be brewed for around three minutes. For those who find green tea too bitter, adding a squeeze of honey or a slice of lemon is a good idea.
- Green tea can inhibit the absorption of iron if consumed with meals. It should rather be drunk at least 15 to 20 minutes before or after a meal.
- Rooibos is actually not a tea in the true sense in that it doesn’t come from the tea plant, camellia sinensis. It is a herbal tincture, much like chamomile or honeybush.
- Rooibos should be brewed for three to five minutes.
- Rooibos can be enjoyed with or without milk or honey. Many enjoy adding honey to their rooibos and/or a slice of fresh lemon.
- Fruit infusions are also not “teas” in the traditional sense as they don’t contain tea leaves. Instead, they are made from a blend of real herbs, flowers, and fruit, which create a flavourful beverage when brewed in boiling water.
- Herbal infusions are usually brewed for three to five minutes, but always refer to the packaging for preparation instructions.
- Fruit infusions should be consumed without milk. Honey or sugar can be added.
Have you checked out the latest IOL Food & Drinks digital magazine? Read it here.