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Tea Brewing Tricks

Posted by Path of Cha on

Have you ever had the experience of picking up your gaiwan, picking out your favorite tea, brewing it, and realizing the taste isn’t as good as you remember?

Or maybe you forgot about it and now it's too bitter?

Whatever the case is, we got some tips and tricks on bettering the taste, so let's examine the following problems!

Our Award Winning Ali Shan Milk Oolong has beautiful big leaves which need sufficient room to expand


The Taste Is Too Weak

 

  1. the bigger the tea leaves are the longer it takes for the tea to brew
    next time, try breaking up the larger tea leaves a bit to let the oils out and at the same time giving the water easier access to the tea leaf.
    you will end up with a far more flavorful brew

  2. sometimes the tea starts to loose taste quicker than we want it to. If you notice your tea is losing its sweet aromatic flavor only after the first couple brews, try increasing the water temperature by a little for subsequent steeps

  3. some teas require higher brewing temperatures and sometimes when we taste the tea shortly after it has been brewed we cannot taste the delicate qualities of it because the water is still a bit too hot and our palate can’t pick up on the subtleties
    we recommend waiting for the tea to cool down a little in the cup first — ideally to around 160ºF (for small gong fu cha cups this shouldn’t take long). Try experimenting with this technique and see if you are able to pick up on some of the more subtle notes.

  4. check that the brewing vessel you are using isn’t too small
    give teas with bigger leaves more room to expand
    sometimes the tea leaves just aren’t expanding enough to release all their flavor into the water and we are left with a somewhat tasteless brew 

 


The Tea Is Too Bitter

 

  1. try slightly lowering the water temperature until you have a tea that has enough flavor and no astringency
    another good way to avoid bitter notes in your tea is to cold brew, allowing the sweet taste to slowly release and the unpleasant bitter qualities to stay behind

  2. try pouring the tea from one vessel into another, this does not only cool down the tea but also lets it breathe, allowing for the bitterness to fade and leaving you with a sweeter, more aromatic brew!

 


The bitterness we experience in tea is a direct result of the polyphenols, otherwise known as tannins. While they are a good thing, in general, hotter water temperature makes them more prominent, while lower water temperature makes amino acids more prominent (these are responsible for the sweetness in tea). While amino acids dissolve at 140°F, tannins dissolve at 176°F.

 

For this reason, we usually don’t brew green teas at a temperature higher than 176°F and generally keep it at this mark for the perfect balance of flavors in our tea.

 

Have you tried any of these tricks yourself? Maybe you have some to share that we haven't mentioned? Share in the comments below!


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