Tea Steeping Is an Experiment

Tea steeping is an experiment, a time to have fun and enjoy not just the flavor and aroma of tea but also the process. Go for it and have a great time!

2011 Spring Premium Mt. Wudong Yu Lan Xiang (Magnolia) Phoenix

When trying a tea for the first time, start with the vendor’s guidance for water temperature, steeping time, even the amount of tea leaves and water to use. This guidance comes from their personal experience or even the tea growers’ and processors’ experiences. Starting this way gives you a baseline for comparison. From here you can decide how to go. Stronger flavor. Weaker flavor. More subtlety. More boldness. And so on.

Try variations on steeping time, water temperature, etc., until you find what produces the best flavor for you. You might even switch from steeping in a ceramic or glass teapot to steeping in a Yixing teapot or a gaiwan. This works especially well for fine teas like many of the ones we sell.

Some general rules:

  1. Steeping times when using a Gaiwan or Yixing teapot are much shorter than when using a ceramic teapot. It can be as little as 7 to 10 seconds versus a minute, depending on the tea.
  2. Use more leaves rather than longer steeping times to get a stronger flavor, and conversely fewer leaves for lighter flavor.
  3. Hotter water will steep faster and stronger than relatively cooler water. Not good for delicate teas but good for most black teas.
  4. The amount being steeped (water and leaves) at a time will also affect flavor, with smaller amounts steeping up faster and having more variation between each steeping.

With these in mind, you might want to revisit teas you tried awhile back and did not get good results from. You might be pleasantly surprised. That oolong might go several steepings longer and that pu-erh might reveal even more flavor secrets. A little steeping experimentation is worth a try!

About Janice and Stephen Shelton

Purveyors of Premium Teas
This entry was posted in Enjoying and Preparing Tea and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Tea Steeping Is an Experiment

  1. The pleasure in tea is to research the perfect infusion for each teas.
    The first step could be to follow the tea seller guide line
    the second step will be to try differents steeping methods playing with time, temperature and amount of tea leaves while keeping track of everything to be able to reproduce the process.
    The final step problably is to forget about the process we have learned and just be 100% into making tea and sometimes be suprise by an execptional cup of tea…

    the Tea Garage


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