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To a Tea: How To Brew The Perfect Cup

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

With more and more folks learning about all the (health) benefits of these “hot” little, numbers, teas are more than just a tease for your taste buds.

Savory Sensations: From black, to white and various varieties of green, teas have become the new drink of choice for many health conscious men and women. Blended and flavored varieties are favored and comprised of two major subcategories of teas. Most commercial blends contain 20 or more teas from different origins. Among the most well-known and preferred black teas are Earl Grey, English breakfast and Orange Pekoe, to name a few.

The Un-Teas: While WE classify it as tea, herbal teas are not necessarily teas in the purest form of the definition, as it contains no leaves from camellia sinensis. More accurately herbal teas can be classified as herbal infusions or tisanes, with the leading brews including Rose hip, chamomile, and peppermint.

Peaking Your Taste: Orange pekoe, one of the most popular flavors of tea, can also not adequately be referred to as tea, but rather as part of a family of black teas that are blended together….and the various varieties, (including pekoe, pekoe souchong, and orange pekoe) are used a means of measuring leaf size and/or grading measurement. And, by the way, the proper pronunciation is PECK-oh.

In The Bag: Generally speaking the leaves in tea bags contain lesser quality, broken leave which have a tendency to infuse quicker than loose leaves and have a shorter shelf life than whole leaves (within six months). Lose tea can be stored safely for up to two years.

Well-Kept “Secrets”: Tea is best stored in cool, dark places, and preferably in airtight metal or opaque glass containers. Trained tea totelers also suggest creating your own tea-rrific tasting teas by adding cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg, vanilla or cocoa bean, or even citrus to the container.

Your Cup Runneth Over: Stewing over how to brew the perfect cup of tea? It’s probably easier than you think if you know what your doing. Use cold fresh water or bottled water if your tap water has a strange taste. Bring the water slowly to a boil. Remember, black and oolong teas require boiling hot water, but green teas call for steaming water. You can achieve this by bringing your water to a boil and allowing it to sit for about 3 minutes. While personal preference is key, most experts recommend 1 teabag per cup, or 1 teaspoon of loose leave per 8 ounces of water. Steeping times also vary. For black blends allow 3-5 minutes, oolong 7-12 minutes and 2-2 1/2 minutes for green teas. For a more robust flavor, experts suggest simply adding more leave as opposed to steeping longer. Excessive steeping may result in a bitter taste. Remove bags or drain leaves (from pot) before serving.

Long Island Home & Lifestyle Articles > To a Tea: How To Brew The Perfect Cup

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