Tea seems simple enough, right? Measure some dried leaves, dunk them in water, strain, and drink.
But the reality is there’s way more too it than that. Because if it were really that simple, why have we had times where our tea (at home, restaurants, cafes, etc.) tastes bitter or off? And the only way to salvage it is to add agave, sugar, or even milk or cream.
Unfortunately, this changes the dynamic of the tea and produces a disappointing experience. After all, tea is an elegant drink enjoyed best in its natural state that showcases its taste, distinct profiles, and health properties. If you are starting to find that tea has become nothing more than a way to quench your thirst, it may be because you’ve been preparing it wrong.
1. Boiling Water
Do you just boil water and throw in your tea? The reality is that each different type of tea is processed to a certain degree starting from the least processed, white tea, to the most processed, black tea.
As tea is processed or even aged, its profile becomes more distinct and hearty and it becomes more able to keep its integrity when steeped in boiled water.
If boiled water is poured over a very delicate tea like white tea, however, the leaves will wilt too quickly and the tea will start to taste bitter losing its character and personality. Worse, the delicate leaves will become so damaged that the potent health and relaxation properties of it will be compromised.
2. Timing Is Everything
When it comes to preparing your favorite tea, steeping time can make all the difference. Just like too-hot water can bring out the astringency in teas, so can over-steeping.
Instead, follow this guide:
3. Less Is More
Oftentime, less is more when it comes to drinking tea. But we don’t mean “less tea” — we mean less add-ons once your tea is ready.
First, if health is a priority for you, pay close attention to what you are putting into your tea. (In particular, be cautious about adding sweeteners or even dairy.) Why?
While tea is known for its health benefits and antioxidants, adding milk or other additives like sugar could reduce your tea’s benefits because antioxidants bind to the milk or sugar molecules. They can also be a sneaky source of extra, unwanted calories.
Instead, we recommend finding the perfect tea for you that you can enjoy a la carte. Try out our Tea Wizard — a super short quiz that helps you find your perfect tea based on your lifestyle and preferences. Over 13,000 people have already taken our quiz and found their favorite teas.
Finally, if you want to add extras, you still have options. For example, you can try brewing your tea with herbs like mint, ginger slices, cardamom pods, cinnamon or vanilla sticks, or even licorice root. Each offers additional health properties as well as a unique twist of flavors!
Ultimately, tea is a delicious yet delicate drink that needs attention and care when being prepared or blended. (That’s why we are so committed to quality when making our teas.) Even if you’ve been drinking tea wrong your whole life, never fear — you now have the opportunity to reap the full benefits with only a few tweaks in preparation.