Six Things You Should Know About Brewing Tea

Brewing Chinese Tea - Photo courtesy of Kevin Jaako
Brewing Chinese Tea – Photo courtesy of Kevin Jaako

1) Not every tea is created equal. Therefore use good quality loose tea as much as possible. Avoid tea bags!
2) Each type of tea requires different brewing method. So there is no room for one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to brewing tea. For instance water should be around 90 degrees Celsius for most oolong teas; but it’s around 60 degrees Celsius for some Japanese green teas.
3) You can go either with Western Style brewing or Chinese Style. While Chinese Style is based on multiple short infusions by using yixing teapot or gaiwan; Western Style uses large teapots or mugs and allows one or two infusions. Go for Chinese Style (aka Gongfu Style) whenever you have the chance, you won’t regret it. Particularly when you brew oolong tea.

Gongfu Style Tea Brewing- Photo courtesy of Jonathan Lobel
Gongfu Style Tea Brewing- Photo courtesy of Jonathan Lobel

4) We’re all creatures of habit. It’s normal that you’ve got some favorites. For some it’s famous Earl Grey, for others it’s nice cup of Silver Needle white tea. However there’re thousands of tea out there waiting to be explored. If you do not have any idea where to start, I suggest you try some oolong tea. Break your habits today!

Tieguanyin Oolong Tea - Photo courtesy of Serena
Tieguanyin Oolong Tea – Photo courtesy of Serena

5) We all spend more time at work than home. Nothing is like a great tea break at work! So get some accessories to brew loose tea at work. Teavana’s Tea Maker and Adagio Teas’ IngenuiTEA are great tools to make nice cup of tea at work.
6) Last but not least, share your tea! Tea is best when it’s accompanied by a nice conversation.

Have you ever heard of Malawi tea ?

Harvesting tea at Satemwa, Malawi - Photo courtesy of Skip Russell
Harvesting tea at Satemwa, Malawi – Photo courtesy of Skip Russell

I could not have pointed out Malawi on the map until I came across the video below. The video is about tea production in Malawi and importance of tea for Malawi people who work very hard to make end meets.

Malawi is a small country in southeast Africa with an estimated population of almost 16 million people. It’s the second largest tea producer of tea in Africa after Kenya; selling tea mostly to the UK and South Africa. Beside that it’s the pioneer of tea in Africa, production first starting in the 1880s. Tea is one of the top main export items, sustaining livelihoods of many Malawi family.

Although I drink too much tea, at least some friends of mine claim so:), I’ve never tried Malawi tea. It’s mostly CTC production black tea. Another tea on my wish list! How about you? Have you ever tried Malawi tea?

What is Gyokuro Tea ?

To tell you the truth when it comes to green tea, I’m more inclined to China than Japan. Yet there is one type of green tea from Japan that I do always crave. which one? Yes, you got it right! it’s Gyokuro green tea which is mostly produced in Fukuoka and Kyoto.

Gyokuro Green Tea on Flickr
Gyokuro Green Tea – photo courtesy of Dimitri Fedorov

What makes Gyokuro so unique ? It’s shaded for about three weeks prior to harvesting with a structure called Tana. This process gives Gyokuro its rich aroma and flavor. Following shading process tea leaves are picked by masterful hands for making Gyokuro. This tea is definitely not for beginners (you should go for Sencha), but for aficionados. Brewing requires much more careful handling, too. It’s suggested not  to use water hotter than 60 degrees celsius.Traditionally it’s brewed with Japanese Kyusu teapot but it’s ok to use any other brewing device.

If you’re looking for something refreshing and invigorating on a sunny or rainy day, this tea definitely fits the bill.  Especially if you’re into green tea and haven’t tried Gyokuro yet, you better hurry!