There is a lot of debate about how to make the perfect cup of tea. Some take their tea with sugar, some take it with milk, others like it au naturel. But the way you prepare your tea can actually affect the tea itself. Herbal tea comes with a lot of benefits, so we want to make sure you’re getting the most out of each and every cup by preparing it as best as possible.
We’re going to share some of our favorite tea-brewing tips that are important to know no matter what type of tea you’re enjoying. But, if you’ve ever wondered how to make the perfect cup of our whole flower tea, we’ll share our five steps to success.
How to store your tea
Factors like light, heat, moisture, and odor can all make a difference in the shelf life of your tea. Light and UV rays can make your teas degrade much more quickly than normal. So, to keep your tea as fresh as possible, keep your tea in a dark cabinet or an opaque container. You should also consider keeping your tea away from any heat sources like your stove. Exposing your tea to heat before you brew it can also affect its freshness.
The reason why your tea is shelf stable is because it is completely dried out. If your it comes in contact with water, it can ruin it. Finally, make sure to keep your teas away from any strong odors. A lot of people keep their teas with their spices, but teas absorb odor really easily. This is great for tea when it's able to be infused with incredible flavors like jasmine, but nobody wants a cup of tea that tastes like onion powder.
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Do you need to warm your teapot and teacup by rinsing it with hot water?
Putting a little hot water from the sink into your teapot and teacup can be a great way to prep it for your delicious herbal tea. Each tea has a specific brewing temperature. When you pour your hot water into a cool teapot or teacup, it’ll instantly start reducing the temperature of the water. Since you want the tea to stay in the desired water temperature as long as possible, it is best to warm up your teapot and teacup beforehand.
Heating up your teapot and teacup are also a part of the famous gongfu tea ceremony, a kind of Chinese tea ceremony which involves the ritual preparation and presentation of tea (1). Today tea masters follow the rituals of the gongfu tea ceremony in order to maximize the taste of their tea. So if you’re looking for the perfectly flavored cup of tea, consider warming up your teapot and teacup before serving your tea.
Additionally, if you’re using more delicate teapots or teacups made of china or glass, it is a good idea to warm up your teapot and teacup before adding your tea. While rare, the difference in temperatures can cause thermal stress to occur, which can damage or weaken your teaware.
Is it okay to reboil your water for tea?
There is a lot of debate about whether it's okay to reboil water when making tea. Generally, boiling water that has already been boiled won’t cause any huge issues. Anyone who has left water in their kettle and forgotten about it knows that reboiling it didn’t completely change how their tea tasted.
But, some tea experts, like the head of the UK Tea and Infusions Association, William Gorman, and the people over at Twinings, say that reboiling water for tea is a big no-no. Ordinary water from your tap contains minerals and dissolved gases, like oxygen. These experts claim that reboiling your water will cause oxygen to be reduced, which will affect the taste of the tea. (2, 3)
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Best things to add to your tea
Some people are adamant about adding milk to their tea, while others prefer it black. Certain teas, like black teas, which tend to be stronger and a little more bitter, pair well with creamy milk, but whether you want to add milk or sugar to your tea is completely up to you. We personally love a good flower latte or two. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, goji berries are commonly added to teas to add a little touch of sweetness. Goji berries are also rich in vitamins and antioxidants like carotenoids (4). Honey, fresh ginger, and lemon juice are all also great additions to certain cups of tea!
Milk before or after tea?
Milk first began being added to tea when people used to enjoy tea in cups made out of bone china. Like we mentioned earlier, pouring boiling hot water into a cold cup can cause it to crack, especially when it is made out of fine china. So technically, in this situation, milk should be added before your tea in order to cool down the tea before it comes in contact with a delicate teacup.
We actually suggest warming up your cup with hot water, dumping it out, letting your tea brew, and then adding your milk. This way, you can make sure you aren’t adding too much milk and it won’t affect the temperature of the water while it’s brewing.
Now that we’ve gone through a few of our favorite general tea making tips, we want to share our instructions for making the best whole flower tea. Whole flower tea is different from loose leaf tea because it isn’t prepared in tea bags or tea balls. It also contains the entire flower which means it’s filled with a few different healing properties. But without further ado, let’s make some tea.
How to make the perfect cup of whole flower tea
1. Choose the right teacup
While our whole flower teas can be enjoyed in a lot of different teacups, we always suggest brewing your teas in a tea cup with a wider rim. This will allow for the flower to open up completely, which will help it brew more thoroughly. You should also consider the material your teacup is made out of. Glass tea cups are great because they are non-porous, meaning they don’t hold in certain flavors or aromas. Porcelain, bone china, and ceramic are also good choices. We don’t suggest brewing your tea in a stainless steel cup because it can potentially retain heat for too long. Plastic cups are also discouraged because not all plastics are safe when exposed to heat and can leach toxic elements into your tea.
2. Choose the right temperature
Surprisingly, most teas don’t need to be brewed with boiling water. Many teas, especially more delicate teas, can be brewed with water that is slightly below water’s boiling point of 212 degrees Fahrenheit. We suggest brewing our Shangri-la rose whole flower tea at 180 degrees Fahrenheit. The same temperature works well for our Blue Lotus whole flower tea. Our Chrysanthemum whole flower tea can actually be brewed a little hotter at 190 degrees Fahrenheit. You can test the temperature of your water with any kitchen thermometer or find a kettle that can heat water to certain temperatures.
If you don’t have a kitchen thermometer or a specialized kettle, you can estimate the temperature of the water by observing how it looks. As your water begins to heat you’ll notice tiny bubbles appearing on the bottom of your pot. When you notice these bubbles, your water will be around 160 degrees Fahrenheit. When the bubbles start to get slightly larger and steam starts appearing, your water will be around 175 degrees Fahrenheit. When bubbles the size of small pearls begin appearing, your water temperature will be around 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Finally, as all of the bubbles start to become even larger and more uniform in size the temperature will be around 190 degrees Fahrenheit.
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3. Choose the right brewing time
Just like brewing temperature, every tea has a certain brewing time. Each of our whole flower teas should be brewed for at least three minutes, but may be brewed for longer. At the end of the day, the best cup of tea is the one you enjoy the most, so if you like a stronger brew, you can leave your flower steeping for longer.
4. Completely submerge your tea underwater
Unlike loose leaf teas which tend to float to the bottom, our flowers naturally float on top of water. This means that in order to brew your flower correctly you must submerge it completely underwater. For us, taking the time to submerge each flower completely underwater with our bamboo tongs is a small moment of peace in our day. A tea bag can be steeped and forgotten, but steeping a whole flower tea is a completely different experience and one of our favorite daily rituals. You can choose to take the three minutes to take in the flower’s natural beauty by swirling it around the cup or even to pause for a few 3 minute breathing exercises.
5. Whole flower tea can be used up to three times
The last thing you should know about our teas is that they can be brewed up to three times. This is because each flower is picked at its prime and chock full of flavonoids and antioxidants. Feel free to serve a few cups of tea among friends or freeze any extra rose tea to save it for a rosy ice facial.
And with that, we wish you happy tea drinking! 🌸🫖