I love tea! I have tea every day but it wasn’t until recently that I learned how to make tea correctly. Before I would either brew my tea for too long, or I wouldn’t use the right amount of tea leaves and as a result, my tea would taste weak or bitter and simply not as delicious as I expected.
Below are five awesome tips to help you make your tea a better experience, better tasting and delicious.
Tip: Keep Your Equipment Clean and Cared for
Your basic tea equipment is often made of glass, ceramic, porcelain, clay pottery, cast iron or silverware. Each material is cared for in their own way. The key is that the equipment is free of soap residue, minerals, and other dirt.
Rinsing the teapot with warm water and not using soaps or detergents is advice that applies to any teapot. Wiping down the outside of the teapot with a dedicated cloth is also universal. Letting the teapot air dry by turning upside down is a part of daily care.
You can use a solution of baking soda and water to soak teapots and gently remove any tea stains with a soft non-abrasive sponge. Special brushes that fit into the spouts can be used to remove any stains from them.
Below you will find additional tips for each material class of teapot.
Clay or Yixing teapot
A glass teapot or glass teaware, in general, is becoming more popular and a “modern” way to show off the tea brewing process. Especially used for whole leafs tisanes and other whole leaf flowery infusions, glass teapots are relatively easy to care for and use.
Some glass teaware can be used on a stovetop and heated up directly, but otherwise, the water is heated in a separate kettle and poured into the glassware. The instructions for the teapot need to be consulted.
Expect to adjust brewing times for tea in glass teaware as the glass does not conserve heat well.
Glass teaware cools down quickly which means tea generally will take longer to steep compared to other teaware. Adjust your brewing times according to your taste.
Care tips for glass teaware and glass teapots
- Even though most modern glass teaware is made from tempered glass, use warm water to “preheat” the teapot. This will reduce the stress from rapid heating to the metal. Get in the habit of pouring in hot water only in a teapot that has been prewarmed.
- Avoid using abrasive sponges or other abrasive cleaning elements. These will scratch the glass.
- Use a teapot spout cleaning brush or other cleaning brush as necessary to clean any tea stains from the spout.
- Use white vinegar or a solution of baking soda and water to clean tea stains.
- You can use “tea cozies” to wrap the teapot whichs helps a little to keep the tea warm longer. The TeaClass website points out that small tea candles can also be used.
Cast Iron Teapots
A cast iron teapot is the ultimate purchase and investment into teapots. There are two classes of cast iron teapots, a “tetsubin” which is a true cast iron teapot without a glazed interior, and a cast iron teapot with a glazed interior.
Each class of cast iron teapot is cared for in similar ways as they are both cast iron teapots, but are used in different ways. You can boil water in a tetsubin and also brew your tea (generally green tea) but you never heat up a glazed cast iron teapot – you just steep and prepare the tea. The hot water is boiled/heated in a kettle and then poured into the glazed cast iron teapot.
You never directly (stove or flame) heat up a glazed cast iron teapot. These are only for steeping or brewing the tea with heated water from a kettle.
Found in both classes of cast iron teapots, stainless steel infusers are used to hold the tea as it is steeped in the water. These can be cleaned and rinsed very well in hot water – but not soap. You can use a small kitchen brush and a mix of white vinegar and water to remove any tea stains.
Care tips for cast iron teapots
- Before pouring hot water into the cold cast iron teapot, first, use warm water to “preheat” the teapot. This will reduce the stress from rapid heating to the metal. Get in the habit of pouring in hot water only in a teapot that has been prewarmed.
- Protect your tabletops by placing a heat resistant mat underneath or (preferred) a special designed Cast Iron Trivet Stand.
- Remove rust from the outside with a metal wire brush. Rust inside is non-toxic and totally safe. Some consider this a benefit as it improves the taste of the water. Glazed cast iron teapots will not rust inside and this is why some prefer the traditional tetsubin.
- Avoid any contact with oils and salt.
- After brewing and using a cast iron teapot, let the teapot cooldown and then using only warm water (no soap or detergents) rinse the inside and the outside. Dry the outside with a soft rag dedicated to drying the teapot and air dry upside down the teapot before storing.
- The Republic of Tea recommends rebrewing used tea leaves in boiling water and letting the tannic acids seal the rust inside the tetsubin. But only if the rust inside bothers you.
Make sure your equipment (teapot, strainer, teacups, etc.) is sparkling clean. Even though you used that teapot only once to boil water, the mineral residue can very easily build up so you have to make sure that after each use you gently clean your tea accessories.
Using commercial soap products can leave a residue in the teapot and your other equipment. Instead, use white vinegar to clean with a spray bottle and hot water. Soaking equipment in white vinegar will help to remove any mineral deposits and restore the newness to silverware.
Use filtered water
Keep green green and black black
- First and foremost make sure your equipment (teapot, strainer, teacups, etc.) is sparkling clean. Even though you used that teapot once to boil water, the mineral residue can very easily build up so you have to make sure that after each use you gently clean your tea accessories with water and soap.
- Use fresh, filtered water. The kind of water you use greatly affects the taste of your tea. If your water tastes good then your tea will taste good too. Tap water tends to be full of chemicals and chlorine so if you have no choice but to use tap water, then make sure that you let your faucet run a few seconds before using.
- What is the right amount of water you should use? You should heat 6 ounces of water for each cup of tea you are brewing. The water temperature and the length of steeping time depend on the kind of tea you are preparing. Generally the larger the tea leaf the longer the steeping time.
Here is a steeping guide to help you:
– I prefer using loose tea leaves instead of an infuser since this way the leaves can fully open and release all their flavor. But I have to admit that tea infusers and such accessories are very convenient! You should use 1 teaspoon of tea leaves for each cup you are brewing. If you use teabags then you simply should use one teabag for every cup you are brewing. Make sure that your tea bags are fresh though because they tend to get stale easily.
– When you are done steeping your tea, remove your tea bag or infuser or use a strainer for the leaves. Pour it slowly in your favorite cup and let it cool for a moment. Sip slowly and enjoy its aroma! Make sure to make your tea drinking a unique experience each and every time!
So what are you waiting for? Go make yourself a cuppa tea!