There is a right tea for everyone. Unless you were born into a family of tea drinkers, there is a chance your first cup of real tea wasn’t as tasty as you might have expected. This could happen for several reasons. Some types are an acquired taste, and some require an extra patience to get them right.
Whichever your reasons for wanting to drink (more) tea might be, our tips may help you not only to start drinking it, but to fell in love with it too.
How to start drinking tea
Sometimes “buy it, brew it, drink it” won’t end in falling in love with tea. Years of drinking tea and exploring different flavors is the best way to discover which type you like the most. Knowing which herbal teas you like is much easier than knowing which real tea type you prefer. In fact, you may guess the flavor of chamomile tea, but it’s very difficult to guess the flavor of green or black tea that you didn’t try before. Subscription boxes are a great way to test a few dozen of different teas per year, bringing you closer to your perfect tea match.
Find the tea blends you love
Even though each real tea type (white, yellow, green, oolong, black and dark) has a set of unique benefits and characteristics, they are all made from the same plant. Therefore, they will have many things in common too. Don’t feel discouraged if you don’t like green tea at all, but would like to enjoy the benefits of green tea antioxidants. Oolong and white tea have them too. Besides, there are hundreds of different green tea types and it’s possible to find the flavor you will really enjoy.
Start with teas that are easy to brew
Some teas are easier to brew than the others. Flavored blends are usually perfect for western style brewing and may handle wrong temperatures much better than pure tea. If you’d prefer to drink pure tea instead, choose those that are not bitter. Formosa oolong tea is a wonderful dark oolong that doesn’t get bitter when over-brewed and may be a good choice for black tea drinkers. On the other hand, Ti Kwan Yin will be more liked by green tea drinkers. Both can handle high temperatures and longer steeping time.
Read more: Best green tea for beginners
Don’t judge dry tea leaves by their scent
Smelling new tea leaves for the first time can be an unforgettable experience. But it can also put you off from buying or trying new tea. It’s very rare to find teas whose scent and flavor match 100%. Some teas have very little scent in dry form, but as soon as you place them in a heated teapot, they will open a door into a whole new world.
Make it a habit
Make tea drinking a ritual and create a habit. By investing into a proper teaware you will be more likely to enjoy the whole process and dedicate time to drink tea every day. If possible, take your favorite teas, mug and some tea filters to office and create a habit of slowly sipping the tea.
Drinking tea is about having fun too. Tea has been an important social drink for centuries. If you absolutely do not like the tea you are brewing, but don’t want to throw it away, try the following tips.
How to Enjoy Tea: 10 Brewing Tips
1. Experiment with water types
Switch from a regular tap water to spring water. Tap water can make tea murky and ruin the flavor, while distilled water is likely to make it too flat. Try different types of bottled spring water and see which one gives the best result.
2. Experiment with water/leaf ratio
Adding more leaves will make a stronger cup. It’s usually better to use more than less to avoid very weak unenjoyable flavor.
3. Experiment with water temperature
Some teas can handle very high temperatures, and some like gyokuro should be made with 122 °F. If you are not sure about the right temperature, use lower, rather than a higher temperature.
4. Experiment with steep time
The longer you leave the leaves in water, the more nutrients they will release. This is not always a good thing. Some of them cause bitterness and astringency. Try using shorter steeping time and re-steep the leaves. Or, you may want to increase the steeping time if you prefer stronger blends and the tea you have is too weak for your taste.
5. Try different styles of brewing
Some teas are better if you brew them using western technique, and some taste better brewed eastern style. Try both and see which one you prefer. Flavored teas are perfect for western brewing, while pure teas, especially Chinese, Japanese and Taiwanese, might give a much better infusion if you use a multiple-steeping technique.
6. Add milk, honey or lemon
Many tea drinkers prefer drinking tea without any milk or sugar. However, you may find some teas more enjoyable with adding a bit of milk or lemon. Afternoon Tea and English Breakfast tea are blends that are almost exclusively drank with milk. On the other hand, first flush Darjeeling should be enjoyed pure. A bit of lemon with bitter green tea can fix any cup. Some green and white teas can be very delicate, and should mostly be enjoyed pure. If you find the taste too weak, increase the amount of leaves.
7. Make it into a latte
Chinese gunpowder is an amazing tea to use an example. It’s the type of tea not every tea lover enjoys, because it’s stronger, a bit smokey and bolder than a cup of regular delicate green tea. And this is exactly why Gunpowder is an amazing type for making a delicious latte. In fact, it’s one of rare green teas suitable for making milk tea. By brewing the leaves in the water for 20-30 minutes you will be able to extract much more nutrients including caffeine, EGCg and chlorophyll than with regular brewing. Besides, by adding a pinch of baking soda and a cup of cold water, you will be able to enjoy a unique pink tea.
8. Make your own blend
Flavors of pure tea can be enhanced by scenting or flavoring. You can do this on your own too. Maybe you want to enjoy pu’erh because of its unique benefits, but cannot get used to the taste. Try adding rose petals or even blending it with the fruit blend you enjoy.
9. Avoid very cold or very hot tea
All teas change flavor when they cool down. Drink tea when it’s still hot enough to offer the best drinking experience, but cool enough not to burn you. Science say that the optimal drinking temperature might be around 60 degrees Celsius.
10. Cold brew it
The best thing you can do with the tea you absolutely do not enjoy is to cold brew it. Pour about 1-1.5 liters of lukewarm water over 1-2 spoons of tea leaves and steep overnight in the fridge. It might surprise you with a completely new flavor profile and no bitterness at all.