Equipment Needed for Proper Tea Brewing
To brew a good cup of tea, you need the right equipment. A proper tea kettle is a must. Try to find a good one with a sturdy bottom that will heat the water evenly without scorching. Cheaper tea kettles are made from lightweight metal that warps with repeated use, so they are generally a waste of money. Another helpful item to have is a good set of tea strainers. They come in various shapes and sizes, but most of them are round with a chain attached to them for easy handling. Find some with good clasps for the center hull, so it can be opened and closed without much hassle. Each serving of tea leaves can be put inside a strainer and easily be taken out after the tea is brewed. Otherwise, a person must use a spoon to scoop them out inefficiently. Many tea leaves are lost this way. Lastly, you will need a heat-resistant serving tray large enough to hold your tea kettle, container of tea leaves, and several tea cups. This will help you carry it all to a table setting with ease.
Methods of Heating Water for Tea
The methods of heating the water to brew loose leaf tea vary depending on how much a person wants to drink and how many people in total will be drinking together. Some people cheat by microwaving a cup of water, and this is fine on occasion, but nothing beats the sound of a tea kettle simmering on the stove. Heating water by a tea kettle allows the temperature to be more easily controlled as well. In fact, it helps for a person who is just starting out in learning how to brew tea to have a cooking thermometer handy. The perfect cup of this special tea should be served at between 180-190 degrees Fahrenheit. Using water any hotter than this can destroy the beneficial properties and the flavor.
Measuring Tea Leaves
While the water is heating up, you can get the loose leaf green tea leaves ready. It takes about a pinch of them for each person's cup. Measure the tea into a small bowl, and set it aside. It doesn't go directly into the cups because they must be warmed first. Add an extra pinch or two in case a person wants another cup. For brewing larger quantities of tea for a group of guests, you can measure by the spoonful instead. It takes about one tablespoon for each 16 ounces of water used, but you can adjust this amount depending on how strong that you want your tea to be. Most tea kettles hold a little more water than this amount though.
Serving the Tea
After the water is heated, pour some in each tea cup. Discard any extra water that you don't need. Then, pour all of the water back into the tea kettle. This extra step is done to warm the tea cups and transfer some of the heat of the water, so it will cool down a little more. Add the pinch of tea leaves to each cup, and pour the water back into the cups again. Let the tea sit for a minute before straining the tea leaves out. Don't throw them away though. Loose leaf green tea leaves can be used for up to three times in a row. Only reuse them if you will be enjoying more tea within the hour though. Never try to save them for any longer than this. Now, you can finally serve the tea. Though this type of tea is known infamously as a diet tea, it tastes wonderful when it is served with small bite-size treats that aren't too fussy. Shortbread cookies, cucumber sandwiches, or miniature scones are all light enough to work well with its subtle flavor.