Want to become a tea drinker, but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry. Even the biggest tea connoisseurs had to start with the first cup. And it’s not that difficult at all.
How to Start Drinking Tea
For avid tea drinkers, tea is much more than just a simple infusion of herbs or tea bags in hot water. With thousands of flavors, shapes and colors, drinking tea may become much more than just regular daily drink. But that’s exactly why it may look scary too, especially if you are just starting out. If you feel you can’t recognize those delicate honey notes floating on top of a full-bodied chocolaty base, or light umami note infused into a deep and fresh vegetal flavor, don’t worry. It all comes with a practice and exploring as many types of tea as possible. The following steps may help you start your journey.
1. Choose the easiest way of brewing loose leaf tea
If you are new to tea, making a perfect cup may sound very complicated. Even scary, if you have decided to use loose leaf teas. You may feel that starting with tea bags is much easier. In fact, many avid tea drinkers make their first tea steps trying teas in tea bags. But tea bags may not be the best introduction into the world of tea, especially if you don’t follow brewing instructions. A cup of bitter tea may keep you away from tea for good. Some of them may only contain tea dust that will infuse into a strong, but flat cup. That’s why loose leaf tea is a better choice, and with a proper utensil it doesn’t need to be difficult to brew.
Although there are a lot of tea utensils and teaware that you can choose from, you won’t need neither the most expensive nor the most complicated one. Choose either a simple tea filter, a strainer or a simple teapot. You can use paper or cotton tea filters for brewing any loose leaf tea. If you plan to drink tea daily, invest in a proper tea infuser.
Or choose a teapot
Some teapots may make brewing tea very easy, but not all of them. For example, gaiwan may look exquisite and it will become a very important brewing vessel later in your tea journey. But in the beginning, a simple brewing mug or a smaller teapot with removable stainless steel strainer such as Japanese side-handled kyusu will be a better option. Why? Because they are easy to clean and you can use them for any type of tea, you want.
You will need something for boiling water too. If you don’t own a kettle and you are still not ready to invest into one, you can boil water on the stove. However, it’s extremely important to choose a clean saucepan.
Read more: How to make tea on the stove
Read more: How to use a Tea infuser
2. Choose teas that are easy to brew
Not all types of tea are easy to brew. Every tea will come with different brewing recommendation. You should never brew green tea with boiling water or it may become bitter. But some green teas may be more forgiving to brewing mistakes. For example, Japanese genmaicha or kukicha are less likely to become bitter than Japanese sencha. Next, Darjeeling black tea may be more difficult to brew than Assam black tea, and semi-ball shaped oolongs will usually be easier to master than twisted leaf Chinese Dan Cong oolong teas.
Read more: 3 Best Teas for Beginners
3. Learn how to brew tea
Although you don’t need to know all the rules for making every single type of tea, learning how to make the basic, but perfect, cup of tea is important. Always use freshly boiled, preferably spring water. Black and herbal teas will be the easiest to brew, followed by oolong and white tea. Green tea may prove to be more challenging. Always let water cool down after boiling for about 5 minutes before steeping green tea leaves.
4. Experiment with condiments
Although many passionate tea drinkers prefer to drink their tea with no condiments, it’s perfectly fine to add sweeteners and other condiments to your cup. In fact, in the beginning, unless you find your perfect type of tea, adding condiments such as lemon juice or milk may reduce bitterness of some tea and enhance the flavor.
Read more: 20 ways to make tea taste better
5. Choose flavored tea
If you are not used to flavor of pure tea, experimenting with flavored tea is a great way to start. Not only will they provide the same benefits as unflavored teas, but they may be a great and healthy alternative to sugary drinks. Flavored teas are mostly sugar-free.
Read more: How to replace soda with tea
6. Choose quality tea
While it may be tempting to buy the cheapest tea you can find, especially if you are not sure if you will like it or not, that’s rarely the best way to start drinking tea. Tea making is often an art, and difference between low and high quality tea can be enormous. Firstly, the cheapest type will usually be tea dust and fannings. They will brew into a stronger cup that may often be very bitter. Usually, the larger the leaf, the more refined the flavor will be. However, some teas need to be stronger than the others and they may have a very small broken leaves. But they too, should be of a high quality, for example, Simple Chai tea that should brew into a very flavorful and strong cup that you can drink with lots of milk and sugar.
7. Try different flavors
Not all teas will taste the same, no matter if they are flavored or not. That’s why trying different teas will be important if you want to start drink tea regularly. You don’t need to drink the tea you are not completely in love with. Subscription boxes are a great way to explore flavors and types before investing in a bigger pouch or tin.
Read more: How to choose the best subscription box