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What is the Best Way to Make Tea?

Using a teabag to steep tea is a very common method of preparation.
A tea infuser is useful when using loose tea leaves as they are easy to discard when the tea is ready.
A tea pot.
Some people prefer to make tea using only boiled water.
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  • Written By: K. Waterman
  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Last Modified Date: 31 March 2014
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Tea is made by combining the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant with hot water, letting the mixture soak or steep, then removing the leaves to leave a clear, flavored liquid.  It can be sipped hot or served cold over ice, but both types start with hot water and tea leaves. The leaves can be prepared in many different ways, and they can be used fresh or dried.  The flavor of the final product can also be controlled by the amount of time that they are allowed to soak in the hot water.

There are a few different ways of steeping leaves in hot water to make tea.  The leaves can be put directly into a cup or pot of hot water, left to brew until the desired potency is achieved, and then strained out leaving a hot cup of the beverage.  For medium to strong flavored tea, the leaves need to steep for at least three to five minutes.  If the leaves are left in the water for too long, however, the drink may become bitter.

Ball-shaped, stainless steel strainers can also be used to contain the leaves while they are dropped into the hot water.  The ball is removed when the drink is ready, and the leaves can then be discarded.  Pre-measured and packaged paper filters containing leaves are readily available at all grocery stores to simplify the process.  These tea bags can be used once and then thrown away.

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Most experts agree that in order to make a really good cup of tea, individuals must always start with fresh, cold water.  Some even recommend using only distilled or bottled water.  The water should then be heated to a rolling boil and then taken off of the heat source. This is because the longer water boils, the more oxygen goes out of it, and tea generally gets the best flavor when made with water with a lot of oxygen in it.  Allowing the water to swirl freely around the leaves, rather than using bags, seems to extract the most flavor thereby creating the best cup possible.

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Discuss this Article

clippers
Post 26

My mom used to make sun tea all the time and I loved it.

But someone recently told me that it was unsafe, that the tea could develop bacteria under the right conditions.

Has anyone ever had trouble with sun tea? I never got sick from it.

whiteplane
Post 25

Probably the easiest way to make tea is just to cold brew it. Put a few tea bags in some water in your refrigerated and leave it overnight and in the morning you have all the delicious iced tea you want.

kylee07drg
Post 24

@DylanB – Yes, and it's great if you are in a hurry. I make a cup of spicy chai tea every night using the microwave.

I pour a cup of hot water into a tempered glass measuring cup. It's microwave safe, so it can handle the high temperature. I leave it in there until the water boils, which takes about a minute and a half in my microwave.

I then remove it and pour it onto a tea bag inside my cup. I place a lid over the cup and let it steep for ten minutes. The lid traps the steam and results in a richer flavor.

Some people make chai tea with milk, but it's not good to boil milk, so I just use water and then add a splash of milk after it has steeped. I then squirt a little honey into it for sweetness. The milk and honey bring down the intensity of the spice a little, making it perfect for a light night calming drink.

DylanB
Post 23

How do you make tea in the microwave? Is this even possible?

Perdido
Post 22

@lighth0se33 – Strainer balls can let pieces of material through, too. I suppose if your leaves are large enough, you will be safe, but I tried making cinnamon tea with one of these balls and wound up with a cup full of dregs!

I cut a cinnamon stick into smaller pieces and crammed them into the ball. Some bits that had chipped off were so small that they fit through the holes in the mesh.

I didn't discover them until I drank a mouthful. It was a very bitter experience, and now, I only make cinnamon tea if I have it in a paper tea bag.

lighth0se33
Post 21

I've never knew how to make loose tea. I was always afraid that I wouldn't be able to strain all the bits of leaves out of the water, and I hate accidentally getting bitter leaves in my mouth.

So, I've always used a strainer ball. It is mesh, so it has holes on all sides. It shuts with a clasp and has a metal chain you can pull it up by, so it's fairly secure and easy to remove.

anon139486
Post 19

5-7 oz water

1 bag / 1tb loose

5 mins rolling boil

simmer milk to taste, sugar in cup.

anon123549
Post 18

Squeezing or not squeezing a tea bag is irrelevant. Bag tea is such a low grade of tea that it doesn't matter.

anon120773
Post 17

anon81217 said all teas come from the same plant - They are wrong. There are many types of plants that are used for tea. True, camelia sinesis produces the most amount of tea strains. But, don't forget some of the more unusual ones like peppermint, aniseed, ginger and rooibus.

anon97297
Post 15

I have gone to many different websites about tea and I do not remember anyone telling you to not squeeze the teas bags. This is the most important step. This absolutely ruins the tea when you squeeze the teabag.

anon87843
Post 14

i like tea with honest syrup, with poms.

anon81217
Post 11

all teas are from the same plant. it's how they are processed.

anon50163
Post 9

Get your mum/dad to make it, best and easiest way m'dears ;) love to all the tea drinkers out there.

anon12193
Post 7

One tea bag between every two people plus one for the pot. I earned my tea making badge in the boy scouts and this is how we were told to do it. And I'm English so I should know everything about tea!! Squeeze and stir, squeeze and stir.

anon9081
Post 6

Er.. I don't like using tea bags. :)

anon7062
Post 5

What is the best way to make tea?! -with love- =D

anon4620
Post 4

what are the tea leaves?

anon4220
Post 3

You forgot to mention to PLEASE DO NOT SQUEEZE THE TEA BAGS. This makes the tea bitter.

Dayton
Post 2

Actually, the water/tea leaves ratio can change quite a bit from one kind to another. Best to read the label on your tea and see what they recommend. Just like all cooking, though, follow the recipe once, then feel free to adjust to taste!

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