How to Make the Perfect Cup of Tea
There’s an art to brewing the perfect cuppa – tea specialists, Yumchaa reveal their secrets
The second floor of the West Yard Market hosts one of Yumchaa’s London tea rooms: it’s a nice-smelling sanctuary made for sampling an exceptional brew.
What makes this tea so special? Yumchaa trades in loose leaves – bags are banned – and ‘free your tea’ is the company’s rally cry. Plus, when it comes to flavour Yumchaa has the whole spectrum covered: from classic blends to more innovative ones featuring fruit pieces, spices and edible flowers. They’re all yours for the tasting in the tea room, and Yumchaa’s Camden-located market stall also offers the opportunity to invest in a stash of tea to takeaway. Who better to consult about brewing the perfect cup of tea?
Start with loose leaf tea
Tea bags contain crushed leaf fragments. When tea leaves are crushed up, the essential oils and compounds evaporate – you’re left with tea dust! Loose leaf tea is different. The bigger leaves retain more of the essential oils that give tea its flavour. And because the leaves aren’t confined inside a tea bag they have space to swell, expand and unfurl which is an important part of the brewing process.
Use quality water
It sounds obvious, but tea is 99% water. So use filtered water when you make your tea, you’ll taste the difference.
Get the temperature right
Boiling water is fine if you’re after a traditional English breakfast, but if you’re making a green tea or a white tea you should never let the kettle boil. A lot of people think they don’t like green tea, but they just haven’t done it right! When you put boiling water on a more delicate tea it burns the leaves creating an astringent taste. Green tea should be brewed at 80 degrees celcius and white tea at 75 degrees celsius. If you’re in a hurry and the kettle’s already boiled, add a splash of cold water first.
Don’t over brew
Over brewing leads to the release of tannins and a bitter flavour. If you like your tea strong then add an extra teaspoon rather than brewing it for a longer amount of time. Stick to these brew times...
Black tea: 2-3 mins
White tea: 1-2 mins
Green tea: 2 mins
Herbal infusions: 2-4 mins
Top tip: give your tea a stir before pouring it out.
For more info about Yumchaa and where to find them, click here.