img right 370x288The Perfect Cup of Tea

No matter how expensive the tea you buy, if you brew it wrong, it's awful.

This is a lesson many beginners learn the hard way. Many people who claim they "don't like the taste" were actually repelled by an incorrectly brewed cup of tea. This can create a terrible misconception that can last a lifetime.

There are easy ways to steep the perfect cup. The trick to steeping tea correctly comes in five parts: water, weight, temperature, time and equipment.

Water

Perfect water isn't necessary, but if your water "tastes funny", so will your tea. If your water tastes great, you should be in pretty good shape. 

At home, you can use a simple carbon filter water pitcher to remove extra minerals, as well as any contaminants like chlorine. Water that is too hard will give you a harsh brew. Water that is too soft will not extract enough of the polyphenols that deliver astringency, health benefits AND taste and you'll have a weak, muddy cup.

Fresh water is also best. When water boils, oxygen is released. The Chinese call water that has been boiled "dead water". You can't get the best cup of tea from water that has been repeatedly re-boiled.

Weight

Using too much tea will make your tea bitter. Too little tea will bring a weak cup. The volume that is considered the "golden ratio" of leaves to water is one teaspoon of most tea leaves (approx. 3 grams) per 8 ounce cup of water. Please note this is for a traditional 8 ounce cup. Most mugs are around 10 to 12 ounces. Here's where it gets a little complicated. A large, open leaf tea like a White tea or some Oolongs may require two or more teaspoons to equal 3 grams. Broken or tightly rolled teas like Gunpowder may pack significantly more into a single teaspoon. At the end of the day, perfection is less important than keeping an eye on the leaf size and adjusting based on your taste preferences.

Temperature

The ideal temperature depends on the tea. Use boiling water (212F) when preparing Black, dark Oolong and Herbal teas. These teas are tough, they can take the burn, and even require it in order to break down the leaf and release the flavor. However, it's important to use cooler water when steeping more delicate teas, such as Green, green Oolong and White teas.

Water that is too hot will cause a delicate tea to taste overly bitter or astringent. Water that is too cool will cause a tea to taste flavorless and weak. If you don't have a thermometer or a kettle that lets you gauge temperature, you'll typically find that boiling water that is allowed to sit for 5 minutes will have dropped to roughly 180F.

Time

They say that "time heals all wounds." However, it also makes some teas turn bitter. The rule of thumb is 3-5 minutes for most black teas (depending on your preference for strength) - any longer, and they'll become overly astringent and puckery.

Oolong and dark teas, on the other hand, are much more forgiving. These teas will taste best when steeped for 3-5 minutes but will still be drinkable if steeped a little longer. For light Oolong and green teas, a little TLC must be employed, steeping for only 2 minutes - 3 minutes, if you're looking for a strong cup.

Equipment

The proper equipment is also very important in the steeping process. When hot water is added, tea leaves can unfurl up to 5 times their dry size.

To make a great tea you need to give your leaves some room. If using an infuser basket, use as broad and deep of a basket as possible for the pot or cup you're brewing.

Commercial tea bags are not recommended, due to inadequate expansion room and low quality tea. Buy the best that is within your budget. It will make a noticeable difference.

The perfect cup of tea is out there... just brew it.

Fall Clearance Tea Sale!

On sale, while quantities last!  $3.50 per ounce.  In-store purchase only.

 Assam Harmony     Rooibos Bonita
 Earl Grey Bravo    Decaf Ceylon
 Jasmine Chun Hao       Decaf Mango
 White Blueberry    Decaf Strawberry
 White Tangerine    Honeybush Mango
 Rooibos Passion     
 Rooibos Blueberry    

New Teas at Tea Canal!

New additions to the tea selections or back for the fall!

 Hojicha     Yuletide Toddy  
 Spearmint    Cinnamon
 Rose Hips    
 Fiery Cinnamon Spice       Pu Erh Tahiti
 Bonfire    Autumn Mist
 Mocha Nut Yerba    Cruz de Malta Yerba Mate

 

Etiquette Class sm

 

Tea Canal & Stepping into Etiquette would like to invite you and your child to our Holiday Etiquette Workshop!

Spend the afternoon learning how to be a happy host and gracious guest, gift giving and receiving, writing thank you notes, and introductions. Attendees will sip on tea and munch on delicious pastries, all while learning the ins and out of proper table etiquette and holiday manners.

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn lifelong skills taught by certified etiquette teacher, Leontina Richardson from Stepping into Etiquette

Leontina Richardson is an author, speaker and certified corporate etiquette and international protocol consultant. She has appeared on CBS Chicago Channel 2 News, ABC 7 Chicago, and featured in the Chicago Tribune.

For: Children aged 7 - 13 yrs   Parents are invited and strongly encouraged to attend!

Date: Sunday, November 18th Time: 1-3pm

Cost:  $35.00 per person

Register for the class today!

WESOS Witches Brew

Witches and warlocks of all ages are welcome to this Spook-tacular event for witch's brew and assorted autumnal treats.

We will be nibbling on a menu that includes fresh baked scones, cookies, tea sandwiches, and pastries. Card and tea leaf readers will be on hand to point your way clearly into the future. Witches and wizards encouraged to dress in full All Hallows’ Eve regalia for this very special occasion.

** A gluten sensitive menu is available. While all effort will be made to avoid cross contamination by preparing food in separate areas with separate utensils, those with a serious allergic reaction are not guaranteed that contamination will not occur. **

This event benefits the WESOS Foundation, a recognized 501(c)3 charitable foundation . Your receipt is proof of your donation. Please consult your tax professional as to the deductible status of your gift.     Click here to purchase tickets!

Tasseology: The art of Reading Tea Leaves

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