The three T's
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When you’re brewing good tea, you need to get the best from the leaf. Follow these three golden rules - or what we call, the three T’s.
It's crucial to get the best ratio of leaf-to-water. Using more tea leaves will obviously mean a stronger flavour, but if you use too much leaf it will over-extract in a very short time. On the other hand, too little leaf will give you an insipid, weak infusion. For best results weigh out the leaves, or alternatively, use a tea scoop as long as the dose is accurate and consistent.
The temperature of the water you pour over your tea leaves can make or break the quality of your infusion.
Compounds in tea dissolve at different temperatures. At high temperatures you will extract the more bitter-tasting compounds such as polyphenols and caffeine. Green and lightly oxidised teas tend to be higher in polyphenols, which means they should be brewed at a lower temperature to draw out the delicate flavour notes and avoid dissolving the strong bitter compounds. Black and heavily oxidised teas should be brewed at higher temperatures to extract the full range of flavours.
The simplest and most reliable method is to invest in a temperature-controlled boiler or kettle, though a thermometer will always do the trick.
Most people have experienced a strong, over-extracted and disappointing cup of tea. The amount of time you allow the tea leaves to steep before removing them from the tea liquor will make the difference between a beautifully bright, delicate and satisfying tea – and something quite undrinkable.
The longer the leaves steep, the more compounds are dissolved. Separating the leaf from the liquor too soon and the tea is weak and under-extracted, whereas leaving them to steep for too long will result in bitterness and over-extraction.
It doesn't start with a T so we'll slip it in at the end BUT given water is at least 98% of the final infusion, the quality and mineral composition of the water used will significantly affect the flavour of the tea. Unless you’re using water straight from a bubbling spring where the tea is grown, it should be freshly drawn (i.e. straight from the tap) and filtered (BRITA is good). We recommend using a re-mineralising filter such as a BWT Bestmax.
Each tea has its own individual brewing recommendations, which are provided by Canton on every one of our labels. But below is a simple general guide for brewing an individual 250ml serving.