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Water: One of the most important points is also one of the most fundamental: Pay attention to water quality. Select the best-tasting water possible, and heat only cold, fresh water.

Temperature: Water temperature is another key factor, especially when preparing green and white teas, which can turn bitter quickly when steeped in water that is too hot. For those varieties, heat water to a temperature between 160 and 180 degrees F. Black tea needs boiling water to bring out the robust flavor of the leaves.

Time: The taste and aroma of your tea — and the amounts of antioxidants and caffeine it contains — are determined by how long the leaves remain in the water. Green and white teas should be steeped for three minutes or less. Black tea usually needs three to five minutes, but shorter infusion times may produce a milder, less caffeinated cup. Multiple infusions will bring out different flavor profiles.

Equipment: When preparing whole-leaf teas, infuse with a device (such as a pot with integral screen, or a large tea filter or ball) that provides space for the leaves to fully unfurl.

This was excerpted from “A World of Teas” which was published in the April 2022 issue of Experience Life magazine.

Robert
Robert Hanson

Robert Hanson is a food and travel writer based in Southern California.

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