While reading this, you probably have a cup of tea in your hand! Since tea is intricately woven into our lives, each time it should be perfect. This beverage can be prepared with either loose-leaf or tea bags to make an awesome cup. Each household has its own ‘favourite’ way of preparing tea but everyone would agree that an awesome cup of tea is one that is a delightful blend and harmony of aroma, flavour, taste, and colour. We bring you some tips for using tea bags for that perfect cup of tea:
- Heat water to the right temperature (as mentioned on the pack of tea bags). When using tea bags to make a cup of tea, always steep them in the hot water for at least two minutes to enable optimum infusion. It is advisable to cover the cup or pot to retain the heat and flavour. Avoid stirring or prodding.
- Once the brewing is complete, it is recommended to remove the tea bags and allow the brew to cool slightly. The reduction in temperature would allow the mature and lively flavours to come through, offering that awesome cup of tea you deserve. This is true for brewing either in a teapot or a cup, using tea bags.
- If you wish to add a sweetener - honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, vanilla, or sugar (either white or brown) would add flavour.
Making an Awesome Cup of Tea Using Tea Bags
- Take cold fresh water (preferably distilled water – the quality of water does affect the taste of the tea). One cup of water is enough for a cup of tea. If you are brewing a larger number of cups, use the same amount of water and tea bags as the cups of tea.
- Bring this water to a slow boil
- Place your favourite tea bag in a cup and pour the hot water over it. Cover.
- Allow the tea bag to steep for at least 3 to 5 minutes such that the full flavour is released into the water
- Remove the tea bag (add sweetener if desired)
- Sit back, relax, and enjoy the goodness, taste, and health of your cup of tea.
For Green Tea
- Follow the steps mentioned above. The difference here is that once the water is boiled, allow it to cool and then pour it over the tea bags
- Pouring boiling water over green tea bags will ‘hurt’ the leaves, and release a bitter and astringent taste that is unpleasant
- Steep green tea bags for about a minute or two – green tea is delicate and steeping it too much brings out a harsh and unpalatable taste
- Remove the tea, sweeten (if desired), and enjoy the many health benefits of green tea from tea bags.
Refreshing Iced Tea Using Tea Bags
Depending on how soon you wish to consume it, you could use either cold water or hot water to steep the tea bags for preparing iced tea.
- Take double the required number of cups (for instance for 4 glasses of iced tea, take 8 glasses of water)
- Bring half the quantity of this water to a boil
- Place 4 tea bags in a pot and pour the hot water over it
- Allow to steep for 3 to 5 minutes. If you want a stronger flavour, you can allow steeping for a few more minutes
- Stir and remove the tea bags and pour this mixture into a glass pitcher and add the other cups of water
- Add ice cubes to individual glasses, serve the tea and enjoy
(You can make a single glass of iced tea the same way, using ingredients proportionately)
An Awesome Cup of Tea – Do Not Squeeze Tea Bags
Tea leaves contain polyphenols – a micronutrient present in a variety of fruits, vegetables, and plants. Tea also contains tannic acid, which elevates the level of polyphenols in tea. While polyphenols have anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties, high levels of tannins have their negative downsides. Squeezing the tea bags brings out bitterness since the liquid still inside the tea bags has a higher level of tannic acid, which does not steep out on its own. When the tea bag is squeezed, these tannic acids are released into the tea, creating a bitter, sour or acidic taste – all of which are unpalatable. Further, squeezing the tea bag could tear it and release the tea bags into the tea – you surely do not want tea leaves entering your mouth while trying to enjoy your tea! Overall, squeezing tea bags results in a cloudy appearance and a distasteful tea. Steep your tea, remove the tea bag and let it be – you will have an awesome cup of tea using tea bags.
Store Tea Bags Right for a Great Cup Each Time
A reputed brand would never sell loose tea bags placed in a box. A top-quality tea bag brand would always pack each tea bag individually and place these packets in a box. The reason for this is that once a tea bag is taken out from its outside wrapping, it easily picks up odours and the taste would most certainly be stale. Unwrap a tea bag only just before using it. Store the box of individually packed tea bags in a cool and dry place. Never store a box of tea bags in the refrigerator, since condensation will adversely affect the quality of the tea.
Tea bags are popular given the convenience and reduced ‘mess’ and time associated with brewing tea in the traditional way. Ensuring that you buy tea bags from a reputed brand, use the right water, and follow brewing instructions, will give you an awesome cup of tea each time. Remember that tea bags must be transparent, and large enough to allow free movement of the tea leaves. Tea is by far the healthiest beverage and keeping a stock of high-quality variety tea bags, will ensure that you can grab a cup when you want and get all the health benefits associated with it. Happy dipping!
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