Steep Perks: Why Drinking Tea Is Good for Your Health
Making the perfect cup takes practice. That's why Bruce Richardson, the author of more than a dozen books about the beverage, holds classes regularly. Fresh, loose leaves yield the most health benefits and flavor (though tea bags will do in a pinch), and different types of teas require different methods.Water Temp
"The lighter the tea, the cooler the water should be," Richardson says.
White: 155° That's way off of boiling temp, which is 212°. Let the water rest for three minutes before you pour.
Green: 165° After boiling, let the water rest for two minutes before pouring.
Oolong: 200° Get the water close to a boil before pouring, or let it rest for a minute after boiling.
Black/Herbal: 212° No resting.Steeping Time
While each tea has a specific steeping time, the three- to five-minute range is a safe guideline for all of them (stay closer to three with tea bags, which steep more quickly than loose leaves). If you oversteep, dilute the tea with a little water to make it more palatable.Iced Tea
Don't use hot water, which creates chemical reactions that change the flavor slightly. To cold-infuse, put tea leaves in a bottle of water (one teaspoon of fresh leaves or one bag for every six ounces of water), then refrigerate for a couple of hours. Screw on a filter cap, like the TeaSpot Steep & Go ($10, amazon.com), and sip away. Making a pitcher? Add four teaspoons of loose leaves or four two-gram bags per quart of water and chill for eight to 12 hours. "You can also put leftover hot tea over ice to drink later," Richardson says. Finish it within 24 hours; after that, the antioxidants start to dissipate.
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