Updated: May 27
People across the globe, especially the Britons, believe that a cup of tea can cure nearly everything. According to a study published, in the UK alone, people consume more than 165 million cups of tea in a single day! That’s quite a number, isn’t it? A powerful drink to kick start your day and a mandatory afternoon drink for soothing ourselves, tea is famously accompanied by cakes, biscuits, and other savouries. However, there is a grand version of consuming this simple, calming hot beverage and it comes with age-old custom and social rules surrounding the British etiquettes of tea.
With that said, are you drinking tea the right way? You might be wondering what the heck is wrong with how I consume my tea! Well, for you, it might be just another drink, but for tea lovers, you are insulting the privilege.
If you don’t take your tea seriously, this article is something worth paying attention to.
How to drink tea – because you are doing it wrong
First things first, you need to understand that all tea comes from the same “Camellia Sinensis” plant and there are only six kinds of tea. They include:
· Pu-erh tea
· Black tea
· Oolong tea
· Yellow tea
· Green tea
· White tea
Now, when you give the title ‘green tea’ or ‘oolong tea,’ you are, in fact, describing the process of how the tea is made or processed. It is important that you understand the difference.
It is a delicious brewed beverage enjoyed all across the globe as a comforting treat. Before you know how to drink tea, you need to choose the type of tea you want to drink. As we have already mentioned the six kinds of tea available, they all have different flavours and health benefits. Also, the way you prepare them is also different.
Know your tea
Black tea is a popular afternoon tea in which you are likely to dunk a biscuit in or add milk
to. It is the most common type of tea, and you will find it in every household. Black tea is known for its caffeine content (highest level all teas). And this is the reason why it is consumed as an ‘afternoon pick me up’ beverage.
White tea is processed using the young buds of the Camellia Sinensis plant. Unlike black tea, white tea is left to wither naturally. White tea is known for its antioxidant-rich properties. The way it is processed makes it a bit more expensive than other teas. According to tea lovers, the taste of white tea is ‘delicate and mild.’ It is a healthy beverage that people love drinking.
Green tea is globally renowned for its detox properties. It is processed using fresh leaves that are steamed without being fermented. Green tea has been linked to decreased blood pressure and weight loss. most people don’t like green tea and describe its taste as ‘cow poo.’ Well, boy, you are only preparing it wrong!
Oolong tea is similar to black tea; however, it goes through a shorter fermentation process. You can say it is a mix of black and green tea. Oolong tea has links to improved skin and weight loss.
Pu-erh tea is processed in two stages. In the first stage, the leaves are prepared similar to green tea (without fermentation). In the second stage, the steamed leaves undergo fermentation followed by prolonged storage. Pu-erh tea tastes stale and smells musty. It is known for improving sharp thinking and mental alertness.
Yellow tea is a rare, expensive variety that gained immense popularity due to its delicious, silky taste. It is processed similar to green tea; however, it undergoes another procedure called ‘sealed yellowing’ where the tea is encased and steamed. Yellow tea is much less studied but recent research suggests it has many health benefits.
There is another variety of tea called ‘herbal tea.’ However, they aren’t technically tea since they don’t have any tea in them. Herbal tea is made from bark, seeds, plant leaves, and flowers. People who can’t tolerate caffeine prefer herbal tea as a delicious warm beverage.
How to drink tea - with water
When you are drinking tea with water, it is important that you understand the water temperature. This is because different kinds of tea taste better at different water temperature. That is:
· For white tea, the water temperature should be around 65°C-75°C
· For green tea, the water temperature should be around 75°C-85°C
· For black tea, the water temperature should be around 85°C-95°C
· For infusions (a mixture of two or more teas), the water temperature should be around 95°C-100°C
Directions: preparing a cup of tea with water
· Always use filtered water to make tea
· Based on the tea you want to drink, boil the water to the right temperature (use an electric kettle with temperature setting - recommended)
· Use one heaped teaspoon of tea
· Steep for the correct amount of time – say 3-5 minutes based on the tea you are having
· Warm the teapot by pouring some hot water. Swirl the hot water around the teapot and throw out the water
· Strain the leaves and pour the tea in a teapot
One of the popular ways to consume tea is with milk. Black tea is the most preferred type of tea to consume with milk. Black tea can brew in milk properly and gives a different flavour and experience.
Directions: preparing a cup of tea with milk
· Take a small pot and pour one cup of milk
· Add one teaspoon of black tea directly to the milk
· Add crushed ginger, cardamom, and cloves into the milk
· Add some sugar
· Let it boil
· Once boiled, lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes
· Strain and enjoy your tea with milk!
It is important to protect the freshness, flavour, and goodness in tea. So, transfer the tea into an airtight, dry, clean, and odour-free container (preferably glass) and store it in a dry, cool place. Always buy tea that is made in the artisanal, traditional way and packed at the source.