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Every tea is different. Some are fermented, some not, some shade grown, some not. Some rolled, some not. The length of steaming, roasting and the parts of the plant used are all different. Yet too often, tea leaves, no matter what their provenance, are “boiled alive” in too hot water or drowned in an inappropriate amount of the same liquid. Since we want you to enjoy these teas to their full potential, we’ve included a few hints to help you create a memorable cup of tea .

General Brewing tips:

  1. Use quickly – once opened from it’s packaging, green tea oxidises quickly. Therefore do not have it lying around for months at the back of the cupboard. But if you do…
  2. Secure storage – store tea in an airtight container in a cool dry dark location such as a refrigerator.
  3. Sweet water – tea is leaves in hot water, so why waste great tea in bad water? Soft water is best and it’s worth trying different kinds – without too much calcium or minerals.
  4. Correct temperature –The first steeping should be less hot to draw out the sweetness of the theanines, the second should be hotter to draw out the astringency of the tannins
  5. Balance – because of the above factors it is important to evenly distribute the tea among several cups. Fill a little of half the tea into each cup before the second pass.
  6. Don’t overuse – the benefits of tea leaves are most concentrated in the first two steepings. After this it falls away. It is better to use fresh leaves than reuse the same ones five times.
  7. Select the right pot – Japanese kyusu are perfectly designed for this job: smaller and lighter for high grade teas such as gyokuro and sencha. Heavier and larger ones which retain heat better for bancha and hojicha.
  8. Select the right cup – delicate porcelain for the higher grade teas, with a white or light colour to show off the colour. Heavier earthenware cups for the regular teas. Glass for iced drinks.
  9. Look after the tools – Always clear the pots of the leaves with soft water, never detergent, and leave to dry between infusions.
  10. Final hints – warm the pot before brewing with hot water; swirl the pot while brewing to release the tea; pour out all the infusion as any remaining in the pot will become bitter.