How to Make the Perfect, Healthy Tea: A Guide for Tea Lovers
Teas are often called a healthy drink because of the many benefits they offer. They contain substances that experts link to lower risks of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Because of the growing number of tea drinkers, many variants of teas are now available in the market. Anyone has a variety of options to choose from, and they can prepare them in whatever way they like.
If you are a tea lover and want to maximize its power, here are some tips on how you can make the most out of your tea.
Step 1. Go for the true teas
True teas come from the leaves of a plant. They are black, green, white, and oolong teas. What makes them different from the herbal teas you know is their production process. For example, black teas are oxidized or exposed to air for a few hours before they got rolled and dried. The process deepens their color. For white and green teas, instead of oxidizing, they are steamed before the rolling and drying. Oolongs, on the other hand, are partially oxidized before they are dried.
A tea naturally has oil that gives them their flavor, and as time passes, this oil breaks down. If you want to choose the most potent tea, consider buying the fresh tea with the highest turnover rate.
Step 2. Prefer loose teas than tea bags
Loose teas mean they are the tea you make from dried, huge tea leaves, while teabags contain already powdered leaves. Generally, tea leaves need room to expand and release their flavors. Loose teas have bigger bags that leave them more place to flourish.
Step 3. Consider the water you use
Ideally, you use filtered tap water or spring water when making your tea. Either of these has the best mineral content enough to make your tea taste right. Using mineral water might alter the flavor of your tea because it contains several minerals. In case you prefer a flat-tasting brew, try using a mineral-free distilled water.
Step 4. Be mindful of the temperature when you boil
The water temperature helps in releasing compounds that give your tea the color and complexity it has. Here’s a little guideline for you:
- Boiling water (212 degrees Fahrenheit): For brewing black, herbal, or dark-colored oolong teas
- Cooler water (170 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit): For brewing green, white, and light-colored oolong teas
Step 5. Use the right amount of tea
How much tea leaves you put also affects the overall taste of your tea. Here’s a reference you can use:
- Teas with bigger leaves or flowers (such as green tea or chamomile) - Use 1.5 to 2 teaspoons per cup of water
- Teas with denser, compact leaves (such as black teas) - Use one teaspoon per cup of water
You should also consider how long you steep your tea leaves—soaking for longer than ideal can result in a bitter taste.
- Darker teas (black teas and darker oolongs) - Soak for three to five minutes
- Lighter teas (green, white, and lighter oolongs) - Soak for two to three minutes only because they are more delicate
Step 6. Drink it freshly brewed
According to Dr. Jeffrey Blumberg, a nutrition scientist and director of Tufts University’s Antioxidants Research Laboratory, flavonoids in teas are most potent when the tea is freshly brewed.
If you buy bottled tea or check the tea you made a few days ago, you’ll notice some particles submerged at the bottom of the bottle. Those are actual flavonoids that already precipitated. They can no longer function and give you the health benefits you are expecting. Some studies also showed that ready-made teas no longer contain any functioning flavonoids in them.
Optional: Store cold tea with lemon
If you prefer having a ready to drink cold tea in your refrigerator, consider adding a squeeze of lemon or lime juice to it. The citric acid and vitamin C of these fruits can help preserve some of the flavonoids.
There are many ways people drink their tea, and there’s no specific rule on how one should make it. However, if you want to get the best flavor and benefits from your tea, consider following our guide. Also, when buying a tea, make sure you check where it originated. It is better to choose a brand that states in its packaging the region where it was from.
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