How to Properly Brew a Pot of Tea?
Three Important Factors for Brewing Tea
(1) Quantity of tea leaves: What is the proper amount of tea leaves to be placed in the teapot? If the leaves are loosely rolled, a larger volume is required than if the leaves are tightly rolled. For Dongding Oolong Tea a small teapot should be filled to about 1/6 capacity. The tea leaves will expand as they brew. Thus, if too many leaves are used, the teapot will be over-stuffed and the leaves won't be able to open fully. This results in a less than optimal brew. The leaves should fully expand to loosely fill the teapot to about 90% capacity.
(2) Water temperature: Is it best to use boiling hot water to brew tea? The answer is not always. The temperature of the water should depend on the kind of tea being brewed. In general, there are three levels of temperature to be considered: 1. The water should be above 90 degrees Celsius for leaves that are tightly rolled. 2. The water should be between 80 and 90 degrees Celsius for tea leaves that are small or crumbled. 3. The water temperature should be below 80 degrees Celsius for green teas.
(3) Brewing time: The most important factor for determining the concentration of the tea is the brewing time. For Dongding Oolong Tea, the first three brews should be about 50 seconds each. For each successive brew，add about 15 seconds. With patience and attention, you will become familiar with the nature of different teas，and their appropriate brewing times，and naturally become adept at producing an optimal brew. In the meantime, you can use a watch to time the brew. But, when you are brewing tea for guests, remain casually aware of the time, so as not to distract your guests from the tranquility of the ceremony.
- 1.Positioning of Teaware and Tea Utensils
Inspect the teaware. The spout of the teapot should be at a 45-degree angle to the tea tray.
- 2.Warming the Teapot and Drinking Cups
While waiting for the water to boil, fill the teapot to about 70% capacity with the warm water. Then, pour the warm water from the teapot into the drinking cups. It is best to brew tea and to serve tea in warmed pot and cups for better release of tea aroma and flavor.
- 3.Placing the Tea Leaves
Gently scoop leaves from the tea jar. Then, level off the tea leaves on the scoop and check the quantity. Use enough to fill the teapot to about 1/6 capacity. For loosely rolled tea leaves, more may be needed. For crumbled leaves, use less. Maintaining an appropriate amount will help to ensure that the characteristic flavor of the tea is produced.
- 4.Warming Brew
The warming brew wakes the tea leaves eliminates any blunt flavor due to roasting, thus allowing the true taste of the tea to emerge.
Proper use of the tea towel-
Every time you pour tea, use the tea towel to wipe the teapot and the bottoms of the tea cups to ensure that the brewing process remains clean and neat.
- 5.Proper Use of theTea Pitcher
Place the tea from the warming brew into the tea pitcher. The uses of the tea pitcher are:
1. To mix brews.
2. To allow any tea sediment to settle,
3. To prevent overbrewing. When pouring tea from the tea pitcher move from right to left.
The last cup on the left is for the tea server.
- 6.First Brew
Pour the boiled water into the teapot. Be careful not to ； overfill the teapot to avoid spillage when replacing the lid. j Fill to about 90% capacity.
- 7.Preserving the Quality of the Teapot
In Chinese tea culture, a teapot is an instrument to be cultivated over a lifetime. Its value increases with use, as it develops a luster and is said to enhance the flavor of the tea brewed in it. The warming brew can be poured over the teapot to "cure" it, and to add to the interest of the ceremony.
- 8.Pouring the Tea
For the first three brews, brewing time should be about 50 seconds each. For each successive brew, add about 15 seconds. Dispense the tea into the pitcher, and then into the aromatic cups, moving from right to left.
- 9.Presenting the Tea
Pour out the hot water from the drinking cups into the tea bowl. Then, place the empty cups on the guests' coasters, working from right to left, leaving the last cup on the left for yourself. Place the aromatic cups one by one, starting from the right and working to the left, at the right of each of the guests. This makes it convenient for guests to pour the tea into their drinking cup.
- 10.Smelling and Tasting
Smelling the tea: Pour the tea from the aromatic cup into the drinking cup. Then, lift the empty aromatic cup to your nose to enjoy the lingering aroma. Drinking the tea: The tea should be slowly sipped to fully experience the combination of aroma and flavor.
Before each round of tea serving, retrieve the aromatic cups, by first placing yours at the far left. This action cues the guests that another round of tea is to be served. Then, fill the aromatic cups and return them to the guests1 coasters.
Alternatively, the server can pour the tea directly into the aromatic cups without retrieving them, using the tea pitcher.
- 12.Ending the Tea Tasting
Once the brewed tea becomes light in flavor and aroma (at least six brews for Dongding Oolong Tea), begin to retrieve the cups. First, place your aromatic cup to the far left and retrieve the drinking cups and coasters in order from right to left.
- 13.Scalding the Cups
For efficient cleaning and to remove tea stains, rinse the aromatic cups and drinking cups with scalding hot water and return them to their proper place.
- 14.Cleaning the Teapot
Before removing the used tea leaves, place the teapot and tea pitcher to the left of the tea tray and place the tea bowl in the center. That way you can use your left hand to hold the teapot and your right hand to remove the used tea leaves.
- 15.Rinsing theTeaware
Use boiled water to rinse out the teapot and tea pitcher.
- 16.Completing the Tea Ceremony
Pour the water used to rinse the teapot and tea pitcher into the container for used tea leaves and return the teaware to its proper position.