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Tea Brewing 101

Updated: May 20

THE BOON TEA EXPERIENCE


You’ve picked up a canister of White Peony and a pouch of Ancient Phoenix and added a lovely Gaiwan and Teacup & Saucer set from our Blossom collection to your shopping basket. Now what? How do you begin your beautiful journey and exploration of tea brewing and tasting?

1. HEATING VESSELS

Preparing your vessels prior to tea brewing is a critical part of the process. In traditional tea brewing, the golden trio is often used. This includes a pot, a decanter/pitcher, and a cup (or cups if you are serving multiple guests).


Firstly, pour boiling water into your choice of pot about half full. Then, gently rotate the pot in a circular motion to ensure the water touches every part of the pot’s interior. If you’re using a Gaiwan, make sure you have enough water in your bowl so that when you insert the lid in sideways and vertically, the edges of the lid are slightly submerged in the hot water. To ensure the whole circular edge of the lid is heated up equally, rotate the lid like you would a cartwheel in a forward motion.



Once your pot has been heated up, pour the water into the pitcher. Swirl the water around, and lastly, pour into your cup(s) and discard the rest of the water, if any.

There are many reasons that this step is important:


i. The water heats up all the vessels your tea will be in contact with, which reduces the amount of heat that is lost during the process of pouring the tea liquor between the vessels


ii. Sanitizes and cleans out any residues from previous infusions


REMINDER: the water in your teacup(s) would keep the vessel warm while you prepare for the next step of the process. But remember, this water is not for drinking! Once you have the first infusion of your tea ready, discard the water in your teacup before pouring in your freshly brewed tea to taste.



2. LEAF EXERTION

It is customary in traditional tea brewing to first exert the leaves one time before preparing the first infusion for drinking. This helps clear away any dust or particles that might have collected on the surface on the tea leaves during production and transportation.


The crucial thing to remember is that you don’t want to leave the hot water in your pot for too long. You only want to “rinse” away any residues on the surface on the tea leaves and help it unfurl easier for the subsequent infusions. You might lose a lot of flavors in your “true” infusions if you let the water sit for too long before discarding.

Simply add enough boiling hot water into your vessel to cover the tea leaves completely, and immediately pour out the rinse and discard.


TIP: The recommended amount of tea leaves and water you could use per serving for each tea can be found under their respective brewing guidelines.


3. COOLING WATER TEMPERATURE

The Leaf Exertion process should take less than 30 seconds to complete, which means the water in your kettle is essentially still boiling hot. You do NOT want to use boiling hot water on any teas EXCEPT perhaps Dark Tea such as Puerh, which is a fully oxidized and fermented tea that could brew well with boiling water. Therefore, an easy way to lower the water temperature down without having to measure it with a thermometer is to simply transfer the water between vessels.


Generally, each time you transfer the water, the temperature should decrease by 40-50°F (5-10°C). The right water temperature could coax a comforting and exquisite flavor out of your teas. Below, you’ll find a chart with the recommended temperatures and infusions times for each style of tea.



NOTE: Some teas require an individualized water temperature, such as our Jade Dew (Gyokuro), a high-grade Bloom Label green tea that is best enjoyed with very low water temperatures (60-70°C) and longer infusion times (3 minutes). Please see the recommended brewing guidelines for each tea under their individualized webpage.


4. DRIZZLE FIRST, POUR LATER

Treat your tea leaves gently at first, like you would with a delicate flower. This ensures that the flavor of your tea could unfurl slowly and not be overpowered by pungent bitterness and dryness. You could consider drizzling the already cooled-down water into your pot by lifting your kettle or water vessel higher, which allows the water to flow in thinner streams and slower. Try to avoid pouring on top of the tea leaves, if possible.




For subsequent infusions after your second one, feel free to pour freely and use boiling hot water instead of the water temperatures listed above when you find that the flavors of the previous infusions are getting milder.


5. DECANT, REPEAT & ENJOY!

If you would like to taste the subtle differences between each infusion, we recommend that you brew, decant, and finish that infusion first before you move on with the next. If, however, you would like to taste a well-balanced profile of the tea without the wait time, repeat the process but use a large enough decanter to contain a minimum of three infusions of tea.



But remember, ALWAYS decant!


Decanting ensures that you are not over-steeping your tea leaves, which could cause unwanted bitterness and astringency (dryness in the mouth) that is not signature to the tasting profiles of the teas. If your personal preference for tea is its bitterness though, note that there is no harm in over-steeping your tea leaves, but a slight chance of missing out on the multilayered and dynamic flavors of our offerings.


DISCLAIMER: While we have tested and tasted our tea offerings with various methods of brewing multiple times, including different water to tea leaves ratios, water temperatures, vessel types, and infusion times, to come up with this ultimate Boon Tea experience, we do not claim that this method is all-inclusive, but rather a suggestion for what we believe to bring out the best qualities of our teas.


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