Tip Sheet: Tea
There are plenty of reasons to drink tea, and knowledge is power when it comes to getting the best from your own. So in this first Tip Sheet article, we’ve compiled a concise round-up of useful information about earth’s second favorite beverage (water is the first).
Tea usually contains one third to one half as much caffeine as coffee.
You can cook with it. Teas have appeared in culinary circles lately as a versatile ingredient. Grind tea leaves into pepper, marinate or tenderize with it, or experiment with your own implementations. TeaChef is a good resource to get you started.
When convenience isn’t a concern, loose-leaf brewing with an infuser is preferable to brewing with tea bags. You’ll have better control over the amount of leaves you’re using, it’ll taste fresher, and it’s far less wasteful.
Don’t try to make iced tea stronger by steeping it longer – it’ll become bitter. Instead, just use more tea leaves for the same amount of time.
When brewing with loose leaves, a good rule of thumb is one heaping teaspoon for every cup of water you’re brewing. If you’re using tea bags, one bag for every cup of water.
Before you buy seemingly healthy bottled tea from the supermarket, check the label. Many are filled with sugars and artificial ingredients, and don’t resemble real tea at all. The real stuff typically contains zero (or close to zero) calories.
Different types of tea should be brewed at different temperatures for different lengths of time. Opinions vary, but here’s some help to get you started:
It’s important to remember that tea leaves that have been cut or chopped will release their flavor faster than whole leaves.
If you brew with loose leaves, don’t throw them away when you’re done. They make for good fertilizer.
Green tea contains high levels of polyphenols, which can help lower blood pressure and reduce risks of heart disease and strokes.
For flavor, brewing with spring water is ideal. If you must use tap water, don’t use hot water from the tap to speed things up. Additional impurities from your water heater can find their way in.
Remember that every rule can be bent or broken. Experiment with your own methods and ingredients to find what suits your taste.
Title photo by Gözde Otman