We've had some people ask why we use resealable pouches for our tea instead of tins. There were so many factors that we considered when we made the decision but here are the main reasons:
We get questions regularly about re-steeping tea. I thought I'd put a little info out for everyone to help answer some of the questions.
High quality loose leaf teas are capable of being re-steeped. Tea bags purchased in the grocery store don't re-steep very well.
Best teas to re-steep: Oolongs, Pu'erh, Green, White, some blacks. Teas with a large leaf or buds have more surface, so they re-steep better. Some fruit tisane's and herbals can be re-steeped, but most lose a lot of their flavor on the second steep.
You can generally re-steep (western):
Oolong 3-6 times
Green teas 2-3 times
Black teas 2-3 times
Pu-erh, depending on the grade, can go from 3-5 times
White tea 2 times
Caveat: no oversteeping or water temperature that is too high
Many oolong connoisseurs feel that the best flavors aren't produced until at least the 3rd steep. However, they typically use the Asian-style steeping method to get the best flavors from their tea. What?!? There are different steeping methods? Yes, and they are very different, indeed.
Asian-style steeping method
Ever wonder why you see a lot of tiny little teapots on websites? It's because many Asians use a different steeping method than what is typically done in the west. This alternate method is achieved by steeping tea in small teapots or tea vessels that have a capacity of 3 to 8 ounces. Enough tea leaf is used to roughly fill the vessel half-full. Water of the appropriate temperature is added to fill the teapot to capacity.
The tea is steeped for only for 20, then 30, then 45 seconds, etc. and poured into cups to drink after each steep.
This steeping method enables one to better enjoy the flavor of the tea as it changes with each steep and keeps your cuppa at the optimum temperature.
The tea continues to be re-steeped until the leaf is exhausted of flavor. This is not a matter of frugality but a tea steeping method that draws the best flavor from the tea.
Depending on the tea used, some tea can be re-steeped as many as 15 times. This method allows the tea leaf to slowly release its flavor over a series of short steeps by using a large amount of tea to a small amount of water for each steep.
Each successive steeping of tea will taste full and rich and slightly thick – not watery or thin – until the leaf eventually becomes exhausted of flavor.
Western-style steeping method
Westerners typically use a large teapot with a capacity of 24 or more ounces with about a teaspoon of tea per 6-8 oz of water added to the teapot. For example, about 4 or 5 teaspoons of tea would be used in a 24 oz teapot.
The teapot is filled to capacity with water and the tea is steeped for 4 or 5 minutes (black) or 2 to 3 minutes (green or oolong). Typically, the tea is only steeped once, since an average quality leaf in a tea bag is exhausted with a single steep. Luckily, high quality loose leaf tea is capable of additional steeps. In either case, over steeping with too much time or using higher temperature water than recommended can cause your tea to become bitter. Poor quality tea leaf also tends to be bitter, no matter how careful you are.
Tea steeped by each method is quite different in character. Once you become aware of these different traditions, it causes you to appreciate how these different methods create a very different cuppa tea.
I'm frequently asked how we make our cold tea samples at the store. We keep it really simple but want to bring the best flavors out in the process. So here's our secret...
It's a hybrid between hot preparation and cold steeping that we think gives you the best flavor from both methods. Here's an example of our process.
In our example, we're going to make a gallon of tea as the final result, but you can adjust the measurements for the amount of tea you desire.
- Heat 1 quart of water to the temp needed for your tea or 1/4 of the final result.
- Place enough tea to make a gallon in a heat resistant 1 gallon pitcher. We use the large empty tea bags we sell to contain the tea while steeping. Then it's simple to remove the tea bag when you are ready to serve.
- Pour hot water over the tea.
- Let your tea steep for half the amount of time you would normally steep for hot tea. For example, most black teas have a full steep time of 4-5 minutes. For this method you would only steep for 2 to 2.5 minutes.
- Pour cold water into the pitcher to make up the rest of the gallon, leaving the tea in the pitcher.
- Put in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, but 8 to 12 hours is best.
This method brings out many flavors that you can miss with a standard hot steep method. It reduces the tannin flavor that you get from hot steeping and increases the other flavors from your tea. Plus, it's so simple to do!
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1714 Dublin Blvd.
Colorado Springs, CO 80918