Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes, 47 seconds
Guest Contribution by Dakota Murphey
As an avid tea drinker, you no doubt have your favourite mug, type of tea, and brewing method. But there are so many ways to brew a delicious cup of tea that you might not have considered before that can provide some delicious results. Here are some alternative brewing methods for tea that you should try if you’re looking to mix up how you prepare your favourite beverage.
A traditional cast iron teapot used in Japan, the tetsubin is a classic way to enjoy tea; especially if you want something you can enjoy for a longer period of time as the teapot retains heat for over an hour. This iron teapot is paired with a stand that you fit a tealight under so that the tea remains hot and comforting. Tetsubin usually comes with small cups which hold between 2 to 4 ounces of tea for a sophisticated way to enjoy your favourite brew, whatever time of day you prefer to drink tea.
The Cup Method
The easiest and quickest way to brew tea is to use the cup method. That is to say, filling a large cup with hot water and steeping large loose-leaf tea directly in the cup. With this method, you don’t need to worry about using an infuser or straining the leaves – you just top off the water when the cup is halfway full and enjoy. It’s also ideal if you’re looking for an eco-friendlier way to enjoy tea as you can simply compost the leaves when you’re done, with no waste. It’s a laidback method that is perfect for a more casual way to enjoy the full flavour of the tea. Stick to larger-leaf teas as smaller leaves can become bitter by oversteeping.
Iced tea is a refreshing option for the warmer months, and it’s a great choice if you’re partial to making cold-brewed coffee as the preparation is very similar. You can buy teas specifically packaged for cold brewing, but any loose-leaf or bagged tea will work – just use one bag or one tablespoon per litre of water and let it steep for at least 8 hours to enable proper extraction. Another great tip is to add in fruit for a zesty alternative to classic tea.
Use a Keurig
It seems like everyone has a Keurig to brew a cup of coffee in the morning, but did you know it can be used to brew tea as well? In fact, it works brilliantly for brewing a cup of green tea quickly and effectively, especially if you don’t have time to use the traditional method. Just make sure that you allow the water to cool to the right temperature so that you don’t extract too much bitterness from the leaves. Your Keurig will work best with sencha loose leaf green tea, compared to powdered teas, as these can get stuck in the mechanism.
In a Pot
Using a pot or a saucepan for brewing tea is something we normally associate with brewing masala chai in the traditional way, but it doesn’t have to be reserved for chai. You can actually use this method to create a milky tea with other blends as well. The benefit of brewing tea in this way is that you can get creative by adding spices and other ingredients like dried fruit to steep with the leaves too. Just heat up your milk and water in the pot and when the mixture is just on the cusp of boiling, add your tea leaves and leave to steep until it’s the desired strength.
Used for a tea preparation method referred to as gonfu, a gaiwan is a ceramic cup which has a fitted lid and saucer. With a gaiwan, you can use a higher ratio of leaves to water to create a stronger taste in less time. Another reason for tea enthusiasts to try this method is that you can steep the same batch several times, with stronger-flavoured teas like pu-erh being infused as much as 10 times. The tea you use really counts with this method – you’ll extract so much more flavour from this method, so you want to choose a high-quality tea.
From practical methods that are great if you’re on the go, to methods that require more time and intention; there are many wonderful ways to enjoy tea that extend beyond the standard method of using an infuser or a tea bag. These methods are well worth experimenting with how you enjoy your tea – you might even find your new favourite brewing method in this list.
Photo “Pink Japanese tetsubin” is copyright under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License to the photographer Rob Chant and is being posted unaltered (source)
Photo “冷泡茶 – Cold Brew Tea” is copyright under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License to the photographer “ありわかだ．．．” and is being posted unaltered (source)
Photo “Gaiwan Celadon” is copyright under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License to the photographer Cosmin Dordea and is being posted unaltered (source)