Somewhere in time, after teabags became ubiquitous, the idea evolved that making tea with loose leaves is complicated. Or time consuming. Or best left to someone more experienced.
But really, truly—you can quickly make a great cup of tea!
As far as what you need, you probably already own it. Nothing fancy required here!
Measuring out your tea
Better—use a teaspoon from your drawer:
Best—use a tea measuring spoon, which has a deep bowl that is designed to hold bulky tea leaves:
Making the tea
This works—measure your tea leaves into anything that holds hot water and simply eyeball the amount of hot water that you add.
However, for optimal flavor, it’s better to at least somewhat measure how much water you add so that your tea to water ratio is correct (and reproducible).
Best—here I’ve put green tea (China Gunpowder Temple of Heaven, from TeaHaus) directly into a glass measuring cup (which allows a lot of room for the leaves to unfurl) and added the hot water:
Alternately, measure the tea leaves into a filter, pop the filter into a cup, and then add the hot water.
Many types of filters are readily available, including disposable paper filters (I use the paper filters to make my own tea bags, convenient for traveling).
A round tea ball is fine with CTC black teas—those that consist of chopped tea leaves, which won’t expand a whole lot and therefore can be contained in a small space. Even so, you don’t want to cram too many leaves into a tea ball because you do need room for the leaves to expand so that you get all the flavor that you should.
Teas that are whole leaf really need a lot more room to expand. Any type of basket filter works with these teas.
I personally prefer this Finum filter (which also is terrific for when you have tiny slivers of rooibos):
Keeping track of brewing time
This works—totally guess.
But if you ever want to replicate—or change—your results (and get the best flavor), you’ll want to watch your brewing time.
Better—count, as in:
1 Mississippi 2 Mississippi 3 Mississippi . . .
Filtering out the tea leaves
This works—if you’ve brewed the leaves loose in a cup or measuring glass, anything that holds the leaves back will work (even a fork will work with large whole leaves).
Better—an inexpensive all-purpose kitchen strainer:
Best—just because it’s easier than using a kitchen strainer—pour your brew through a basket filter. Or, if you put the leaves directly into the filter, just lift the filter out:
And enjoy your perfect cup!
Note: TeaHaus in Ann Arbor carries a complete line of filters, glass measuring cups, timers, measuring spoons, and more. Shop online at teahaus.com.