Tea Resolution: Enjoy Your Tea to the Fullest in 2021
The holiday season is winding down and if you're like us, you have a whole new catalog of tea to enjoy in the new year. Cultivating a variety in your tea pantry is a vital step in furthering your tea journey. However if you are a new to loose leaf tea or lack familiarity with a particular type, proper handling can seem daunting. We believe tea should relieve rather than add stress to your life, so we have created the perfect guide to aid you in introducing new teas into your life. From steeping to storage, tasting to blending, continue reading to discover our best practices for enjoying your tea to the fullest!
The most important thing to remember when approaching tea storage is that your containers should be air tight and light safe. When you're deciding how to store your tea, remember that containers should have some sort of seal to ensure that air can't affect the freshness of your leaves. While tea doesn't usually go bad unless moisture causes mold, allowing your tea to rest in unsealed containers can affect the strength of flavor even alter the flavor profile. Similarly, light can affect the freshness of your teas. So while using mason jars to store and display your teas looks pretty cool, you want to make sure that your tea containers are at least opaque if not solid. Tins are great for this purpose because they keep out light and air, allowing your tea to retain its freshness for much longer. The bags our tea comes in are also air tight and light safe; feel free to keep the bags right on your shelf. Just make sure to seal them tight!
As we mentioned earlier, tea doesn't go bad unless introduced to environmental elements. This means that tea can last you for years without suffering any serious effects. However, to maximize freshness the standard recommendation for storage longevity varies somewhat based on type.
Steeping can be the most imposing part of trying out new teas. If you're used to steeping black teas, white tea or oolong tea can feel like a curve ball. The good thing is that all of our teas come with recommendations for steeping time as well as water temperature right on the bag. With any new tea, following the written instructions is useful to help you gain a familiarity with the infusion.
That being said, learning how to steep teas to your taste is one of the key aspects of participating in your tea journey. Once you have tried the manufacturer directions, play around with the steeping time to explore the different flavors of each cup. Is there one you like better than the original? Go with that from now on! Your steeping practices should ultimately be based on your personal taste.
It should be noted that this is also true for the tea measurements. If you prefer stronger flavor, try steeping more leaves rather than increasing steep time or temperature.
Tasting Your New Teas
You've organized your tea pantry and made sure that all your teas are stored properly. Now it's time to dive into the new flavors awaiting you. Here are some best practices for beginning to familiarize yourself with with new teas.
It can be tempting to immediately reach for the honey pot or milk pitcher when making tea, especially if that is your usual habit. We recommend that you try each tea undiluted for the first couple of times to gain an understanding of the flavor profile. Once you know what the tea tastes like on its own you can better judge the whether milk or sweetener would enhance the profile.
Though considered to be poor table manners in western culture, slurping is one of the tried and true practices of tea tasting around the world. By slurping your tea, you allow tea particles to travel into your nasal passage giving you a fuller appreciation for the flavor of the infusion.
Making Your Own Blends
One of the most exciting parts of developing a dynamic tea collection is the ability to mix and match flavors to create your own unique tea blends right at home. As you come to know the individual infusions, try combining different ones to create diverse cups. Once you find a combination you enjoy, you can make a bigger batch and store it for future enjoyment. When blending two teas or infusions, we recommend the following:
- Take into account differing steeping times and temperatures. Typically an average of the two steep times works well.
- When blending more than a single serving, swirl leaves together in a bowl for several minutes to ensure that flavors and essential oils are blended evenly
Start the Year off on the Right Cup
Whether you're just starting out on your tea journey or need a refresher on best practices for steeping and storing tea, we have the tips to help. Maximize your enjoyment of tea this year and continue exploring this rich and multifaceted world.