Brewing the perfect cup of tea is made simple with this detailed guide
If you ask most people how to make a cup of tea, the answer is simple. They will tell you to pour boiled water over a tea bag and let it sit for 5 minutes.
But if you ask a tea master how to prepare a cup of tea, the answer is a whole lot different.
For one, it’s not just about the tea, it’s about the water, teaware, and even your physical surroundings.
Teaism as a ritual can be traced all the way back to the beginning of Taoism. According to the Book of Tea by Okakura Kakuzō, “teaism is Taoism in disguise.” Therefore, it’s not unusual for teaism to become a ritual as the simple act of making tea has so much history behind it.
There are a few important components behind this process.
Let’s dissect each one of them.
The components of a good cup of tea
I was fascinated by a book a while back called Water Knows the Answers by Masaru Emoto. He talked about the power of water in which it holds the energy and vibration of its surroundings. For example, under experimentation, the water molecules shape differently when exposed to classical music and metal music. When water is exposed to classical music, is snowflake is shaped with harmony and symmetry. When exposed to metal music, its shape is irregular and distorted. If you expose water to different words, it also affects its vibration. His website has an interesting gallery of water under the microscope after being exposed to different music, images, and words. I strongly advise you to check it out here.
Water is the source of life, and it holds and records the source energy of life.
Therefore, water is a key part of this process.
When I was little, my grandpa used to take an hour round trip on his electric scooter to the countryside to source mountain springs, since he doesn’t believe a good tea should be paired with tab water.
In today’s environment, if you don’t have the luxury to source mountain spring yourself, it’s advised to used filtered water rather than tap water.
Your water holds your vibration, so when you come in contact with the water, you should try your best to eradicate negative feelings and thoughts, and bring out the positive ones. The vibration of love and gratitude has a powerful energy. Think about things you love and you are grateful for when you come in contact with your water.
Depend on the day and occasion, different decors of the tea room can make a difference in your experience. In her book, Every day is a Good Day by Morishita Noriko, she recounts 20 years of learning Japanese Tea Ceremony. She noticed that her tea master’s tea room is modest and minimalist, but the decor is always catered to the occasion. Whether it’s the season or the theme of the day, there would be plants cut in a specific way or paintings for the day’s theme.
In North America’s culture, it’s not usual to have a room dedicated to tea, but we can always be resourceful with what we have. Perhaps you like to drink tea in your front porch while listening to the birds chirping, or in your favorite chair with your favorite book, or simply at your kitchen table quiet with your thoughts. No matter what environment you are in, the intention is key.
What’s the difference between drinking tea from a mug and from a teacup? I used to think this way. Both serve the purpose, both hold my tea just fine, why do I need to bother with a specific tea set? If you ask a french person to drink red wine from a plastic cup, he or she might look at you like you are crazy. It’s the same for some tea people.
For utility purposes, some teacup holds better heat in winter, and some better in summer. For texture purposes, some teaware lessens its effect on the taste of tea, some even enhance it.
As you immerse more in the tea world, you will discover that teaware is its whole genre. For now, remember to choose the teaware you feel fit the occasion the best.
Different tea has different vibrations, and no one can decide what’s best for you but you. Green, black, white, yellow, oolong and herbal tea all have different properties. Choosing tea a big step in this process. Watching tea leaves open in hot water is such a joyous process when I was a kid, I used to be mesmerized by the grace of the tea leaves in water. As the minute go by, the aroma fills your nose and your lung. It’s a good idea to have a good selection of teas in your collection as you never know what the mood strikes.
Now we have a good foundation of the important components, let’s talk about the steps.
The steps of making the perfect cup of tea
Heat spring water (or filtered tap water) to the correct temperature. For the temp, please see the list below:
Green tea: 170° to 180°
Black tea: 200° to 212°
White tea: 170° to 185°
Yellow tea: 165° to 175°
Oolong tea: 200° to 212°
Herbal tea: 200° to 212°
When the water first came to boil, add another scoop of cool water, wait for it to boil again.
Warm your teapot and teacup with heated water
Measure the correct amount of tea leaves and add the heated water to your teapot.
Wait 3-5 minutes depend on the type of tea you choose.
Separate the liquid from the leave. If the liquid is left with the leaves for too long, the second cup and third cup won’t taste right.
Enjoy your cup of tea!
Every step should be conducted with care and intention. Don’t worry if you are doing everything correctly, the important thing is to be in the present moment. The correct movement will come with time.
Enjoy your tea!