11 December 2009

Brew the Best Cup of Loose Tea Ever, Effortlessly

I'm a serious tea junkie and what better time to cozy up to a mug of tea than the winter. I only really drink loose tea. These days my favourite teas are Japanese Green Tea (usually Bancha), Tulsi Tea (Organic India), and Sage Leaf Tea. I do occasionally brew Camomile and Mint. I usually use organic leaves, but if the Green Tea is Japanese I will make exceptions.

I've been brewing tea for a long time. I don't drink coffee because I can't handle the caffeine. Even decaf is too much. Besides I love tea. I went through a Yerba Mate stage. I loved it, but ultimately I found my body didn't take to the stuff.

I've brewed tea in all sorts of ways. My favourite ways up until recently were to brew it 1) in a bodum, 2) in a Japanese cast tea pot, or 3) brew it in a glass mug with a stainless strainer (the kind you buy at Japanese shops). Forget about tea balls, etc. because loose tea needs to be able to float freely.

I recently discovered the best way to brew tea for individual servings and thought I'd share the technique. It involves buying a double walled, insulated glass cup made by Bodum. It's called the Bodum Pavina Double-Wall Thermo Cup. Two of these cups came with a Bodum press we bought and sat in the cupboard for a long time until we discovered that a tea stainer I had fit perfectly. Shortly after that discovery I haven't been able to drink tea in anything else. Your tea just floats in the inner layer of glass. They are light and durable--made of borosilicate glass.

These cups keep the tea hot but they remain just pleasantly warm to the touch. Brewing tea in glass is the superior way, of course, as any serious tea drinker knows. Besides not adding any weird flavours or toxins to the brew, glass allows you to see what you're drinking in contrast to old school mugs. The tea looks incredible in these cups, which adds to the tea "experience".

The other thing you need is a stainless strainer. The one I have is from a Cast Iron Japanese tea pot. You can mail order them online pretty easily if you don't have access to a Japanese shop. Leave a comment and I can help you find one. It should fit perfectly into the cup. I'm using the 12 ounce Bodum cup and the 3 inch strainer fits perfectly.

Just put your loose tea into the strainer and brew your tea. If it's a good quality Green Tea then let the boiled kettle sit for at least five minutes before pouring the water. Green Tea doesn't like boiling water; it will get bitter and ruin the brew. Also, I like about a two minute first infusion. I usually use the same tea for 3 infusions. You can leave each one a bit longer than the first, up to about 5 minutes. Always use filtered water. Tap water, even good tap water, has too many impurities that will negatively affect your tea.

Please leave a comment and tell me your favourite brewing method or favourite tea.


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Philosopher Dog said...

Thanx for the sweet comment!

Bigmutt said...

thanks for the post, and thanks for offering to help me find that 3-inch strainer for Bodum cups.
I have the bodum cups, and I love them, and want to brew tea in them. thanks. my email is