Here's how to make the perfect pot of loose leaf tea
1. Use the right amount of tea per person
“Go with the one-teabag-per-person rule or, if you’re making your drink in a teapot, a rounded teaspoon per person plus one for the pot,” says Philippa. “If you are using a pot, clean it with warm soapy water after every use. Just make sure it’s rinsed thoroughly so it doesn’t contaminate the next.”
2. The correct amount of time to brew tea will vary
“Broadly speaking, black tea needs at least three minutes to allow the flavour to be optimally extracted,” says Philippa. “With green tea, it depends on whether you’re using teabags or loose tea – I’d normally brew the former for one or two minutes and the latter for three or four minutes. For all loose teas, give them plenty of room to unfurl and release the full taste.”
Specialty teas that include hardy barks, chips, seeds, pods and thick leaves may require a longer steeping time, says Anthia, adding “Fine, soft, florals and leaves require a shorter steep time.”
3. When should you add milk to the tea?
“Milk first or last is an age-old debate! I’m firmly in the ‘milk first’ camp, but just use a tiny amount as I find this stops a film forming on top of the tea and doesn’t restrict the brewing process too much,” says Philippa.
“Once you’ve steeped your tea, simply top up with the desired amount of milk, says Philippa. “As for sugar? I’m not a big fan, although it can enhance the flavour of spiced teas such as chai,” she says.
4. Using the right teapot and cup can affect the final taste
Anthia recommends steeping tea in a tea pot that is easy to clean and using a hard, stainless-steel infuser, rather than a basket or mesh type of strainer. “They are hard to clean and leave ingredients behind which can taint the flavour of your next tea,” she says, adding, “I use separate tea pots for black teas and herbal tisanes.”
Philippa agrees. “I’m a firm believer that the better the quality of material used to make the drinking vessel, the better your taste experience,” she says, adding that her favourite type of cup to drink from is one that is made from porcelain.
Tools for brewing tea at home properly
With a sleek, matte black exterior, this is not your grandmother’s teapot. The stoneware construction means your freshly brewed tea will stay hotter for longer and feel durable enough to use on a daily basis.
Loose leaf tea can degrade if exposed to too much light and air. Keep your precious tea leaves fresher for longer by investing in a set of good quality containers. At only $2.99 a pop, these black tea tins from IKEA are not only affordable, but will look excellent displayed proudly in an organised pantry, or on your kitchen benchtop as part of a tea and coffee nook.
The key to a perfect brew is using water that’s at just the right temperature. This retro-inspired kettle from Smeg can be set to heat the water to the temperature you want, with variable settings between 50 - 100 degrees celsius.
With a soft-opening lid, stainless-steel body and washable stainless steel limescale filter, this kettle is made to last the distance.
Add a touch of elegance to your loose leaf tea game with this gold-rimmed tea strainer and matching tray from Wedgwood. Made from Fine Bone China, it is dishwasher safe and sure to become a treasured piece in your tea-brewing collection.
Inviting your friends over for a cup of tea can sound a little formal. Bring a splash of fun and colour to the occasion with this everyday set of contemporary yellow teacups by Salt & Pepper.
This tea blends traditional Chinese black tea with black tea grown in the Atherton Tablelands of Far North Queensland. Inspired by the Australian bush, brew it strong to enjoy the full aroma which contains hints of smoke, eucalyptus and lemon myrtle.
Wake up and smell the flowers, or citrus, in the case of this limited edition brew by small batch tea producer, Apotheca by Anthia. Made from an invigorating blend of Australian lemon-scented tea tree, Australian orange, Australian mandarin and Orange Pekoe black ceylon tea, this tea will ensure you start your day right.
Enjoy a soothing cuppa on-the-go with a handy thermal tea infuser like this one by the folks at Tea Tonic. Fitted with a stainless steel tea infuser basket, you can brew your tea directly in the flask and keep it hot for up to six hours.
Make sure you’ve got everyone’s favourite brew sorted. This classic tea chest by Twinings will make you look like the ultimate tea connoisseur with an exciting mix of black tea, green tea and other delectable infusions.