If you have never tasted properly prepared tea, but you are eager to find out why these days there seems to be a big fuss with Green tea or tea in general, perhaps time has come for you to spend something extra and indulge yourself with the purchase of that highly required tea set. Sold in a variety of colors and designs, the proper tea set will allow you to enjoy tea in a way you have never thought before. But tea preparation does not begin and end with a purchase of a kettle or a cup. Apart from the tea set, if you truly want to become an inspired tea gongfu, a practiced master on tea preparation, there are a number of guides, manuals, online instructions and Chinese or Indian restaurants that can guide you through and help you take your first steps into the mystical tea world.
Experimenting with different tea varieties is fun. This new lengthier tea preparation process will soon become a new type of entertaining “ritual” you will be able to enjoy with the company of friends or a good book. You should begin by purchasing the tea set that best fits your liking and general lifestyle. If you are into a more “traditional” Chinese tea experience, you can search for the specially designed miniature unglazed wares made of the special “purple sand” clay of Yixing in Jiangsu province. But if this seems like too much trouble for you to drink a cup of tea, there are million of wonderful tea set designs available in the market for you to select from.
Now that you have your tea vessels in the house, you should direct your attention to the purchasing of the actual tea leaves you want to try. Some suggest that it is best if you begin your experimentation with the black tea varieties and later move on to the more difficultly prepared green and white teas. But, then again, this is a matter of taste, availability and choice. The fact remains that if you are determined in drawing out the best features of various refined teas you should use good tea leaves and appropriate techniques for brewing them. Even your classic or usual tea leaves will taste different after proper preparation. In fact, you will be truly surprised by the difference in taste you can draw from tea if you follow these instructions. They can make any tea tasting experience better.
Begin by collecting all the vessels you will use and to rinse them thoroughly with boiled water. Place the clean teapot, pitcher, and teacups, into a container -some use specially made tea boats, but remember that your kitchen’s sink is not recommended- and fill each one of them with water you have just brought to a boil. Rinse the hot water over them and be sure to go over every inch of the vessels. Upon finishing this “warming-up” phase, you should dispose the hot water inside the vessels and let them stand on a clear cloth -a kitchen towel will do just fine. Place the tea leaves inside the tea pot and pour hot, not boiling, water over them until the teapot is filled. Depending on the number of people drinking tea, count one table spoon of leaves for each person and one extra for the teapot and then let the tea leaves steep for a minute. Then transfer the brewed tea from the teapot to the pitcher and serve each guest with a teacup that is filled up to around 70%. If later more tea is needed, but the pitcher is empty, you can repeat the brewing process without replacing the tea leaves. Just remember to lengthen the steeping time an additional 15-20 seconds for each successive steep. The slightly additional steeping time should help to keep consistency in the tea taste without over-steeping. High quality tea leaves should be able to be steeped 4 to 6 times. Transfer the steeped tea into the tea pitcher and enjoy!