How to make a good cup of tea is an important part of Tea Art, and Tea Art is an important part of Chinese tea culture. Tea-making or Tea-brewing indirectly promotes the development of Chinese tea culture, tea ceremony, tea art, and tea sets.
Professionally speaking, making/brewing tea is a technical work, which requires some essential knowledge to be implemented. Different types of tea need different requirements. We know there are six main types of Chinese tea.
In general, we just need to focus on three key points below:
- The tea sets
- The ratio of tea leaves to water
- The temperature of the water
1. The tea sets
Tea sets are an important part of Tea Art as well. Choosing an appropriate tea set is a crucial factor affecting the taste of tea.
Three common tea sets for making tea are glass cup, porcelain cup, and ceramic teapot.
The primary difference between these three tea sets is the thermal conductivity, which affects the change of temperature of the water.
1. Glass cup
Glass cup is the most common cup we use in daily life, and it has good heat dissipation.
Glass cup is the most suitable tea set for making green tea, because green tea leaves are very delicate and tender.
If green tea leaves suffer a long time of high temperature, the nutrients of green tea would be destroyed, such as vitamin C, and the water of green tea would turn yellow as well. So a tea set with good dissipation is very beneficial for making green tea.
Moreover, from the perspective of Tea Art, you can see the green tea leaves floating in the whole glass with green water, which is a delightful view for your eyes and mood.
2. Porcelain cup
Porcelain cup (called Gaiwan in Chinese Pinyin) also has good heat dissipation as the glass cup, and it usually with a lid can keep the tea warm. The difference between glass cup and porcelain cup is that porcelain cup is more artistic and beautiful than glass cup in terms of Tea Art.
Porcelain cup is more suitable for making dark color tea, such as black tea. The color of brewed black tea looks much brighter with the pure white color of the porcelain cup as a foil.
Black tea leaves can’t bear high temperature but better than green tea. With good heat dissipation, porcelain cup also is used to make green tea, white tea, and yellow tea.
3. Ceramic teapot
With the feature of ceramic, the ceramic teapot will absorb the flavor and fragrance of the tea. The more times the ceramic teapot is used, the more fragrant the tea is.
Tips: Because the ceramic teapot will absorb the flavor of tea, using a teapot to make just one type of tea is an appropriate usage, otherwise the flavor and fragrance teapot has absorbed will cover that of the second type of tea you intend to make.
For example: if you often use a ceramic teapot to brew Tieguanyin (a kind of oolong tea), the inside of the teapot will absorb the flavor and fragrance of Tieguanyin. Then if you use this teapot to brew Pu-erh tea (a kind of dark tea), the flavor and fragrance of pu-erh tea will be mixed with that of Tieguanyin.
- Making green tea: glass cup is the best, then the porcelain cup.
- Making black tea: porcelain cup is better, the glass cup is also ok.
- Making white tea and yellow tea: both porcelain cup and glass cup are suitable. If you prefer artistic sense, then use the porcelain cup.
- Making oolong tea and dark tea: ceramic teapot is the best. If you can control the temperature of water properly, using the porcelain cup is also viable.
2. The ratio of tea leaves to water
To make a good cup or a good pot of tea, the first thing is to know the ratio of tea leaves to water.
Different types of tea leaves require a different proportion of water. Here is the list of the ratios:
- Making green tea: The ratio of tea leaves to water is 1:50. For example, if the tea leaves are 3g, then the amount of water should be 150ml. 3g:150ml = 1:50.
- Making black tea, yellow tea: The ratio is 1:60-80.
- Making oolong tea, white tea, and dark tea: The ratio is 1:20-30. These three types of tea are a little special, needing more tea leaves to make, or else, the fragrance and flavor will not be enough.
3. The temperature of the water
As mentioned above, the temperature is a very important factor affecting the taste of tea.
Some nutrients will lose from the tender tea leaves if they suffer high temperature, such as green tea, especially high-quality green tea leaves. If use 100℃ water to brew high-quality green tea leaves, it will ruin the tea.
The old tea leaves or high-fermentation tea leaves should be brewed with 100℃ water, otherwise, the flavor and fragrance of tea will not come out well.
Here is a list of the temperature of water for making tea:
- Making green tea and yellow tea: 80℃-85℃.
- Making black tea: 85℃-90℃.
- Making oolong tea, white tea, and dark tea: 100℃.
Tips: The 80℃-85℃ water is not heating the water to 80℃-85℃, but heating the water to 100℃ first, then let it naturally cool to 80℃-85℃.