We all want to drink tea that delivers floral, fruity, mineral, nutty, caramel or nectar-like notes. So follow the three T's and ban the bitter brew.
It's crucial to get the best ratio of leaf to water. Using more tea leaves will obviously mean a stronger flavour - but if you use too much leaf it will over-extract in a very short time and too little leaf will give an insipid, weak infusion. For best results weigh out the leaves, or you can use a tea scoop as long as the dose is accurate and consistent.
The temperature of the water you pour over the leaves will make or break the quality of your infusion.
Compounds in tea dissolve at different temperatures and at high temperatures you will extract the more bitter-tasting compounds such as polyphenols and caffeine. Green and lightly oxidised teas tend to be higher in polyphenols, so they must be brewed at a lower temperature to draw out the flavour and avoid dissolving the strong bitter notes. Black and heavily oxidised teas should be brewed at higher temperatures to extract the full range of flavours.
The simplest most reliable method is to invest in a temperature-controlled boiler or kettle. By happy coincidence, we work with Marco Beverage Systems who have exactly what you need.
We figure everyone has had an experience of an over-extracted cup of tea. The amount of time you allow the leaves to steep before separating them from the tea liquor will make the difference between a beautiful bright delicate, satisfying tea - and something undrinkable.
The longer the leaves steep, the more compounds are dissolved. So separating the leaf from the liquor too soon and the tea is weak and under-extracted, leaving them to steep too long will result in over-extraction.
And Water. It doesn't start with a T so we'll slip it in at the end BUT given water is at least 98% of the final infusion, the quality and mineral composition of the water used will have a big effect on the final flavour of the tea. Unless you are drawing water straight from the clean bubbling spring where the tea is grown, it should be freshly drawn and filtered. We recommend using a re-mineralising filter such a BWT Bestmax.
Canton run free TEACH sessions every month in central London. Designed for our partners to understand the basics of tea - the plant, the categories, its cultivation, production and these essential brewing techniques. All Canton wholesale tea partners have access to our extensive The Training Guide.
Each tea has its own individual brewing parameters, which will be provided by Canton. But below is a simple general guide for brewing an individual 250ml serving.