Tea making is certainly a subjective art, so instead of answering the typical question of "how to make the perfect cup of tea question?", we are going to answer this question - "how to make tea without bitterness?”
Firstly we need to understand what contributes to bitterness – caffeine. Caffeine is a natural part of every tea leaf and it is water soluble.
With this information, we can start our journey to tea brewing without bitterness.
Tea leaf – the leaf size contributes to how fast the taste is drawn. The larger the leaf, the slower the taste is released. So if you steep chopped up tea such as Irish breakfast for 10 minutes, versus Ceylon large leaf (Classic OP) for the same time, you will find the English Breakfast less bitter than the Irish Breakfast.
Amount used – there is a misconception that to make a stronger cup of tea, one should steep the tea longer.
Remember caffeine being water soluble? It means the longer you brew, the more bitter the tea will get. To make a strong cup, use MORE leaves instead of brewing longer.
Water used – yes, back to our old friend caffeine. Hotter water draws out more caffeine.
Many cafes pour hissing boiling hot water from the coffee machine straight into their tea. Ouch! That’s a big no-no!
Black tea, amongst all tea, takes the hottest water to make and even so, water over 90ºC is too hot.
Look at the pic at the top - left pic with small bubbles and a soft boil is good for brewing most tea. The water on right is in a vigorous boil - no good - this water is too hot.
If you love green tea, you owe it to yourself to use cooler water.
No need to be scientific – pour the water from your kettle after it’s boiled into the cup you are going to use. Then tip the water into the teapot where you have already placed the tea leaves. This process will cool the water enough for most green tea.
Home-style Decaffeination – so you may ask, if caffeine makes tea bitter, how do I get rid of caffeine? Well, glad you have an inquisitive mind – as most caffeine goes into your first cup, simply ditch the first quick infusion, pour in fresh hot water at a suitable temperature in the teapot and start enjoying from the 2nd brew onwards. It’s as simple as that!
Well there you have it. It is not hard to make a better cup, it simply needs a little more care.
Check out this video for more tips on brewing tea in this video.