Do it your way… but pay attention.
I spend a lot of my time in grocery stores. My job requires it. And during that time I’m typically lucky enough to have any number of conversations with a wide variety of folks that range in topic from tea to politics, sports to literature, and even that other tea company that everyone knows about in Boulder. Inevitably I get a lot of questions about “rules” when it comes to tea. “How long should I steep my green tea?” “What’s the best temperature water to use for white tea?” “How many infusions should I get out of an oolong?”
My answer to all of these questions typically varies from one customer and one set of circumstances to the next. However, what I always seem to end up telling folks is simply to, “do what works best for you.”
All teas are different. As such, your methods of preparation from one tea to the next will obviously vary. At Tea Spot we recommend 3 minute infusions on our greens and whites and about 4 and a half on our black teas.
But I often tell folks that these guidelines are simply that… guidelines. And with that said, they are not necessarily what works best for all teas.
What’s important to consider is that you take the time to figure out what specific method of preparation works best for you and how that method effects the taste, quality, and overall experience from one cup to the next. Personally I find that many black teas (Pu’erh for instance) taste better to me with short, quick infusions < 2 minutes. And there are certain green teas that yield excellent results when infused for < 1 minute with water that never fully boils. So if you happen to find that boiling water, 6 minute infusions, and Chinese Dragonwell are the keys to unlocking your perfect cup… (ummmmmm… you didn’t hear it from me)… than say go for it! In my eyes there aren’t any hard and fast rules when it comes to tea. The sheer fact that tea takes so many different forms and comes from so many different countries makes it one of the most customizable beverages that we consume. With time and experience what you’ll find is that tending to your tea and paying attention to the leaves as they unfurl in your cup or pot will ultimately yield a more satisfying experience… and hopefully a better tasting tea too!