Four Popular Ways to Brew A Cup of Tea
Making that perfect cup of tea is an art realised over time. With time and practice, you will be able to enjoy the taste of real tea in a variety of ways.
Steeping techniques can differ between teas. Each of our Rujani product labels has a simple image showing the amount of tea required, recommended water temperature and steeping time.
Our teas are harvested and processed by hand to ensure the leaves remain whole, and taking care to steep them will ensure you have full enjoyment from the process. We would like you to take the time to slow down, enjoy the process of tea brewing, drinking the tea to savour, being in the moment and taking in the experience holistically.
To get you started, we have put together a guide to four tried and tested techniques to prepare a cup of tea.
Classic Infusion - Western Style Brewing
This is the most popular technique in the western world, the classic infusion is a simple method that works well for most teas.
It requires a teapot or kettle, a cup and a strainer.
Straining options include a standard tea strainer, a teapot with a built-in strainer, or disposable tea filter bags. For a mess-free option, try the cup+strainer, or even a travel mug with built-in strainer for when you’re on-the-go. All of these are available online and at tea shops near you.
- Fill your electric kettle (or saucepan) with cold tap water. Steeped tea is 98% water. So the quality of the water is integral to the brew.
- Boil the water to the suggested temperature. For optimum flavour, follow the water temperature on our packaging. You can do this by using an instant-read thermometer. You may prefer to boil the water and then let it cool to the correct temperature before adding loose tea leaves.
- Weigh the tea, using the amount indicated on the label, and spoon it into a teapot or tea strainer. Two grams is a teaspoon full. As loose leaf tea leaves expand with water, be careful not to overfill. Don't worry about the weight too much. Over time, you will build a preference for the amount of loose leaf for each steep. A pinch is all that is needed for a cup.
- Pour the hot water over the tea leaves — ensuring you cover the tea leaves entirely — and steep for the amount of time printed on the label. For a more robust and stronger cup of tea, rather than steeping for longer, just add more loose leaf tea.
- Lift the strainer to remove the tea leaves from the water. If your strainer doesn’t fit correctly in your teapot, you can place the measured tea leaves directly into your teapot. After steeping, hold the tea strainer over your cup to catch the leaves as you pour. Do not discard the used tea leaves. You can re-steep tea for multiple cups. The flavour profile will change with every steep, and you will get accustomed to your favourite steep.
- Add sugar and milk, if you prefer.
Read more in detail about this style of brewing in our previous blog post. If you prefer this style of brewing, we suggest our Assamica Premium or Tippy Reserve teas.
Gong Fu Cha - Chinese Style Brewing
This is the traditional Chinese method of tea-making, popular with tea folk the world over. Gong fu, literally means effort. It speaks to the time and patience required for practising the art of tea making. A true tea-master in China would never just pour boiling water into a cup with tea leaves, nicknamed the “grandpa style” in China.
Brewing equipment include at the very least a 'gaiwan' or a small bowl with a lid and tiny teacups. Tea pitchers are also used when you need to cool the tea down, or when there are multiple people at your table. Tea ware for gong fu style brewing can get very fancy, and there is no limit to what you can get for a pretty penny.
Two things to note: the ratio of tea leaves to water is preferred to be at 1 gram of loose tea leaf for every 30 ml of water when using this brewing method. Water temperatures used to steep the loose leaf varies basis type of tea in use. Refer to the labels which has a simple graphic, showing recommended water temperatures and steeping time.
- Rinse: Clean your gaiwan and teacups with hot water. This ensures impurities are removed. Fill the clean gaiwan with tea leaves. Rinse the tea leaves with heated water, pouring until the bowl flows over. Immediately empty the brew. This is called the first rinse. Take care not to "cook" the tea leaf.
- First steep: Pour heated water into the gaiwan. Depending on the tea, brew between 10 and 25 seconds. Refer to product labels for guidance on water temperature and steeping time.
- Pour the brewed tea from the gaiwan into a tea pitcher and then serve into teacups.
- Subsequent steeps: Gradually add time to each following steep, loose rule of thumb is 5 seconds per re-steep. You can steep multiple times, until your tea either loses its flavour profile or becomes bitter and astringent.
It may be already evident to most, that this style of brewing is not suited to any additives to the brew. It is recommended to drink loose leaf real tea on its own, in most cases, but more so in this style of brewing.
Rujani Tea can be steeped in both the Gong Fu and Classic styles. If you like to steep tea in the Gong Fu style, choose from our range of speciality teas. Black teas such as Smoky Ecstasy, Golden Moon, Muscatel, and green teas such as Exotica Flat, Emerald Green and all of our white teas favour this style of brewing.
A cold-brew is much simpler to make. The loose tea leaves are steeped in cold water (or room temperature) and don’t come into contact with heat in the brewing process. The time taken to brew tea in this way is longer than the previous two methods, often over-night, to get the infusion to work.
The best thing is you probably already have everything you need in your kitchen! Starting with your favourite Rujani loose leaf tea. You can even have fun mixing different teas and organic herbs, fruits or flower petals, if you like. A jar/jug/bottle that has a cover and a strainer/infuser/tea filters is all the equipment needed.
- Put 5 tablespoons of your chosen loose leaf tea/s in a jar/jug/container.
- Add water (preferably filtered). Generally what works is 60% water to 40% loose leaf tea. We’ve found this to be approximately one tablespoon per cup, which equates to about one and a half times more tea leaves than when making traditional hot brew tea.
- Cover and refrigerate. If using white or green tea, steep for 6 to 8 hours and 8 to 12 hours when using black tea.
- Use a fine-mesh strainer to strain the tea (or a cheesecloth-lined colander). Or pull out your tea filter or infuser.
- Pour into a jug and add four more cups of cold water to dilute the cold brew concentrate OR add 8 cups of water at step 2 to skip this dilution process.
- Serve over ice.
- Accompany as you please with a syrup/lemon wedges, or even add fresh herbs or fruit during the steeping process.
Your cold brew tea can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days! Read more in detail about this style of brewing in our earlier blog post.
When you think of Indian tea, I am sure Chai comes to mind first. Is Chai the most consumed beverage in India? This couldn't be farther from the truth!! Yes, Chai is originally from India. However, tea-drinking culture in India is varied, with "Chai" being its greatest export.
You will need a heavy pot or kettle (preferably cast iron), tea strainer and teacups or latte glasses.
- Place a cup each of water and full cream milk in the pot and bring it to a gentle boil.
- Add 2 tsp of tea leaves and stir occasionally.
- Add a spice mix (premixed of homemade) of your choice - cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, star anise, cloves and fennel are the traditional spices used in Chai.
- Keep stirring to mix the ingredients in well, while bringing the milk/water to a boil.
- Simmer for an additional five minutes to enhance the flavour.
- Add sugar or honey to taste.
- Strain the Chai into cups and enjoy!
Morning Special, CTC Royale and Whole Leaf CTC from the Rujani Tea range are best for brewing Chai.
Our instructions are to be used as general guidelines. For your unique enjoyment, please try playing around with the steeping time, the water temperature, and the amount of tea leaves, to suit your palate. Practice and time will deliver a cup of your choice.
Enjoy your cuppa!