If you take the time to google ‘How do I make Chinese tea?’ you’ll find a lot of very accurate — and mostly very intricate — instructions on how Chinese tea should be enjoyed. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with these instructions; tea in China can absolutely be an art form (as anyone who’s had the privilege of attending a tea ceremony will testify). But most 老百姓 [average people] don’t have enough spare time in their days to make each cup of tea with such pomp and ceremony.
So here’s a more practical guide to enjoying your Chinese tea with the resources you probably already have at your disposal but importantly without killing the flavour of the tea!
Step 1: Warm your tea set first
Putting hot water in cold cups/pots can make the temperature of the water drop quickly, which can affect the flavour of some Chinese teas – especially if you live in a cold place. Warming your cup or pot first avoids the sudden change in temperature.
Step 2: Put tea leaves into the tea pot
Ok, so the amount of leaves can be tricky but as a rule of thumb; if one person is drinking, add one pinch of tea, if 2-4 add 2 pinches of tea. From then on just adapt to taste. If you prefer strong tea add more, if you prefer weaker tea you can add less.
Loose leave teas can be served in an infusing bag, a cup with a lid or even prepared in a French press usually used for coffee (just be sure not to squash the leaves when you push the plunger down!).
Step 3: ‘Wash’ the tea leaves and brew the tea
‘Washing’ the leaves first gives the tea a fresher flavour. Pour hot water onto the leaves, swirl around and pour away the first lot of tea (while keeping the leaves in the cup/pot/bag).
Pour a second lot of hot water onto the leaves and leave to brew. How hot the water should be and how long you leave it depends on the type of tea…check out our mini-guide below.
Step 4: Drink and enjoy!
Make sure you take time to enjoy both the taste and smell of Chinese tea. Usually sugar, honey or other additives aren’t added, but if that’s how you prefer your tea [and have at least tried it without!] then go for it!
|Wulong Tea||212F / 100C [boiling]||1–2 mins|
|Green Tea||200F / 193C [just under boiling]||1–2mins|
|Black Tea||212F / 100C [boiling]||1–2 mins|
|Yellow Tea||180F / 182C [a couple of minutes after boiling]||1–2 mins|
|White Tea||200F/ 193C [just under boiling]||1–3 mins|
|Puer Tea||212F / 100C [boiling]||1–2 mins|