How to Steep Tea used to Make Bubble Tea Drinks
Creating great tasting tea is a key element to achieving making the ideal Bubble Tea drink. This means then that steeping tea that you use in your bubble tea drinks is very important. Learn the key elements and steps to steep the tea used to make bubble tea drinks.
Steeping is the process of extracting flavors or softening of a solid by soaking it in liquid. With reference to tea, steeping is the preparation of the beverage by soaking the tea leaves in hot water to release the nutrients and tea flavor. Dried tea leaves, whether loose or in tea bags, is prepared by steeping in either heated or just boiled water. Steeping tea can be done in any tea container such as a cup, a teapot, a pitcher, or a tea urn. An infuser or strainer can help make tea steeping a lot more convenient.
Guide to Steeping Tea
The flavor and nutrients of the tea can fully be extracted when steeping is done correctly. The following must be observed when steeping tea:
- Amount of tea – The amount of tea is always a personal choice of the drinker. The rule of thumb is to use one or two teaspoons for every 8 ounces of water but the amount varies depending of the preference of the drinker and the type of tea being used.
- Water temperature – It is very important in preparing a good cup of tea. Water must be boiled to 212°F (100°C) and allowed to cool down a bit before steeping the tea. Water temperature, however, differs depending on the type of tea. The following tea types must be steeped under the following conditions:
- Black tea – Steep half teaspoon of tea in a cup of water at 205°F for three minutes.
- Green tea – Steep one teaspoon of tea in a cup of water at 175°F for three to four minutes.
- Oolong tea – Steep half teaspoon of tea in a cup of water at 195°F for three to six minutes.
- White tea – Steep one teaspoon of tea in a cup of water at 185°F for seven to nine minutes.
- Red tea – Steep half teaspoon of tea in a cup of water at 205°F for three to seven minutes.
- Yellow tea – Steep half teaspoon of tea in a cup of water at 195°F for three to six minutes.
- Honeybush tea – Steep one teaspoon of tea in a cup of water at 205°F for five to eight minutes.
- Rooibos tea – Steep one teaspoon of tea in a cup of water at 205°F for three to five minutes.
There are different methods of steeping tea, ranging from personal consumption to commercial use:
- Teacup steeping – Tea leaves, preferably in a tea bag, are allowed to soak in hot water in a cup until ready for drinking. The length of time for soaking depends on the preference of the drinker as more time means stronger and bitter tea.
- Teapot steeping – Steeping tea leaves in a teapot allows the leaves to unfurl and release flavor and aroma. This is considered to be the best way of steeping tea for personal consumption. However, leaving the brew for prolonged period in the teapot will result to bitter tea.
- Tea ball or mesh infuser – A tea ball or mesh infuser is made of aluminum or stainless steel to hold the tea leaves during the steeping process. Both allow for easier cleaning but the disadvantage is that the tea leaves do not fully expand during the steeping process, resulting in less flavor and aroma.
- Basket filter and tea socks – Basket filters are plastic or aluminum basket that fit the teapot to allow the free circulation of the tea leaves during the steeping process. Tea socks are of the same construction but made of fabric. There must be one tea sock for every type of tea to avoid mixing flavors and aroma.
Drinking tea is an important ritual in different cultures. Create your own personal ritual and enjoy your favorite bubble tea beverage!