In an era of instant, on demand everything, some tea drinkers have become accustomed to enthusiastically jiggling a tea bag in a cup, equating the almost instant colour with flavour and proceeding to drink a cup of tea that is lacking any sense of depth or personality. Brewing a tea from the Stir Tea range and steeping the tea leaves longer will result in a more full flavoured and satisfying cup.
On the front of each of our tea packets we offer suggested steep times e.g for black tea we indicate a range between 3 – 5 minutes (suited to your personal preference). These guidelines have been developed and passed down by generations of passionate tea drinkers.
The reason for the minimum steep period is that when you brew a pot of tea and expose the dried leaf to heat and water a liquor is created that is rich in polyphenols (tannins), alkaloids (principally caffeine) , amino acids (principally theanine), glucides, mineral salts and vitamins. These different constituents dissolve in water at different rates so there are minimum times that you want your liquor to steep to achieve a balance between these elements. For example around 80% of the caffeine is released in the first minute of infusion, while tannins take longer to release (reference 1).
If you want your brewed tea to be stronger we recommend you try increasing the measure of tea used rather than extending the time beyond the maximum suggested.
(Reference 1: The Tea Drinkers Handbook by Francois-Xavier Delmas, Mathias Minet, Christine Barbaste)
Posted: Tuesday 24 October 2017