You go through the motions, brew up a delicious cup of tea, take a sip and… bleh. This tastes like dirt.
Whether you’re sick of PG Tips or just can’t work out where you’re going wrong with your green tea, you’ll find the answers you need here.
I don’t put up with mundane tea and neither should you. These nine tips are all from my own personal tea journey and tea reviews, follow them and you’ll quickly fall in love with tea again.
Use Fresh Water
Water left in the kettle goes stale quickly, especially when you boil it multiple times. This makes your tea taste dull and flat. Spruce up your tea by refilling the kettle every time!
Check The Water Temperature
Ever wondered why green tea tastes bad? Never assume that two teas should be brewed the same. Green tea should be brewed at 80°C, not boiling! If your water is too hot, your green tea will taste bitter.
Green and White – 80°C
Oolong – 85°C approximately (dependent on how black or green the leaves are)
Black – 98°C
Herbal teas vary widely. Delicate chamomile, for example, is best brewed at 70°C. Check my individual tea reviews for the correct temperature.
Is Your Tea Fresh?
Like coffee, tea goes stale quickly if not packaged correctly. Good tea will come sealed in a foil package, but great tea will come in a container that can be sealed airtight. Keep your tea cool and in the dark. If your tea has lost its aroma, that’s a sign that you need to restock the tea cupboard!
Forget the Milk
Try your tea black, sweetened with honey, or with lemon to switch things up! This suits some teas better than others, particularly green tea. The benefits of green tea with lemon (from bright skin to improved concentration) come down to how the acidity of the lemon breaks down the green tea antioxidants, helping your body absorb more of them.
Earl Grey is another classic you’ll love with a small squeeze of lemon. Brew lightly if you’re drinking without milk and go very easy on the lemon juice or wedge.
Cool It Down
Try iced tea! Brew into a jug or pitcher, then let it cool to room temperature or lower in the fridge. Pour over ice and dilute to taste. Voila! Serve with fresh fruit in a tall glass with a straw. Paper umbrella optional, but highly recommended.
The tea in most teabags is a fine (or even powdery) consistency.
When tea leaves are dried, processed and blended, small flecks of the leaves and stalks will break off or crumble. These tiny tea leave parts are called fannings – they are the waste product of producing a high-quality tea.
These fannings are gathered up and used for low quality tea bags. It makes packaging the tea easier and brewing a cup quicker… but it will never, ever, taste as good as loose leaf.
When the fannings break off the main tea leaves and fall away from the high quality ‘loose leaf’ much of the natural tea oils and aroma are lost too. Loose leaf will taste brighter compared to teabags, even if they’re from the exact same tea plant.
Loose leaf is available in some teabags anyway (make sure the bags offer enough room and are organic paper) and is not difficult to find online and in supermarkets!
Switch Tea Brand (Read Tea Reviews!)
Tea varies from one estate to another, and from one tea brand to another. For example, Twinings Earl Grey sticks closely to the classic recipe of bergamot and black tea, with just a hint of lemon. Whittard Earl Grey, on the other hand, add dried orange peel and cornflower petals to their bergamot and black tea blend.
Take a look at my blog for tea reviews of all your favourites.
Put Down the Mug
The reason I NEVER drink tea in Starbucks or Costa (besides the poor quality of the tea) is the humungous, thick stoneware monster they serve the tea in. This is the worst thing you could do for your cup of tea.
A thin porcelain cup or mug will drastically improve the flavour. The thin lip lets the tea roll onto your tongue for better tasting, and the smooth porcelain texture is non-porous, meaning those tea oils and aromas can’t hide away in any crevices.
Marcus’s Tea Blog has a great article explaining the science in a bit more detail.
Switch sugar for honey, add a few strawberry slices to your mango flavoured green tea, or add a dash of lime cordial to your Earl Grey blend. Just like a cocktail, you can mix up your tea however you like. Ignore the experts, just make a drink that you’ll enjoy.
Explore the World of Tea
Maybe it’s time to try a new tea… but which one?
The English Tea Book, written by myself, will tell you exactly what kind of tea you will like, with over 70 tea blends (both classic and herbal) to try with recommendations. Starting with the classic teas us Brits love, I delve into some of the best teas and herbal infusions on offer… most of which you can find at the supermarket or online!
Find your favourite tea in my book to discover at least 3 other blends you’re guaranteed to love.
Make sure you subscribe to Immortal Wordsmith so we can let you know when the book is available to buy!