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Tea - 5 Tips for Brewing the Best

Dear Dr. Dave & Dr. Dee,

Is it proper to serve tea to guests in individual cups with their own tea bags, or use a teapot? Also, which is better tasting, green or black tea? I have a tea luncheon at my house with a few friends, and I want to have the best tea.


Need Advice

Dear Need Advice,

Serving green or black tea is a matter of taste and both are excellent. However, if you think different guests have different preferences, then it would be easiest to serve tea using individual tea bags. It would be fun to have a wide variety of teas such as green, black, herbal, Oolong, caffeinated and decaffeinated, and let the guests choose which tea they prefer.

However, if you plan to brew tea using a teapot, then here are five easy steps to brewing the best tea:

1. Water: If you have good drinking water from your faucet, then use it. Otherwise, use bottled water or filtered water.

2. Temperature: in a kettle, bring the cold water to boiling and turn off the heat. Let it sit a few minutes before pouring into the teapot. In the meantime, condition the teapot by putting a small amount of hot water in it, swish it around, and pour it out. This will help prevent the teapot from cracking when the hot water is poured in, and also helps keep the teapot warm.

Generally for green tea, the hot water temperature should be low, about 180 degree water. For black Tea, the water temperature is higher at about 200 degrees.

3. Loose Tea Leaves: use loose tea leaves because they are larger and more flavorful than leaves in tea bags. Scoop the loose leaves into the teapot - about 1 teaspoon per cup of water.

4. Steep: Pour the hot water over the leavers and steep 2-5 minutes covered: generally for green tea let sit 2-3 minutes; for black tea let sit 3-5.

5. Strain: if the teapot does not have a built-in strainer, then use a strainer when pouring the tea into the cup.