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TEA, BOILING WATER AND OXYGEN
Tea fans all over the world generally follow established guidelines for infusion or brewing of tea. This is because brewing a good tasting cup of tea is a good stress reliever. The process of making tea is often as important as the type of tea used and one of the most important factors is the levels of oxyen in the water used for making your brew. This short article looks at the importance of oxygen in making a decent cup of tea.
The best water for making teaA cup of tea comprises of over 99% water so it is hardly surprising that the quality of the water used is critical to the flavour of the tea. Fine teas are especially sensitive to the type of water used.
The best water for making a cup of tea is low in mineral content, free of contamination and additives and high in oxygen content. The presence of these factors can all influence the taste of tea – so a good test is to try the water before you use it to make your brew. It the water tastes good, then it's safe to use. If the water is tainted in anyway, it's best not to use it.
Other factors that affect the quality of infusionThere are a number of other factors that will affect the taste of your tea. These include water temperature, the mineral content of the water used and the presence of sufficient oxygen in the water.
The hazards of using tap water – chlorine and other chemicalsMany tap water suppliers use chlorine to kill bacteria. So although your tea will be bacteria free, the presence of chlorine can adversely affect the quality of the infusion. Chlorine combined with mineral and chemical deposits can significantly affect tea drinker’s health. It's always best to remove chlorine and other chemicals as well as sediment from the water you are planning to use to make tea. If you are really serious about making a perfect cup of tea, you can check with your local water supplier to find out water your water contains – a local water quality analysis.
Boiling the waterRe-using water in your kettle that has already been pre-boiled is not a good idea if you want to make a perfect cup of tea. Most experts agree that you should never re-boil previously boiled water, or boil the water for too long. As water boils, oxygen is driven out and the more it boils, the less oxygen stays in the water. Water that has already been boiled, like the water that usually sits in your kettle, contains much less oxygen than fresh water. Tea made with water that has depleted oxygen content loses its crisp, fresh taste.
Oxygen, water and teaOxygen plays an important role in making a cup of tea because it helps to release the best flavours of tea. The essential oils in Black Tea that are responsible for much of the taste will only be released in boiling water. But the water is boiled for too long and the oxygen content is depleted and the result is that the essential oils cannot bind to the water molecules. It is therefore essential to get the best balance between heat and oxygen to create the a delicious cup of tea. Aeration is particularly important when brewing fine teas.
It is very easy to over boil water if you are using an electric kettle. If you are using fine or rare teas, it is worth investing in a traditional kettle as this is the only sure way to observe and control the boiling of water.
Also, never use water from this hot tap as this will already be low in oxygen.