Why are tea and coffee brewed differently?

Tea counselor

After water, tea is the second most popular beverage in the world.
And tea is actually just an infusion of dried or fermented leaves, buds and shoots of the tea bush.
There are now thousands of types of tea which are constantly being expanded.
They all go back to the original form of the tea plant, the Camellia sinensis.

Tea is a luxury product and with its intense scent and warming effect it is a real treat. It is one of the oldest infusion drinks made from the leaves and parts of plants from the tea bush. Tea is brewed all over the world as a versatile and tasty drink. This makes it the most widely consumed drink in the world alongside simple water.
As a plant and drink, tea is firmly anchored in many cultures and is associated with various ceremonies. Whether Japan, China, Austria or England: Tea ensures relaxation, brings warmth and pleasure.
One of the most famous and classic types of tea is black tea from India or green tea from China. In addition, the white tea and the herbal tea have prevailed in taste and effect. Well-brewed tea in the morning even replaces the otherwise popular coffee in many countries.
The preparation is important, because there are a few things to consider for a perfect infusion. In addition to the temperature and steeping time, the dosage of the tea is important. For some tea lovers, origin or the special cultivation play an important role.
Organic tea & Fairtrade varieties are evidence of high quality processing and sustainable cultivation.
In the following guide you will learn more about the process of making the right tea, the different varieties, origins and the special features of some teas. You too will find your greatest pleasure among the three delicious tea recipes.

Tea preparation - everything about brewing time, amount of tea and keeping it warm

Each type of tea has different requirements when it comes to preparation. If the brewed drink does not taste good, it may have been due to the temperature or the wrong brewing technique. In addition to the accessories, the most important points for a perfect tea are the amount of tea, the brewing time and the temperature of the water.

The right temperatures and brewing times

Every tea must be infused with hot water so that its taste and aroma develop properly. The tea leaves slowly release the tannins into the surrounding water. The caffeine or teine, for example, takes two to three minutes to develop. In addition, the infusion needs some time to get the right taste. Here it depends on the personal wishes. If tea is steeped for a long time, it has a calming effect on the stomach and intestines. Teas with shorter brewing times are all the more invigorating to enjoy. But be careful: the soothing tannins of the tea quickly make it taste bitter. Black tea must therefore not steep longer than five minutes. A great tasting black tea has a steeping time of about three minutes. The water temperature also plays an important role. While black tea should be infused with boiling water, water at around 70 degrees Celsius is sufficient for green tea. It is important that the water has boiled beforehand and should then cool down to 70 ° C.
Tea infuses in a tea infuser

Tea infuser, paper filter or cotton net - differences in preparation

Different techniques have proven themselves for the preparation of loose tea leaves. The advantage of these aids: They filter large parts of the water and the brewed leaves can be easily removed. Tea eggs are made of metal and can be compared to a completely closed sieve. The water penetrates the tea infuser and brews the tea leaves inside. The only disadvantage is the small size of the sieve. The tea infuser is sufficient for smaller cups, other filters must be used for a pot of tea. Cotton nets are much larger and gently pick up the tea leaves. Since they can be used multiple times, there should be a separate network for each type of tea. Every tea gives off the taste not only to the water, but also to the substance. Alternatively, paper filters can be used. They are just as practical and much more hygienic to use. Just throw it away after use and enjoy the tea.

Amount of tea: how much tea or tea leaves do you need?

Units of measurement are very subjective in this area. If the tea is to taste strong and aromatic, larger quantities are of course used. In addition, the tea itself shows itself differently in structure, volume and weight, so that a uniform measure is not advisable. Teas with smaller leaves require a shorter steeping time because the structure offers more surface for the water. Here one speaks of tea with a small leaf degree. The rule in this case is one teaspoon per cup. With larger leaf sizes and whole tea leaves, significantly different portions are required. The varieties are less productive and should be given a suitable infusion time. Trying it out is by far the best rule that can be found in this context. There are no precise guidelines when it comes to personal taste. Some varieties taste much better than others with twice the amount of leaves. Everyone decides for themselves which amount makes sense for which variety.

The best tea water - tap, filtered water or mineral water

No tea without water. But does it really depend on the water quality? Fresh and pure spring water also enhances a high-quality tea. Poor water quality can be seen in the taste and in the worst case it spoils the tea. But ultimately the type of tea determines which water is used. With a bad or inferior type of tea, the water quality plays a lesser role. In addition, the water should have boiled before brewing. Due to the intense heating and bubbling during boiling, lime deposits and chlorine in the water escapes. This increases the quality of tap water again. The problem: If you boil the water too long, important minerals also escape. Water filters reduce the chlorine content and other particles as soon as they are removed. This means that the water does not have to be brought to the boil for a long time. Areas with very hard water use mineral water bottles. In this case, of course, you can only use still water. Finally, like the amount of tea, personal taste is what counts here too. Connoisseurs appreciate the water quality of precious teas.

Special features: tea with sweeteners or milk

One can no longer argue about the harmful effects of sugar or sweeteners in tea. Sugar affects your metabolism, promotes tooth decay and is bad for your immune system. For this reason, adding sweeteners to tea is less advisable. Green tea has a special status here. According to kinesiological testing, the effect of green tea with sweeteners, including honey, is partially canceled out. Green tea should therefore always be drunk without adding any sweetness. The same applies to milk. It reduces important ingredients in green tea. In black tea, on the other hand, milk is a tradition. Most Britons drink their tea with milk to make it a little milder. Similar to coffee, the milk neutralizes the bitter substances in black tea and makes it tastier.

Loose tea or bag tea?

Connoisseurs agree on this question: loose tea is the better option. Bag tea, on the other hand, is said to be of significantly poorer quality. For many centuries, tea has been made in portions with tea leaves or loose parts of the plant. Since the leaf size is significantly larger, it can be dosed individually and is a bit more expensive. Tea bags, on the other hand, are practical and suitable for everyday use. The bag is already dosed with hot water poured over it. Environmentally conscious tea drinkers should always make sure that bag tea is a bag without a metal clip. These tea bags are completely compostable and safe to dispose of in organic waste. Loose tea stands for the real treat. The dosage can be adapted to your own requirements and the respective type of tea. There is no precise dosage rule here. The tea tastes particularly intense when brewed directly with fresh leaves.

Correctly keeping warm after preparation

Keeping it warm determines the further development of the aroma and taste of the tea. Each teapot should be preheated with hot water before decanting. Otherwise the tea cools down too quickly and loses its intensity due to a lack of temperature. A commonly used method of keeping food warm is the thermos. However, it causes an enormous loss of flavor. Another option is to keep the teapot warm over a candle flame. However, the temperature supply is difficult to regulate. In the worst case, the tea will continue to boil and completely change the taste in a short time. The bitter substances released then have an even more intense effect. If you don't want to do without the so-called warmer, you have to ensure that there is sufficient distance between the flame and the jug. One of the best solutions comes from ancient China. The classic way of keeping warm works here using a lined basket. The teapot is in a container lined with wool felt so that only the spout can be seen. A felt-coated porcelain pot makes the process much easier, but it is not visually appealing for everyone. The size of the jug is inconspicuous and yet effective. With a quantity of about 0.5 liters, the tea is drunk before it cools down. A so-called lidded cup was particularly used in ancient China. Simply add hot water and enjoy the tea fresh from the cup.

The most popular types of tea at a glance

different types of tea infused in teacups

Black tea

Black tea is one of the most famous types of tea and has a long tradition. Divided into different types, the most important thing here is the processing of the dark tea leaves. The most important products in this area are Assam tea, Ceylon tea and Darjeeling. In the case of East Frisian tea, which is known in Germany, for example, many types of black tea are mixed together. The secret to black tea is the infusion. The tea must not steep too long, otherwise bitter substances are formed. After 5 to 10 minutes of steeping time, it has been able to develop its aroma and has a calming or stimulating effect. In Great Britain, black tea is drunk with milk. Other traditions associate tea with sugar, rock candy, cream or even lemon. The cold winter months even allow some rum as an encore.

Green tea

The production of green tea is much more complex than black tea. It is not fermented, but only roasted, rolled and then dried. These are the very young leaves of the plant that are selected by hand. When it comes to preparation, green tea is similar to black tea. Simply pour hot water over the tea leaves in a preheated pot. The brewing time can last a little longer here. After the tea has reached a pleasant light green color, it is poured through a sieve. Many tea connoisseurs enjoy pure green tea without any other additives. First grown in China, the country is still one of the main growing areas for tea. With more than a thousand different varieties, it has a special variety.

White tea

When preparing the tea, special attention must be paid to the water temperature. At best, let the water boil up to the boil and then cool it back down to 70 to 80 ° C. Temperatures that are too high destroy important ingredients in tea and affect the taste. The dosage is up to you and should be selected individually. White tea leaves do not sink to the bottom in the pot when they are soaked. In addition, the tea does not taste bitter even after a long brewing time. Depending on the variety, a steeping time of between two and five minutes is recommended.
The white tea originally comes from China and is still grown here today. Due to the sweetish mild taste, this type of tea has made itself particularly stout.

herbal tea

Most herbal teas are refined with additional aromas and therefore have an aromatic taste. Particularly popular herbal teas include peppermint, chamomile, elderflower, rose hip or lemon balm. Each herb has beneficial powers in its own way. Depending on the desired effect, attention must also be paid to the preparation of the herbal tea. Some mixtures are available ready-made in stores. Others need to be brought together beforehand. The tea is usually filled into a bag or a sieve and then poured with hot water. After an individual brewing time, the tea is ready to be enjoyed. When it comes to the amount itself, it also depends on personal preference. The more tea is used, the more intense the mixture will later appear in the taste. Tea made from fresh herbs, such as mint, must not steep for too long.

Rooibos tea

Rooibos tea is growing in popularity because it is milder than coffee or black tea. It is also known as rooibos tea, rooibos tea or rooibos tea and comes from a gorse-like shrub. The origin of this type of tea is the South African Cedarber region. Here the shrub thrives on particularly sandy soil. The tea is ultimately made from the cut and then fermented branches. In the case of green rooibos tea, fermentation was omitted. In addition to a pleasantly mild taste, the tea serves as a calming and high-calorie drink without caffeine. This makes it popular even with children and can contain a number of minerals and trace elements. A heaped teaspoon per cup, which is scalded with hot water at 90 to 95 degrees, is sufficient for preparation. After a steeping time of 6 to 12 minutes, the tea is ready to be enjoyed.

Fruit tea

Fruit tea is a true classic and one of the most popular teas among children. Instead of being made from "real" tea leaves, the teas are made up of the components of various fruits. This tea is therefore also known as a fruit blend. By brewing with hot water, vitamins and aromas are removed from the fruits and pass into the tea. This gives it its particularly fruity taste without any caffeine or teine. Fruit teas are delicious soft drinks cold or hot in a wide variety of types or combinations. In order for the fruit tea to be of the right quality, the individual components must be processed gently and naturally. Due to pesticides or industrial processing, the teas lose a large part of their effectiveness. Since the fruits do not release their components so quickly in hot water, fruit teas must steep for at least five minutes.

Green tea - Japan as a growing area

In Japan, too, green tea has a long tradition. The varieties of the well-known growing areas Shizuoka (at the foot of the Fujijama) and Kagoshima are mostly steamed and have a grassy to fresh note. The roasted varieties from China are known for their flowery but slightly tart and smoky taste. The most popular types of green tea (only green tea is produced in Japan) from Japan are Sencha, Shincha and Gyokuro.
Other important tea gardens can be found in Kyoto, Saga, Fukuoka, Saitama and Nara.

Tea: origin and history

There are many legends and stories about the origin of tea. The first bushes are said to have been found in ancient China. However, no year is known. One of the most famous stories goes back to Emperor Shen-Nung. He always drank boiled water until the wind blew a tea leaf into his cup. Shen-Nung was sitting right under a tea tree and enjoying the tasty drink. The refreshing and invigorating effect made him so enthusiastic that he wanted to drink more of the tea. Other legends about the discovery of the tea plant come from India. What is certain, however, is that as early as the beginning of the 3rd century BC Chr. Tea was drunk in China. Mainly used as medicine and as a strengthening drink, tea has grown in popularity. Grown on large plantations, it finally came into fashion and was no longer only used for medicinal purposes. The first custom was to offer tea to one's own guests. However, there were different methods of preparation. How tea is still made today comes from the Ming Dynasty between 1368 and 1644.
From China the tea found its way to Japan. According to legend, Buddhist monks brought it to Japan around 801 BC. The tea was then grown in the monastery gardens until a true tea culture emerged. The first tea ceremonies were held in the Zen monasteries of Japan. The T'ang dynasty in 1440 is an important epoch in the development of tea. A Chinese sailed to Japan to grow green tea for the first time. He settled in Ureshino, where the first Japanese teas were made. In addition, the oldest tea tree in Japan can be found here with a proud age of 350 years. Europe only got the tea much later. The first shiploads arrived in Holland at the beginning of the 17th century. Holland had supremacy here.The country was considered the only tea importer in all of Europe for over 50 years. Many countries were passionate coffee drinkers who found it very difficult to be convinced of the new drink.
England began importing tea itself in 1669. The East India Company had the trade monopoly here, which continued until 1833. However, the British's dependence on Chinese traders was a thorn in the side. First plant trials were carried out in order to be able to grow tea by oneself. There are cultivation options in India, for example. However, the English lacked the knowledge to cultivate and process the tea correctly. The botanist Robert Fortune disguised himself as a Chinese merchant and was the first industrial spy of his kind. He learned everything about tea and passed it on to England. From here the tea was successfully brought to America.
In connection with the enormous taxation on tea, the Boston Tea Party should be mentioned. The dispute has pushed the independence movement even further. To this day, Americans cannot particularly approve of tea and are truly a nation of coffee drinkers. In Germany too, coffee consumption is significantly higher than tea consumption. The East Frisians are a true tea party. Today you consume about 2-3 kg per year. The most popular tea is the black tea, whereby the green tea and white tea slowly gained acceptance.

Organic tea & fair trade

The quality of organic tea is based on controlled organic cultivation. This means that there is no need for spraying agents or pesticides, with due consideration for nature. The soil needs sufficient nutrients to allow the plants to grow vigorously. Organic farming is therefore much more complex and requires a certain start-up phase.
An ecological and above all sustainable agriculture is in the foreground when growing organic tea. The cultivation is linked to certain requirements, so that, for example, no genetically modified seeds are used. The planting of the tea must not have any adverse effects on the ecosystem and is done in harmony with nature. However, not all organic products are the same. If it is a natural or all-natural tea, organic cultivation does not have to be guaranteed at the same time. When buying organic tea, you should therefore always check the background.
With Fairtrade tea, attention is paid to increasingly better conditions for the tea pickers. Due to the extremely low price on the world market, the working conditions on the tea plantations have deteriorated. The workers receive a low income and are only provided for in terms of their basic needs, which means accommodation, health care and drinking water. For low production costs on the side of the plantation owners, the lives of the employees are kept at a low level.
Fairtrade certified plantations must comply with various standards. The workers receive a wage that meets the minimum requirements of local laws. In addition, there are Fairtrade premiums that flow into community projects. This includes, for example, investing in health care or building schools. The organizations determine together with the local people what is needed for a better working and living situation. When you buy Fairtrade tea, you support these organizations and help the workers and their families.

Three delicious tea recipes

Tea provides the basis for many delicious recipes. Whether the refreshing iced tea in summer, the chai latte or the matcha tea - every tea can be refined with the right ingredients. Iced tea is popular with children and adults alike and likes to drink peach or lemon. If you pay attention to the ingredients and want to make the drinks to your own taste, you can use the following recipes as a basis.

Ice tea - natural and refreshing

Iced tea is the right soft drink for hot summer days. In the classic form, it consists of black tea with a little lemon and sugar. Other recipes use green tea, herbal tea or fruit tea. Instead of sugar, the iced tea is also a little sweeter with fruit juice. For a classic recipe you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1⁄2 l of water
  • 50 g black tea
  • 2 lemons
  • 4 sprigs of lemon balm
  • 1 liter of ice cubes

With black tea, a little more tea leaves have to be used, as the ice cubes dilute the brewed tea a little. Caution: Do not let the tea steep longer for more intensity. Otherwise it will be too bitter. The iced tea must also cool down as quickly as possible so that the bitter substances cannot spread. After cooling, the tea should be stored in the refrigerator. Warm tea quickly turns cloudy in the refrigerator. Once the iced tea has become cloudy, simply add hot water. So the drink clears up again. For example, you can use sugar in hot tea to sweeten it. If the tea is already cold, the sugar does not dissolve as well. Syrup or fruit juice has a similar effect. The lemon is particularly refreshing in this recipe. One last tip: always enjoy the iced tea fresh.

Chai Latte - hot drink for autumn and winter

Ingredients:

  • 400 - 500 ml chai tea
  • 100-200 ml milk
  • Vanilla sugar or sugar
  • honey
  • cinnamon
  • cardamom
  • ginger
  • nutmeg

Bring the water to a boil and then pour it over the chai tea. Pay attention to a slightly longer brewing time. Since milk is added, the tea should retain its aroma. How long the tea ultimately has to steep depends on the leaves used. Meanwhile, season some milk at your own discretion. Honey, sugar, cinnamon and other mixtures make the Chai Latte so special. Everyone should decide for themselves what affects their own taste. Then lather up with a hand blender. By frothing the chai latte becomes much looser and tastier. If you are unsure about the spice mixture, you should add sugar, cinnamon and a little honey to the milk to start with. Before adding the milk, you should taste the tea yourself. If it has become too bitter, it can be sweetened. Then put the milk in the mug and stir gently. The soothing and warming hot drink for frosty seasons is ready.

Matcha tea - the highest art of tea preparation

Matcha tea is used in various drinks and dishes. In its basic form, it is ideal for hot and cold drinks as well as desserts and other dishes. The matcha powder itself makes the tea so special and is a basic ingredient in every recipe. The right amount depends on personal feelings. The richer and darker the green tone of the tea, the more intense it tastes. For the original matcha you need the following ingredients:

  • Matcha
  • Bamboo whisk
  • Bamboo spoon
  • Matcha bowl
  • Water 80 ° C

With the classic preparation, add about 1-2 spoons of matcha to the bowl. This corresponds to about 1-2 grams. Then pour 100 ml of hot water into the powder. With the small bamboo whisk, beat the powder with the water until frothy. There should be no more lumps to be seen. The trick: the broom should only come into contact with the water. He must not touch the bottom of the bowl and sweep the powder up too much. This is the only way to make the tea typically frothy. If the mixture has become too strong, the matcha can be diluted with more water. Other variations and recipes would be, for example, iced tea, matcha latte or a matcha smoothie.

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