All tea is derived from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. The difference in the various types of teas lies in how it is processed, which in turn affects how it should be prepared. Making a flavorful cup of tea is not difficult. There are just a few simple guidelines:
Generally, 1½ tsp loose tea/8 oz water
Brewing Hot Tea
Black: Heat water until boiling (212ºF). Steep 3-5 minutes.
Oolong: Heat water until just boiling (212ºF). Steep 3-5 minutes.
Pu-erh: Heat water until boiling (212ºF). Steep 5-15 minutes.
Green: Heat water until just before boiling (180ºF). Steep 1-3 minutes.
White: Heat water until just before boiling (180ºF). Steep 30 seconds to 2 minutes.
Tisane: Heat water until boiling (212ºF). Steep 5 minutes.
*Note about water from espresso machines: The water temperature varies between machines. Measure the temperature. If the water is boiling (212ºF), then it is perfect for black teas and tisanes, but too hot for green tea. If this is the case, wait a few minutes for the water to cool before adding the green tea leaves. If the water temperature is below boiling, (160-180ºF) – this is perfect for green tea. You can also use this for black tea and tisanes, but the brew won’t be as strong.
Brewing Iced Tea
Hot Method: Use ½ the recommended amount of water for the amount of tea. Steep for the recommended time (see above). Remove tea leaves. Add the remaining amount of cold water. Sweeten as necessary and chill.
Cold Method (Black & Herbal Tea): Use the full recommended amount of tea. Add cold water. Steep 1-3 hours. Remove tea leaves. Sweeten as necessary and keep refrigerated. Consume within 3 days.
Cold Method (Green & White Tea): Use the full recommended amount of tea. Add cold water. Steep 30-60 minutes. Remove tea leaves. Sweeten as necessary and keep refrigerated. Consume within 3 days.
Make a tea concentrate by brewing tea in ½ the recommended amount of water. Add steamed milk and foam.
Reducing caffeine content should not be a hindrance to enjoying great tea, and decaffeinating tea can be done easily with minimal effect on flavor and enjoyment. Simply steep the tea for 30-45 seconds in hot water and pour off the liquid. Then add hot water and steep in the manner you would normally use to brew a cup of that tea. 80-90% of the caffeine will be released into the brief infusion and subsequent infusions will have minimal amounts of caffeine. Flavor and aroma will not be sacrificed.