Herbal Tea By Simmering
How to Brew Herbal Tea
Getting the most health benefits from your cup of tea is more about the brewing process than the tea itself.
Patience is important. If you are jiggling the tea bag around in the cup for 15-30 seconds, you are probably only getting a fraction of the bioactives you would by following the maker’s instructions.
Brewing with freshly boiled water for two to three minutes, as per the instructions, extracts about 60% of the catechins, 75% of the caffeine and 80% of the L-theanine. The longer you brew the more bioactives you get, but also the stronger the taste. Research has found that brewing for 20-30 minutes at 80°C extracts the maximum level of bioactives, but that’s not really practical for daily life, and probably isn’t very tasty!
Interestingly, the pH of water also impacts the extraction process. Low pH (acidic) water extracts bioactives better than high pH (basic) water. The pH of tap water is about seven, which is neutral, so there might be a benefit to adding lemon with your tea, rather than after its brewed.
Herbal tea temperature
You can brew most herbal teas with boiling water and even simmer in water over a low fire. Therefore, the best temperature to brew tea will be 212°F. However, let the water cool for a second or two in the kettle when it’s boiled. This will reduce a chance of any hard water deposits from tea kettles ending up in your mug or burning yourself with steam.
- Boil fresh spring water in a clean kettle
- Preheat your mug or a teapot by pouring hot water in and out
- Use at least 1 teaspoon of tea leaves per cup of water, or even more with blends that have very big, fluffy leaves
- Add water and cover with a lid or a small saucer if using a mug
- Let it steep for at least 5 minutes
- Find a clean small saucepan with no strong scents.
- Add at least ¾ teaspoon of tea per cup of water into a saucepan.
- Add fresh spring water into a saucepan with tea. If you want to make one cup of tea, use at least 1 ½ cup of water because some of it will evaporate.
- Bring water to a boil over a medium fire, then reduce to low and simmer for another 5-15 minutes.
- Strain and pour into cups.
- Add sweetener if needed.