Skills: Infusing Fine Tea
Fine loose tea is a skill, and art and a pleasure. Drinking fine loose leaf separates the ordinary tea drinker from the aficionado; and I would love have you in the aficionado camp. Here’s my essential guide so you can expertly infuse fine tea with style.
Firstly, select a tea from your collection. The label on each bottle has the tasting notes, batch details and (most importantly for this article) the infusion specifications. These specs tell you the:
- Leaf weight in grams or teaspoons
- Water temperature
- Infusion time
Here we’ve chosen the Himalayan Evergreen Spring 2015 from Jun Chiyabari garden in Nepal, for which we recommend:
- 3g of leaf per 150ml (which is a glass measure or classic teacup)
- 70ºC water
- 3 minutes of infusion time
Choose your infusion vessel. Our advice is to avoid metal which often keeps the flavour of the previous contents and can give a metallic taste to the tea. For an all round vessel, glazed bone china or porcelain is best. That’s why we designed the Aurora (above); a single serving vessel made in England from fine bone china.
Measure the leaf. You can use the teaspoon guide; however, the best technique is to weigh. Leaves come in a variety of styles and shapes and the larger ones will barely sit on a spoon. Weighing is accurate and you’ll have the correct amount of leaf each time. As you can see, we’ve weighed 3.03g. A small variation from the exact weight is perfectly acceptable.
Pre-warm the vessel with some hot water and place the leaves inside. You’ll already smell the aromas lifting from the warming leaves.
Add the water at the correct temperature (in this case 70ºC), pouring just off the leaves so as to avoid shocking them. Thankfully, temperature kettles are widely available and take the guesswork out of heating water.
When you add water to a cold vessel, its temperature drops significantly. Pre-warming the vessel in the previous step means the water from your kettle won’t drop in temperature too much when it hits the vessel.
The Aurora has a fill line showing 150ml and 200ml.
Close the lid and relax. Leave the tea to infuse for the correct time. For this tea, it’s 3 minutes.
Pour; hold the rim and lid of the Aurora and decant the glorious crystal-green tea. The Aurora will keep the leaves in the vessel without needing a strainer. Remember to decant all of the liquid and avoid the leaves over-infusing. This is why a single serving vessel is perfect.
Sit back and enjoy. The pleasure of fine tea is in the taste of the tea and the aroma of the leaves. Open the lid and smell the aromas. The tea is perfectly infused and the leaves are safe and dry, ready for the next infusion.