Improve your brew

Maybe you're new to tea, maybe you've brewed it your whole life. There are so many different ways to make tea, all with their own logic and rituals. At Java Momma, what matters to us most is flavor. No matter what your ritual is, we want to help you get the best flavor out of any tea!

The best tea is made with the best water

Since half of tea flavor is water, it's important to check your water quality. One of the most common causes of weak or bitter tea is reverse osmosis water or distilled water. This is because tea flavor is created by tea leaves bonding with minerals in the water. If there aren't enough minerals in water to bond with, there won't be much flavor.

You may not know that the water in your tap is filtered or reverse osmosis. This is because some buildings have a water filtration system. Some towns use reverse-osmosis processing at their regional water plant.

For the best, brightest tea flavor, we recommend bottled spring water. Filtered water, and in many case tap water, also make great tea. Another thing that may affect tea flavor is residue from cleaning products. Scented dish detergent will leave a scent on mugs, cups, and pots.

If your tea tastes bitter or weak, it may be a water temperature issue.

We've all experienced the awful, mouth-puckering flavor of an overextracted green tea. And we've all had tea so mild that you'd have to call it watery. Here are some tips to make your tea taste its best by controlling water temperature.

Take the edge off your green tea, no sweetener required.

When green tea tastes bitter, it's often because the water was too hot.

Why is that? High temperatures tend to extract more chlorophyll (the chemical responsible for its lovely green color). And chlorophyll has a very bitter flavor.

You may enjoy a bit of bitterness in your green tea. Or you may not like it at all. Getting the temperature right can be an easy flavor upgrade.

We recommend brewing green teas at 175°f / 80°c for the best flavor.

Make your black and herbal teas good and strong.

Another common issue we see is black tea or herbal tea that tastes weak or unbalanced. The culprit is often using water that is too cool. If the water is not at a full boil, it will not extract the most flavor from the tea leaves. For blended teas that have fruit, herbs, seeds, nuts, flowers or honey or caramel, a full boil brew will create an even extraction of all the ingredients.

We recommend brewing black and herbal teas at 212°f / 100°c for the strongest flavor. If you like your black or herbal teas a little milder, try them around 190°f / 90°c.

Try this temperature experiment:

Do a side-by-side taste test to taste how important water temperature is in brewing. Grab two mugs. Using the same amount of the same tea, brew one mug of tea with water at full boil or 212°f, and brew another with steaming water or 176°f. You will most definitely be able to tell the difference!

What’s weak tea for you may be perfect for someone else

A pinch or a pound? A teaspoon or a tablespoon? How strong do you like your tea?

We've all had tea that's weak and watery or way too strong to drink. The issue may lie in the ratio of tea leaves to water.

All measurements are not equal

Measure by weight not by volume

Different teas have different volumes. The best way to brew consistently is to weigh the tea leaves.

Do a side-by-side taste test to experience the difference in tea strength

Measure one scoop of the tea into one infuser. Measure a half a scoop into another mug. Brew both at the recommended temperature for 5 minutes. You should definitely be able to taste the difference in strength. Which do you prefer?

Let's talk about time.

30 second flash infusion, or a long extraction?

We've all had tea that's bitter or too strong. This may be caused by leaving the tea leaves in the water for too long. There are many competing tea traditions that can leave you wondering what is best.

In China and Taiwan, it is customary to make multiple very short infusions at boiling anywhere from 30-60 seconds per infusion.

In Japan, green tea drinkers prefer a shorter extraction for green tea to avoid the bitter flavor from over-extracted chlorophyll (responsible for its green color). The range of infusion time is 60 seconds to 4 minutes.

Many European tea traditions keep tea leaves in the tea pot and only filter the leaves when serving tea.

Like tea to water ratio, infusion time is a way to control tea strength. And since no one but you can say how strong your tea should taste, here's how to play with time to get your tea to be just the right strength.

Click on the links below to see our brew guides:

Black Tea Brew Guide

Green Tea Brew Guide

Herbal/Tisane Brew Guide

Rooibos Brew Guide

White Tea Brew Guide

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