So last week was quite a busy one in Cornwall working at Expowest Food & Drink Trade Show. I really enjoy the trade shows as people either other exhibitors or visitors actually want to talk to you about your product & want to hear the ‘extras’ rather than a general farmers market when you’re more there to immediately sell. It was great as there were a few people who really wanted to learn more about tea & wanted me to explain how they could make a better cup of tea. One of the major things that I got into was the temperature of the water & how important that is so I thought that the kettle part of the tea making would be an excellent subject for a quick blog post as its really an underrated element.
As a engagement / valentines present, Josh gave me a kettle. Not just any kettle but a temperature adjusted kettle. Ever so romantic I know, but it seriously was the most amazing thing ever! I posted it immediately on social media & got some comments asking what made it so special. Normal kettles boil to around 100 degrees but my kettle has the adjustments of 70, 80, 90 & 100 degrees. Now why is this so important in tea making? So for the different types of tea you can get, require the appropriate temperature to ensure the prefect brew. Now assuming your making a single cup of loose leaf tea the temperature & time of brewing should be as follow:
Black tea- 95º = 3-5 minutes
Green tea – 75-80º = 2-4 minutes
White tea – 70-75º = 2-3 minutes
As a white leaf tea especially something like Silver Needle is such a delicate tea it can’t have straight boiling water poured over it otherwise you do burn the leaves & deaden the flavour. However something like a English Breakfast can cope with just under boiling temperature & should be brewed for 3 to 5 minutes (not the British average of 17 seconds) to ensure that you get the fuller flavour. But even though there are the recommended times, its how you like the flavour. I can keep my peppermint in for 5+ minutes but with black leaf teas especially a Breakfast Blend I’m a lot more cautious & tend to under brew (but I think I’m yet to find one I really like)
Some extra notes about kettle care – only boil what you need! One you’ll save electricity by not filling it all up. Two by using fresh water each time you’ll get a better flavour as the water won’t have lost oxygen which happens when you reboil water over & over. Then when you’re pouring the water, don’t completely empty the kettle as it can overheat the filament & burning the base of the kettle. Also the type of water you use will most absolutely make a difference in your cup of tea. In Plymouth we have soft water, it makes a nice cup of tea & in the 3 years I had my previous kettle I never needed to descale it. But when I go back to my visit my parents in Dorset, their water is quite chalky so it’s not the nicest of tea & my parents are constantly having to treat theirs.
I’m not saying that everyone needs to get a fancy kettle but if your looking for something to make your tea experience that little bit special its definitely worth it!