Ahhhhh tea…. for a lot of people out there tea is just a bit of hot water, a bag and some milk. You put all these things together and BAM, you got tea. It wasn’t always this way though, oh no! Some years ago, and we mean some! Tea was brewed by boiling water on the fire and then adding freshly picked tea leaves straight to the water. Now days such a process is rarely used, what with everything coming in a nice little package and so on. No need to blame ourselves for enjoying a little of life’s comforts though!
A true stylist in the world of tea may just engage in this original brewing practice though and if you were to ask what they were doing they would simply say “I’m making steeped tea.”
What is tea steeping?
simply put, tea steeping is the process of adding hot water to a cup of whole tea leaves and allowing the water to soften the leaves, releasing their flavour and nutrients.
Where did tea steeping originate
Steeping tea is actually the oldest and original form of brewing tea. There are many stories as to the true origin of tea but all of them follow the idea that ‘steeping’ was the way in which it was first discovered.
Our favourite ‘origins of tea’ story comes from Chinese legend… It has been told that in the year 2737 BC Emperor Shennong (translated to God farmer) was sitting under a tree. The emperor was enjoying some time sipping on a warm relaxing cup of water while gazing out across a vast wild tea valley. A gust of wind swept across the valley and stirred the loose tea leaves up in to the air. One of the leaves floated along and landed in the cup of Emperor shennong which infused with the water. The Emperor took a drink from his cup and was delighted at the taste of his water. He then took the recipe and began to share it with all the people of China
Why it steeping a good method for brewing tea
Whole tea leaves are the bomb! and getting them at their most natural state is a sure way to make sure they are as full of flavour and nutrients as possible. Adding hot water to whole tea leaves ensures you use every available part of the leaf to maximum effect. The stems, which contain the highest amount of L-theanine (perfect for combating stress) and the leaf itself which contains all the antioxidants.
When you are involved in a practice such as brewing tea, using a method which is thousands of years old can give a calming sense. You can feel yourself going back in time to before packaged goods were the norm, when only what you could grow or find was available. You may even feel the soul of Emperor Shennong rising up through the steam and aroma of your tea 😉
How long do I steep my tea leaves
How long is a piece of string? As long as you make it… Well, then how much steeping makes for a good steeped tea? Well… that’s a bit of a harder question to answer. We all enjoy our tea a little different, some like a full flavour and some enjoy it mild. Some people like black tea and some like green while some even prefer Yerba Mate (which isn’t even really a tea!)
with so many variables going into this question, we decided to write up a little starting point guide. This should help get you started in the art of steeping tea, just click here
So that’s what steeped tea is. It is a very traditional form of brewing tea which anyone can incorporate into their practice. Can you imagine how much style you will radiate with a unique teapot and a bunch of fresh, raw tea leaves! It will be the coolest hot tea your friends have ever had!!
Don’t forget to check out our partners in tea for some great, trusted tea producers.
If you have any questions or would like to leave a review then simply leave a comment below and I will answer asap.
All the best and all the tea
Founder of TEA, your style