How much tea leaves should you use to brew a cup?
Andre: This comes down to taste preferences. In general, 1 heaping tsp should be a good amount for people to start with. There are tea experts that will say one should measure the exact amount of tea by using a gram scale. That works too - however, for the casual tea drinkers, 1 heaping tsp is a good general rule of thumb. Some Japanese teas call for more tea, and some Chinese teas call for less tea. It really boils down (no pun intended) to taste preference.
How does water temperature affect flavor?
Andre: As you can imagine, not all teas are prepared in the same way. Different teas require different temperatures, which is necessary to bring out the individual elements of the tea - its flavor, aroma, compounds, oils, and more. Too hot and you can actually burn the tea leaves which can destroy the flavor, taste and health benefits of the tea. Too cold and you don't release all the antioxidant and health-promoting compounds contained in the tea. Therefore, the correct water temperature when brewing tea is very important.
There are a ton of adjustable tea kettles that make maintaining the perfect temperature more simple. I'd recommend anyone into tea (and coffee) grab an electric kettle. You can learn more about how to perfectly brew Japanese tea here.
Photo courtesy of Marisa Davies of @tea.from.above.
What are some recommended water temperatures and steep times?
Marisa: With my Brewista kettle I can use the exact water temperature required for the many types of tea I drink. Below are a few of my favorite cuppas. However, always check the brewing recommendations on the packaging as they can vary quite a bit. Also, I always use filtered water - it tastes better and prevents limescale in my kettle!
Black Tea: Albion Tea (a mix of Assam and Kenyan)
Sencha Green Tea