It's all about the water!
I've been doing this brew thing for a while but I'm still guilty of this... overboiling my water!
Water is super underrated in the process to make a perfect cuppa. It can affect the way that your tea can taste, smell and infuse and most of it comes down to the oxygen levels. The way a blend behaves when brewing is a carefully choreographed dance and if it's not right the results can be average at best. The more you boil, the less oxygen in the water, and the harder it is to extract flavour.
Here are my best tips about water and what is ideal for brewing:
Don't over boil! I am the WORST at this because I put the kettle on, walk away to do something while I wait, come back, flick it on again, walk away and so on... Saving water is important but every time the kettle is boiled the oxygen levels drop. If it drops too much the water you brew with can be 'flat' and make your tea lack flavour from poor infusion. Top your kettle up as you need with freshly drawn cold water and save the super boiled stuff for plants or water bottles.
Check your water temperature. Green tea will be scalded and taste bitter with anything over 80 degrees, oolongs need a bit hotter at 90 degrees and black teas and tisanes (herbal) need as hot as you can get (100 degrees) to release flavour. If you don't have a fancy kettle with a variable temp setting, boil the kettle to the end and then flip the lid open for 5 minutes or so to bring the temperature down before brewing. It makes a huge difference in taste when you get it right!
- Are you a teapot user? This one is for you! Swirl your empty teapot with boiling hot water, then discard before brewing, to warm it up. It prevents cracking and damage to the vessel, allows your tea to stay warmer for longer but most importantly gives a much stronger brew as the blend can infuse better in the hot temperature.
See how water can have a major influence over how delicious your tea is? Think about it next time you're ready for a cuppa and see if you notice a change in taste.