Brewing the perfect cup of tea has been an obsessive pursuit of cultures throughout the world. The Chinese were the first to begin brewing tea nearly five thousand years ago and the complex brew with its storied history has captured the hearts and excited the palates of countless tea lovers ever since.

There are universal steps that can be followed to achieve an impeccable cup of tea, but it should be noted that achieving it also depends upon the type of tea leaf you are using. White, green, oolong, and black tea each have optimal water to tea ratios, temperatures, and steeping times that, if adhered to, will have you well on your way to teatime nirvana.

For white tea, two or more teaspoons of tea to one cup of water brewed at 160℉ for one to two minutes is ideal. Use one to two teaspoons of green tea to cups of water at 180℉ for three to five minutes. A ratio of one to two teaspoons of oolong tea to one cup of water steeped at 175℉ for one to three minutes should be adhered to. For black tea, one teaspoon of tea to one cup of water brewed at 200℉ for between three to five minutes will suffice.

  1. Collect your equipment: a stainless-steel tea infuser if you’re not using a tea bag, your favorite mug, and spring or distilled water.
  2. Heat the water in a pot or kettle to the tea variety’s ideal steeping temperature. Water that is too hot will diminish the tea’s flavor.
  3. Place the infuser or the bag into the mug and pour the hot water over it. Note that if you’re using a tea bag, the ratio of tea is typically suited for one cup of water.
  4. Let the tea steep. Increasing the tea steeping time can lead to bitterness. If you prefer a stronger cup of tea, increase the amount of tea leaves that are used instead.
  5. Remove the infuser or bag. Stir milk, sugar, or honey into the mug, if desired, and enjoy.

And tea isn’t just for drinking, as these recipes attest.

Spicy Cider
This unique cocktail combines the nuanced attributes of tea and apple cider with a splash of rum, spicy hint of cinnamon, and brightness of clementines. Get the recipe.

Poached Pears with Goat Cheese and Puff Pastry

Savvy Eats

Pears are made tender and sweet by poaching them in slightly sweetened tea before adding them to appetizers comprised of tangy goat cheese and buttery puff pastry. Get the recipe.

Green Tea Chicken Soup

Dr. Axe

The healing properties of green tea combined with the comforting elixir of chicken broth make this a go-to recipe that will warm you up from the inside out. Get the recipe.

Tea Marinated Chicken
Notes of Asia are infused into this unique recipe featuring tea-marinated chicken breasts as healthful as they are flavorful. Get the recipe.

Blackberry and Earl Grey Tea Pocket Pies

Sunday Public

Earl Grey ramps up the sophistication level in these fun and elegant pies. The blackberries can be substituted for whatever berries are in season. Get the recipe.

Chai Tea and Latte Popsicles

Sprinkled With Jules

Summer is popsicle season and what better way to ratchet up their elegance than with a recipe combining the spicy virtues of chai tea with the silky creaminess of milk and heavy cream. Get the recipe.

— Head photo: Pixabay.

Jody Eddy is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan. She has cooked at Jean Georges, The Fat Duck, and Tabla and is the former editor of Art Culinaire Magazine. Her most recent cookbook was "Cuba! Recipes and Stories From a Cuban Kitchen", published by Ten Speed Press. Her cookbook "North: The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland" was published by Ten Speed Press in 2014 and won the 2015 IACP Judge's Choice Award. She is the author of the James Beard nominated cookbook "Come In, We're Closed: An Invitation to Staff Meals at the World's Best Restaurants" and her upcoming book for Ten Speed, "The Hygge Life", will be published in November, 2017. She is writing a cookbook for W.W. Norton profiling the cuisine and food traditions of monasteries, temples, mosques and synagogues around the world which will be published in 2019 and a cookbook with the Food Network chef Maneet Chauhan profiling the cuisine of India via an epic train journey throughout the country. She writes for Travel+Leisure, Saveur, Food & Wine, The Wall Street Journal, Plate, and VICE, among others. She is the author of, leads culinary trend tours for food and beverage corporations in Iceland, Peru, Mexico, Ireland and Cuba and is the Vice President of Marketing, Partnerships and Events at Hop Springs, an 85 acre agritourism destination opening in Nashville in May, 2018.
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