Cacao Tea Co.

The Complete Guide to Brewing Tea

The Complete Guide to Brewing Tea

Brewing a cup of tea is an excellent way to start your morning or unwind at the end of a long day. If you are used to grabbing your tea in a to-go cup from a coffee shop or just throwing a tea bag in a mug, you might be intimidated by loose leaf tea and how to make the perfect cup. Once you learn the basics, making tea is easy and fun and much more affordable than buying it at a coffee shop.

In this article we will discuss how to make tea, clear up some misconceptions about making tea, and introduce a delicious and healthy ancient tea you may have never heard of before called cacao tea. We’ll also discuss several ways to brew a delicious cup of cacao husk tea.

How to Brew Tea

Making tea is a simple exercise that can be elevated by using high-quality tea and following a few simple steps:

Warm your teapot and mugs
Fill your teapot and cups with boiling water and let sit for a couple minutes before pouring the water out.

Use only cold water (filtered is preferred)
Fill your kettle with cold, filtered water for best results. Boiling hot tap water or unfiltered water will result in a less delicious cup of tea.

Choose the correct temperature for the water
Certain tea leaves will burn when brewed with water that is too hot, while other leaves will not release their full flavor when brewed in water that is too cool. Water temperature matters!

Use 1 to 2 teaspoons of loose leaf tea per 8 ounces of water
Experiment between using 1 or 2 teaspoons of loose leaf tea to discover your personal preference.

Steep high-quality loose leaf tea rather than tea bags
Loose leaf tea is better quality than tea bags and just tastes better. You will notice the difference right away.

Set a timer to ensure you steep your tea for the correct amount of time
It is easy to forget how long your tea has been brewing, so use a timer to ensure you do not over steep the tea which will result in a bitter taste. Using a timer also allows you to enjoy a consistently perfect tasting cup every time.

How to Brew Loose Leaf Tea

Brewing loose leaf tea only requires a few simple items easily found in your kitchen:

  • Boiling water
  • Loose leaf tea
  • Teapot or tea steeper
  • Mug
  • Timer

Before we dive into the specific details of how to make the perfect cup of tea, including how much loose leaf tea per cup, how long to steep tea, and the best tea brewing temperature, let’s clear up some common misconceptions about how to make tea.

Water Temperature
Myth: Use boiling water for all teas
Reality: Experts agree that different teas should be brewed with a specific temperature of water in order to extract the best flavor. In general, tea packages will state the best temperature of water to use when brewing that specific tea. The brew time also changes depending on the variety of tea. It is also important to note that for most teas, if you want a stronger brew, you should use more tea leaves rather than letting the tea brew longer.

Loose Leaf Tea versus Tea Bags
Myth: Tea made with tea bags tastes the same as loose leaf tea
Reality: Loose leaf tea will always produce a superior taste to tea bags. Tea in tea bags are the leftover broken pieces of the tea leaf that is collected after whole leaf tea has been processed. On the other hand, loose leaf tea is rolled whole leaf tea. The whole leaf will have much better flavor than the broken bits.

Myth: Making loose leaf tea is harder than using tea bags
Reality: The difference between how to make loose leaf tea and how to make bagged tea all comes down to a handy little tool called a tea steeper. A tea steeper is a metal strainer that fits inside your tea mug and is used with loose leaf tea to separate the leaves from the boiling water. Brewing loose leaf tea is just as easy as making tea with a tea bag and only requires one extra tool.

Amount of Tea
Myth: It is not necessary to measure how much loose leaf tea is being used
Reality: The ratio of how much loose leaf tea per cup is important from a flavor perspective. Use too few leaves and your tea will be weak. Use too many leaves and your tea can become bitter. In general 1 to 2 teaspoons of loose leaf tea per 8 ounces of water is recommended.

Tea Strength
Myth: Stronger tea can be made by letting the tea steep for longer
Reality: While letting your tea steep longer can make the tea stronger, at a certain point the tea will become bitter. Different types of tea have a maximum steep time. If you still find your tea not strong enough after the maximum steep time, add more tea leaves rather than steeping for longer. This will produce the best tasting cup of tea.

What is Steeping
Myth: Steeped tea is a special type of tea
Reality: Steeping tea simply refers to the process of letting tea leaves sit in hot water for a period of time in order to allow the leaves to release their natural flavors. All types of tea must be steeped to brew a perfect cup of tea. How long to steep tea will depend on the type of tea which will be discussed next.

Guidelines For Making Tea

Follow our handy chart below for some general guidelines to follow for the best way to make tea.

Teaspoons refers to how much loose leaf tea per cup
Brew time refers to how long to steep tea
Temperature refers to the best tea brewing temperature

For reference, the boiling point of water is 212 degrees Fahrenheit (F).

Black Tea
Teaspoons: 1-2
Brew time: 3-5 minutes
Temperature: 200 to 212° F

Oolong Tea
Teaspoons: 1-2
Brew time: 3-5 minutes
Temperature: 180 to 190° F

Green Tea
Teaspoons: 1-2
Brew time: 1-3 minutes
Temperature: 150 to 180° F

White Tea
Teaspoons: 1-2
Brew time: 3-4 minutes
Temperature: 170 to 180° F

Rooibos Tea
Teaspoons: 1-2
Brew time: 3-5 minutes
Temperature: 200 to 212° F

Herbal Tea
Teaspoons: 1-2
Brew time: 3-5 minutes
Temperature: 190 to 212° F

Cacao Husk Tea
Teaspoons: 1-2
Brew time: 6-8 minutes
Temperature: 212° F

A Different Take on Tea: Cacao Husk Tea

Cacao husk tea is a unique drink in that it has a delicious chocolate flavor and a natural sweetness despite containing no sugar, carbohydrates or fat. The 100% pure tea is made from loose-leaf cacao husks (also known as cacao shells) which surround the cacao bean. Cacao tea is also gluten and dairy free. As a result, cacao husk tea provides an excellent replacement for regular tea and coffee and offers a great alternative to satisfying your chocolate cravings without any of the guilt.

Cacao tea (also known as chocolate tea or cocoa tea) can be brewed several different ways depending on your desired outcome or preference. No matter how you make it, cacao tea is a delicious treat that can be enjoyed any time of day.

How to Brew Cacao Tea

Like most teas, cacao husk tea is straightforward to make at home. You will need a few simple items easily found in your kitchen.

Boiling Water
Ensure your water is boiling hot (212° F) to extract the most flavor out of the cacao husks. Consider using filtered water for best results. Whether filling your kettle or water filter, be sure to always use fresh, cold water from the tap and never use hot water. Let the tap water run for a few seconds to ensure the water is cold. This will help release the full flavor of the husks when steeped.

Start with Cold Water
It may seem intuitive, but the science is clear that, as noted above, you should always make tea by boiling fresh cold water, rather than using warm or hot water from the tap. There are two reasons for this. First, hot water generally does not have a very good taste. Cold tap water generally comes directly from your local water plant, whereas hot tap water is stored in hot water heaters, which are made of industrial grade metal and can leave a metallic taste in your water. In addition, while your water is stored in your hot water heater, it can absorb minerals and sediment that can accumulate in the water heater over time.

The second reason is that there is generally less dissolved oxygen in hot water than cold water, and water (and tea) is tastier when it has more oxygen in it. The colder a liquid, the more gas it can dissolve or "contain". As a result, a cold glass of water has more oxygen stored in it than a warm glass of water. At higher temperatures, the water is less soluble to air, which is primarily nitrogen and oxygen. When water is hot or warm, the molecules in the water move faster, making the water less soluble. Accordingly, for hot water, which is less soluble than cold water, more dissolved oxygen is released.

So, in summary, make sure you boil your water from scratch using cold water. The colder the better!

Cacao Husks
Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of husks per 8 ounces of water. You can also add more husks for a richer flavor. Make sure your cacao husks are 100% pure with no additives or flavoring. Watch out for preservatives and sugars on the ingredients label!

Tea Strainer or French Press
Like most teas, the husks are not meant to be consumed and can easily be separated from the tea with a tea steeper or french press.

Mug
Grab your favorite big mug and get ready to sip on a little slice of chocolate heaven!

Condiments (optional)
We think cacao tea tastes great on its own, but you can also add cream, milk, milk alternatives, or sugar to your tea depending on your preference.

How to Make the Best Cup

The most common way to brew loose leaf tea is to add the tea leaves to a tea pot or tea steeper. However, there are many different ways to brew cacao tea depending on the desired outcome. Some methods are better for brewing a stronger tea, while others are fast and simple when time is limited. There are also different approaches you can take for how to brew hot tea versus cold cacao tea.

    1. Stovetop 

      For the most chocolatey and intense flavor, try the stovetop method. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of husks per 8 ounces of water to a pot, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, leave the pot covered, and let the tea simmer for 7 to 10 minutes, or longer if you prefer a stronger brew. Once done, turn off the stove, remove the pot from the heat and pour the tea into a french press or through a tea strainer to separate the husks from the tea and enjoy.

        2. Mug

          Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of husks to a tea steeper or strainer in your favorite mug and add boiling water. Make sure to cover the mug (this is necessary to keep the water hot, which helps extract the chocolate flavour) and let the tea steep for 6 to 8 minutes, or longer if you prefer a stronger brew. Remove the cover and strainer and enjoy!

            3. Teapot

              Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of husks per 8 ounces of boiling water to a teapot. Cover and let steep for 6 to 8 minutes, or longer if you prefer a stronger brew. If you own a tea cozy, add that over the teapot for best results. Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy!

                4. French Press

                  Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of husks per 8 ounces of water to your french press. Fill the press with boiling water, put the plunger back on the press without pushing it down, and let the tea steep for 6 to 8 minutes, or longer if you prefer a stronger brew. Gently push down the plunger until it reaches the bottom of the press, pour the tea into your favorite mug, and enjoy.

                    5. Electric Pressure Cooker 

                      If you own an electric pressure cooker and want to make a larger batch of cacao tea, try using this method. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of husks per 8 ounces of water to the pressure cooker, cover and lock, and set the pressure to high for 5 minutes. Let the pressure cooker depressurize naturally, strain the tea, and serve hot. This method will produce the most chocolatey and intense flavor, similar to the stovetop method.

                        6. Cold Brew

                          If you would like to enjoy your cacao tea cold you can either refrigerate tea made with any of the methods above, or you can try the cold brew method. To make cold brew cacao tea, add 2-4 teaspoons of husks per 8 ounces of water to a mason jar and top with cold water. Cover the jar and let sit at room temperature for 16 hours. Strain the husks and add the cold brew tea to a glass with ice and enjoy! Refrigerate any leftover cold brew tea once strained.

                          Condiments

                          Just like tea or coffee, you can add various condiments to your cocoa tea depending on your preference.

                          Sweetener
                          If you would like to sweeten your cacao tea, we recommend brown or coconut sugar. Both sugars provide a caramel-like sweetness that pairs well with the chocolate flavors of the tea. You can also try honey, stevia or white sugar!

                          Creamer
                          Cacao tea pairs well with cream, milk or your favorite milk alternative (mylk). We love the taste of almond or coconut milk with cacao tea! 

                          Spice
                          If you want to enhance the flavour of your cacao tea, try adding a dash of cinnamon.

                          When to Enjoy Cacao Tea

                          Cacao tea is a delicious, chocolatey tea that can be enjoyed any time of day. While cacao tea is caffeine free, cacao husks contain theobromine, which is a naturally occurring stimulant similar to caffeine. Theobromine has a gentle slow-release effect, which provides a delicate stimulating effect over a longer period of time. For this reason you may want to try cacao tea earlier in the day and avoid sipping on the tea before bed. You can also experiment with drinking the tea later in the day to see if it affects your sleep at all. Many people find theobromine does not disrupt their sleep in the same way caffeine does.

                          Final Thoughts

                          Whatever the variety, tea is a delicious beverage that can be enjoyed any time of year. Loose leaf teas tend to make the best cup of tea as opposed to tea bags. Following the information and steps in this post will allow you to brew the perfect cup of tea every time.

                          Cacao tea is the perfect natural alternative to regular tea or coffee. Cacao tea has a tantalizing chocolate flavour and aroma with delicate notes of caramel and toffee. Reach for this tea when you are looking for a healthy pick-me-up with no sugar or calories. Now you can have your chocolate and drink it too!

                          If you are searching for a 100% pure and organic version of cacao tea that is completely sugar-free, caffeine-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and GMO-free with no artificial flavouring, additives or preservatives, try ordering the cacao tea from Cacao Tea Co. A 4 oz. bag will make 14 to 28 servings depending how strong you like your tea (1 teaspoon per serving).

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