For so many of us, our desires for food and drink mirror the mood of the season. As the temperature cools, for instance, we tend to reach for warmer foods with earthier and spicier aromatic notes. We might reach for squash soups, pumpkin pies, black teas, and pu erhs, in the hopes of finding the slightest sense of comfort from the cold winter air.
Fortunately, winter comes to an end, and once things start to warm back up, it isn’t long before we find ourselves greeted by blooming spring flowers and graceful butterflies. When this happens, it is not uncommon to find yourself suddenly craving lighter foods and drinks with fruitier or floral scents, such as fresh watermelon, crisp asparagus, or even green and white teas.
So how can you make the most of this transition to spring?
Here are two of the most important tips for preparing the perfect cup of tea in the spring and summer!
Mind Your Teaware
Spring and summer are the perfect times to use more delicate teaware. When you prepare tea at lower temperatures and use teaware made of thinner materials—such as fine artisanal porcelain—you’ll discover that your drink will cool down much faster, making it more convenient and pleasant to sip.
As an added bonus, you may also want to think about the surface area of your tea. The wider and more shallow your tea cup—like this peacock tea cup—the greater effect you’ll notice.
Alternatively, you might instead look for a flare near the lip of your tea cup, which can also help in this regard. A flare makes it easier to fill more of your cup and still comfortably hold it by keeping your fingers away from the hot tea.
Mind Your Steeps
If you want to get the most out of your tea, it’s especially important to watch the time and temperature of your infusions. For some reason, so many people believe that green and white should be steeped for 2 or even 3 minutes. In most cases, steeping your tea this long will not make for the best cup. Worse still, you’re only making a heavier cup of tea—darker, stronger, possibly even bitter or astringent, not the character you look for from tea when the weather is nice.
We recommend trying to steep your teas for just about one minute—no more than 60 seconds—for the best cup. This will create a lighter body while accentuating some of the fresher, crisper notes, especially of green and white tea. The added bonus is that you’ll be able to reinfuse your tea leaves many more times.
It’s equally important to make sure you’re not preparing your tea at too high of a temperature either. If you are infusing a green or white tea, the ideal temperature for the water should be no higher than 180°F (80°C). If you go too high, you risk extracting too much too quickly, increasing the chances that your tea will be unpleasant.