Wednesday, May 14, 2008
If your answer is, "Let it steep longer," this post is for you.
Preparing tea in some cultures is an art form. But preparing bitter tea is an exercise in time. There is only one thing that a longer steep time adds to a cup of tea: bitterness. You should not ever, for any reason, oversteep your tea. It will not make the tea stronger, but could make it bitter (depending on the tea type). Herbal teas, which don't actually contain any 'tea' (or camellia sinensis plant), typically won't become bitter with a longer steep. However regular teas including oolong, green, white, black, etc will become bitter if you steep them for too long.
To make a stronger cup of tea, add more tea leaves and steep for the same amount of time. And if you're planning on making iced tea, double the amount of tea you would use in a hot cup of tea (FYI - most tea-making instructions are designed for hot cups of tea). Some people simply prefer a stronger cup of tea, which is fine, but do it with more tea, not more steep.
And if your tea is bitter, try making it again but steeping it for less time (it's probably not the tea . . .)