Des Grands Thés bio et éthiques, des voyages et des rencontres…

Arlette Rohmer, fondatrice des Jardins de Gaïa

How to make a proper cup of tea?

Tea with or without the ceremony

Preparing tea can be a beautifully simple process as well as a truly elegant art. Whichever style you adopt, there are rules to follow and utensils that are better suited to each variety of tea that will allow you to fully enjoy your favourite drink. To help you make the right choice, here are some tips.

The rules for making tea

The quality and temperature of the water are the first things to consider. The vessel should be warmed with previously boiled water before putting in the tea leaves. Then you need to consider the quantity of tea (about 2 grammes per cup) and the infusion time. This last point is crucial, because while black, wu long and pu’er teas are relatively tolerant, green, white and yellow teas are more sensitive to guesswork. With just a few degrees difference, you can go from a pleasant brew to an exceptionally bitter, even undrinkable infusion.

→ You will find all this information on the back of your tea packet, on the bottom of the tube or at our online store

Tea preparation accessories

To brew tea correctly, it is important to choose the right accessories. The classic teapot in porcelain, glass or enamelled stoneware remains the standard vessel that allows you to make a brew without having to think too hard about it. The neutrality of its non-porous walls allows you to appreciate all the freshness and flavour of the tea with each new infusion. It can be used for plain teas as well as flavoured teas as it does not retain traces of flavour from the previous brew.

Grand crus and other precious loose leaf teas deserve special attention when it comes to the accessories you use to prepare them. For a traditional approach use:

A gaiwan or zhong

This small, traditional porcelain bowl has a lid and a saucer and is a typically Chinese method mainly used for green, yellow and white teas or even wulong and pu’er. With thin walls that don’t hold the heat, this vessel won’t scald delicate teas. Several infusions are possible using the same leaves  – and what’s more, when re-infused the tea generally loses its caffeine! It is an interesting method because you can follow the evolution of a tea through the different infusions and smell the sequence of aromatics using the lid.

A traditional Japanese teapot with a handle

The small size of this teapot – called a kyusu – makes it easy to control the preparation and infusion of particularly delicate Japanese teas. The walls of the teapot are relatively thin so as not to scald the tea and it is fitted with a filter designed so the very finely rolled leaves of Japanese grand crus can’t pass through.

A gong fu cha

Highly aesthetic, this is the quintessential tasting method for wu long and pu’er practiced in China and Taiwan. It highlights the complexity of the teas and allows you to appreciate all the subtleties of their perfumes and flavours using two dedicated cups – one for smelling and the other for drinking. It is possible to make several infusions with the same leaves depending on the quality of the tea brewed. A Yixing teapot, made from the famous clay of the city of Yixing, in China, is particularly recommended for tasting wu long, Chinese red teas (black teas) and pu’er. A characteristic of these teapots is that they become seasoned and keep the memory of previous infusions by diffusing the essential oils of the tea into the porous walls, which gives them a nice patina over time and amplifies the flavours when brewing the same type of tea.

In a matcha bowl

Matcha, which comes in the form of an extremely fine powder, is a ceremonial green tea that is drunk from this type of ceramic vessel. It is measured using a cha-shaku bamboo spoon and then beaten with a bamboo whisk or chasen. Find out how to prepare a matcha tea in our article on the subject

The water at the heart of the flavour

Since a cup of tea is 99% water, its quality is paramount. Highly mineralised water will tend to set the tannins and bring out the bitterness. Too much limescale and the tea is stifled and its subtleties masked. The chlorine in some tap water will spoil the brew, while spring water that is too low in minerals will tend to make it flat. It is advisable to filter tap water while taking care not to remove all the minerals which, in reasonable quantities, elevate the infusion. The ideal is a good, lively mountain spring water, discreet in taste and slightly mineralised in order to « carry » the flavours.  Finally, you should take care not to boil the water too long in order to prevent it from losing too much of its oxygen, an essential element for a good brew and of course you should let it cool down to the right temperature or possibly supplement it with cold water.

Organic terroir teas grown by small producers to put in your new teapot

Have you just acquired the kyusu teapot of your dreams or have you treated yourself to a beautiful teapot made of Yixing clay or Jingdezhen porcelain? Choose our terroir teas grown by  small producers to do such vessels proud.

For nearly 30 years, we have established close links and formed strong and lasting relationships with our producers who place as much importance on respecting their terroir as on the quality of their production methods. In our view, plots on a human scale and tea trees grown using organic or biodynamic farming are the basis for producing high-quality, healthy teas full of rich flavours.

We visit the producers regularly to taste and select the teas with them. Our way of working with each of them, harvest after harvest, allows us access to more choice from constantly improving quality of tea and a really broad and interesting palette of tastes. These efforts have resulted in widespread recognition and our teas regularly win prizes in national and international competitions: Best Organic Product, the Épicures de L’Épicerie Fine award, the AVPA teas of the world competition in Paris, the  Great Taste Awards in London. These prizes reinforce our belief that organic and fair trade products, produced by small producers, can truly rise to the ranks of the most exceptional products.

Écrit par Les Jardins de Gaïa

Pionniers sur le marché des thés et tisanes bio et équitables, Les Jardins de Gaïa proposent, depuis 1994, des grands crus nature, des classiques et des créations maison originales. Privilégiant les petits producteurs et les récoltes manuelles, ils ont développé au fil des années une gamme généreuse et variée de thés, rooibos et tisanes aux qualités gustatives reconnues, ainsi qu’une gamme d’épices bio et prémiums proposée sous la marque Terra Madre. Tel un jardin épanoui, la force des Jardins de Gaïa tient dans la diversité des terroirs et l’engagement des hommes qui la travaillent…

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