The pursuit of tea is a never-ending quest and nobody is able to brew perfect tea every time. I know many tea lovers, myself included, who happily absorb every bit of tea information we can find, sorting through the relevant and the ridiculous, in order to enhance our own tea knowledge and improve our tea brewing skills. To that end, here are 10 tips that have helped me to move beyond the basic brewing parameters and bring my tea brewing to the next level.
1. Relax, take a deep breath and focus on the ritual.
2. Engage all five senses.
3. Great tea can only be made from quality loose leaves and good water.
4. Choose teaware that appeals to you. Beyond beauty and functionality, advanced tea brewers will often have pleasant stories or memories associated with their favorite cups and teapots.
5. Choose teaware that allows the tea leaves to expand properly and infuse evenly.
6. Mindfully drink tea as often as possible, alone and with friends. Until you know exactly what you like (which may never happen) I recommend drinking a wide variety of not-so-good-tea and oh-my-god-this-is-amazing-tea as both will further your personal tea education in their own ways.
7. Watch experienced tea brewers closely while they're brewing tea for you. Pay attention to the grace and fluidity of their movements and the care with which they handle their teaware and tea leaves.
8. Learn to trust your instincts. Advanced tea brewers develop a “Zen-like” ability to use the right temperature of water and correct steeping time.
9. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. If you really over-steeped your tea, that’s okay, live and learn. Even though the traditional way to brew a certain tea is almost always the best way, I recommend being playful and trying out some more "unorthodox" tea brewing experiments from time to time.
10. Be confident. As your experiences build upon each other, your tea brewing skills will increase.