Do you know all the ways to make tea? There are at least 5 different ones
Do you think that tea is made only by moving a bag in boiling water? Discover many different ways to extract the drink and the secrets of mixology
The tea ritual is a millenary art, with ancient and fascinating gestures and movements that each people has reinterpreted according to their own history and traditions. Not only that: in recent years this drink has increasingly become the subject of research and innovation. We find it in the kitchen, in cocktails, in ice creams, but extraction techniques have also been added . Just like with coffee , the possibilities are different and some quite unexpected. How many ways can we make a cup of tea then? With what tools? Let’s discover the tea extraction methods grouped according to how they work.
The instant tea is not a recent invention. Already during the Tang dynasty (618-907 AD) it was used to crumble the pressed tea leaves and dissolve them in water. This method, through Zen Buddhism, arrived in Japan and led to the development of the most fashionable powdered tea of the moment.
Matcha : it is a particular type of Japanese green tea that traditionally comes in powder form. The leaves, after a special and meticulous process, are slowly stone ground to obtain the consistency of a talc. Matcha is prepared by dissolving this very fine shiny powder in cold or hot water (maximum 70 ° C). Today it is not the only powder, but with a similar process, starting from quality leaves, other types of pure and flavored tea are pulverized, especially in Japan and the United States, ready to drink or to experiment in the kitchen.
For the preparation of certain powdered teas it is possible to take advantage of this extraction method, certainly the best known in the world of Italian coffee. The result is a tea with an intense and decisive flavor . Optionally you can serve the drink with the addition of milk foam as if it were a cappuccino.
Moka : a symbol of Italian coffee, this tool was used by tea blogger Anna Mariani (The Tea Squirrel) to prepare the Japanese toasted Hojicha tea. The leaves are pulverized in a mortar and poured into the filter alone or together with cocoa powder or spices. You can use the same method with black teas, while it is not recommended with non-roasted green teas, which risk being too bitter and aggressive.
As we have seen, there are tools and methods born for the preparation of coffee that today are also used for tea . Another is percolation, the slow passage of water through a filter solid, be it ground coffee or tea leaves. It allows you to create a different tasting experience, to bring out new flavor notes.
Chemex : it is a design coffee maker patented by chemist Peter Schlumbohm in 1941 and today even exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoMa) in New York. How can you resist trying such a tool in tea preparation too? Among other things, being made of glass, it allows you to enjoy all the nuances of the millenary drink. However, it is better to use fabric filters or stainless steel cone filters. It is not necessary to grind the leaves but focus on those not too rolled up so avoid certain oolong.
DEPRESSION OR VACUUM
It is probably the most scenic tea extraction technique used among bartenders and tea masters during competitions. This method takes advantage of pressure differences.
Siphon : it is an instrument designed by Jeanne Richard in 1838 for coffee. It consists of two glass bowls connected by a siphon. In the lower part the water is poured, while in the upper part the filter (preferably made of fabric) with the tea leaves is inserted. The instrument is then placed on a heat source. As it boils, the pressure will decrease and the water will rise up the siphon until it fills the upper mouth. Let it simmer for about a minute and then remove everything from the heat. As the temperature rises, the brewed tea will pour into the lower container, while the leaves will remain on the filter at the top. This extraction method is ideal for black teas, fermented teas, but also oolongs.
We left it for last because it is the best known and practiced method in every part of the globe even if with some differences between the tradition of the East and that of the West. The teas can then be infused with hot or cold water or other liquids, as is the case today especially in the world of mixology.
- Oriental infusion : represents a hymn to slowness. What is the difference with the infusion method we are all used to? There are three parameters that are changed: more tea leaves are needed (the sachet is not allowed), less water and very short infusion times. The tea is then poured into a previously heated teapot, water is added and after a while our drink is filtered. Since the quantity of water used is small, the liqueur is drunk quickly and a second infusion of the same leaves is carried out immediately and so on until the flavor of the tea is completely exhausted. Depending on the type of tea or personal taste, infusions of 20 seconds or 1 minute can generally be provided and usually each subsequent infusion lasts approximately 5 seconds longer than the previous one.
- Western infusion : it is the method we are all fond of. We put our tea bag or tea leaves in the teapot, pour the water and leave to infuse for about 3 minutes. We filter and sip our cup or mug calmly, perhaps in front of a book or our favorite series. The infused leaves can then be used as fertilizer for plants. In Japan they are often seasoned with rice vinegar and soy sauce and eaten alone, in salads or as an omelette topping.
- Cold brew: this is the best solution for making iced tea. Seeing is believing! The leaves or tea bags are poured into a jug. Cold or room temperature water is added. It is covered and stored in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours. In Japan, the Kōridashi technique is often used in which the tea is infused directly on ice cubes and waits until the ice cubes are completely melted (about 3 hours) at room temperature.
The world of cocktails deserves a separate chapter because it shows how many ingredients and many different recipes can be created from a simple tea extraction. As? We asked Charles Flamminio , Bar Manager of the illegal Gineria in Rimini and a well-known Tea Mixologist. “The tea can be cold infused in any liquid, alcoholic or otherwise. For example, I prepare gin for tea by infusing the leaves or sachets in the gin for 2 to 4 hours. I recommend that you test every 20 minutes to see if you have achieved the sensory result you want. You can do the same thing with vodka, but also with ginger beer or tonic, just to name a few. And in the summer, try cold-infused a classic peach tea in white wine. Filter, add some ice cubes and the aperitif is ready “.
What teas can we use?
Any type of tea , both in leaves and in sachets. It depends on your taste and the persistence of the product. Matcha is very fashionable, but it is not very practical because, if it is not filtered well, a residue of dust can remain.
Why is cold infusion better than hot infusion in mixology?
The tea oxidizes easily and the flavor is better maintained over time with cold infusion. It may happen to use hot infusion in particular cases and then I heat the alcohol to a temperature of 29 – 36 ° C, infuse the tea for a couple of minutes and use it immediately for the preparation of cocktails. Or when hot I prepare a tea liqueur that is not too alcoholic (20 – 30 ° C) based on gin or vodka.
Are there any other ways to extract and add tea to drinks?
Syrups can be prepared, lemon juice flavored or Oleo Saccharum prepared by letting the tea leaves, citrus peel and sugar macerate in a cool place. Again, try tea to give different scents to sherbets , fruit drinks and sugar, and shrubs , sour syrups made from fruit, sugar and vinegar, to add to your cocktails.