How to brew a perfect cup of tea with loose tea, by Tea Taster Dominic Marriot
The Perfect Cup Of Tea In 5 Simple Steps
Photo by Thomas MacDonald
Boil, steep, drink. How complicated could it be to make a perfect cup of tea? Not terribly—but the details can mean the difference between a soothing warm indulgence and a health-food powerhouse.
It seems that nary a day goes by without a new study touting the health benefits of tea. Want to fight breast cancer? Green tea can do that. Trying to prevent type 2 diabetes? Black tea's your brew. Truly, tea has super-healing properties. But making it right is hardly intuitive; in fact, we regularly commit crimes against our cups that blunt the benefits of tea. Find out what to add (and what to skip) to get your perfect cup of tea.
1. Watch your water.
Your perfect cup deserves more than tap water. Filtering tap water reduces your exposure to carcinogens and hormone-disrupting chemicals. Just ask the experts: the President's Cancer Panel suggests that home-filtered tap water is a safer bet than even bottled water, which can even be the same—or worse—than water from municipal sources, according to an investigation by the Environmental Working Group. (Are you doing the 20 other everyday things that prevent cancer?)
2. Choose the right herb.
Got an ailment? There's a tea for that—you just need to know which one is best for what.
For a cough:Make it “tea thyme.” Thyme helps relax the bronchial spasms that cause you to cough. Use 2 teaspoons of dried thyme per cup of boiling water, steep for 10 minutes, and drink three times a day.
For glowing skin:Choose green or white. Both have double the antioxidants of black tea and contains EGCG, a type of antioxidant that protects skin from sun damage and pollutants.
For all-around health:Grab green. From fighting breast cancer to helping you lose weight, it's all-powerful. Check out the 5 best benefits of green tea if you still need convincing.
For a tummy ache:It's chamomile and peppermint all the way. Chamomile herbal tea contains oils that relax and smooth muscles in the stomach. Use 1 tablespoon of flowers per cup of boiling water, and drink three cups a day to ease indigestion, irritable bowel problems, and colitis.
For stress: Go black. A study from University College London showed that adults who drank black tea four times a day for six weeks had lower levels of cortisol after stressful situations than their non-tea-drinking peers.
3. Brew it yourself.
Tea is tea, right? To find out,Preventionsent iced tea samples to a lab: stuff we'd brewed on our own, and bottled teas we picked up at the store. The results? Home-brewed tea has more antioxidants than bottled convenience tea. (But just by a bit—unsweetened convenience iced tea has almost as many antioxidants as the home-brewed variety and even outscored blueberries, so don't go tealess if you're in a pinch.)
4. Skip the milk.
Tea is packed with antioxidants but a simple splash of milk addition can negate their benefits, studies find. One study published in theEuropean Journal of Clinical Nutritionfound that dietary proteins, such as those found in milk, reduce the availability of antioxidants in tea. A 2007 study in theEuropean Heart Journalfound that the heart-protective antioxidants in tea were completely inhibited by milk—so skip the milk to get the most from your tea.
5. Add the unexpected.
A scoop of sugar might be your first instinct, but the tide is turning against the sweet stuff.
Video: How to Make the PERFECT Cup of Tea (and who was EARL GREY, anyway?)
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