The art of brewing tea is truly a fine art, as complex as blending champagne or creating a perfect cake mix. The artist is a lover of tea, someone who understands the delicate flavours and the gentleness of the leaves.
So when the question is, how to make tea, the question we ask is, how do you make tea? There are of course, ways to brew the perfect cup of tea but before we dive into that, we’d encourage you to brew your perfect cup of tea. Brew tea like your grandmother did, as you sat watching on the kitchen counter. Brew tea like your lovers did, the infusion interrupted by laughter and smiles. Brew tea so it tastes like something nobody but you would like. Too sweet, too bitter, or too mild? Brew tea in the easiest possible way or spend time exploring the subtle flavours, but brew it like you would. That’s what makes the perfect cup of tea.
As for our perfect brew, here’s how we’d teach you to make the best tea in India, the masala chai, and here’s the cup we’d serve you, if you wandered over to our estate. By the way, that’s an invite!
Be kind to the liquid
As you choose the highest quality of black tea leaves to brew your cup of chai, such as assam tea or darjeeling tea, also remember that the quality of the water has a huge influence on the taste of the brew. Use cold, filtered water with a low mineral content and boil it only once, for multiple boils tend to reduce the oxygen levels, changing the taste.
If your black tea tastes too bitter, try reducing the temperature of the water by 10˚C as higher temperatures can burn the tea leaves. Alternatively, you might be steeping the tea for too long.
The flavour brew
While making a masala choice, the first important choice you have to make is, which masala?
- There’s ginger chai, a wellness tea which is great for soothing a sore throat, giving you a boost of energy and while it does not have a scientific basis, we think it’s the best solution for headaches and fatigue! For this, all you need is a half inch piece of ginger.
- Elaichi chai has the sweet flavour and fragrance of cardamom, perfect for when you want some extra flavour but nothing too spicy or overpowering. Two small green cardamoms are more than enough for one cup.
- Masala blend chai is the strongest, most flavourful masala chai with a blend of clove, black pepper, cinnamon, tulsi, ginger and cardamom. A single unit of each spice creates the perfect spice blend.
- To make any of these spiced brews, use a mortar and pestle to roughly crush the spices, to release their flavours.
- Boil 100 ml of water in a vessel, over medium high heat and add your choice of spice. Let the spices bubble in the water for around 4 minutes, until the aroma fills your senses.
The masala chai
- Once the spice flavours have seeped into your choice of brew, add 70 to 90 ml of milk, depending on how milky you like your chai to be.
- After a minute, add a tablespoon of premium black tea leaves and sugar, according to taste.
- Strain out the tea and enjoy!
The vessel for the brew
For both the tea cups and the teapot, use glazed ceramic, glass or porcelain for these materials do not impart any additional flavours to the tea. Let the insides of the vessels be of a pure white colour to let the true hues of the tea stand out clearly. While setting the plate, add biscuits, sandwiches or fried snacks as accompaniments but don’t let food overpower the experience of the tea.
Brewing masala tea is an experience that starts with letting the fragrance of the spices and dried leaves intoxicate you, and ends with savouring the last bit of aftertaste that sits on your palate. It is a process to be savoured alone or with a partner and it is a journey of creating your perfect mix of condiments and blends. While you figure out how to make tea, we hope you end up discovering the cup of tea that soothes your senses, at any time of the day.