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The Perfect Cup of Tea


Mr. Peter Bedard MA, C.Ht.


Food & Cooking

After a near-death experience, Peter Bedard was faced with the greatest challenge of all: Living a life in severe physical, emotional, and spiritual pain. The former dancer soon discovered that the anger and frustration he felt because of his injuries were not only keeping him in pain, but were waiting to teach him the greatest gifts of his life.   Now, a celebrated author and healer, he helps thousands of people globally to live a life of full potential while integrating the lessons of pain into balanced living. Peter is the owner of and Peter's book, Convergence Healing: Healing Pain with Energetic Love, is in bookstores now! His newest book, "When Happiness is Work, A 30 Day Guide to Creating a Life of Joy and Healing Depression" is taking pre-orders NOW prior to publication!

Ah, the quest for a perfect cup of tea! From Water Sommeliers to Herbal Enthusiasts, the race is on to find that perfect beverage and ever increasingly, the perfect cup of tea. I’m a little more down to Earth as every cup of tea I brew is the perfect cup. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that there are “rules” for making that perfect cup. There are steeping guides, expert opinions, and deeply rooted cultural traditions around brewing a cup of tea…the beauty of it all is that when it comes down to it, you get to decide how to make the perfect cup of tea. After all, your taste buds are individually yours. Tea is a very personal tasting experience and while it’s great to have a guide, always follow your taste buds when brewing your personal perfect cup.

Having said that, here are some tips for how I like to brew my “perfect” cup of tea…let them be your guide and always feel free to break the rules!

When it comes to tea there are really two ways to brew it - Hot Steep or Cold Brew? My new found favorite for preparing tea is the Cold Brew style. It’s simple, fun, and the flavors that come from Cold Brewing technique are generally stronger and more robust. When Cold Brewing true teas (True tea actually comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant. These are your black, green white, pu-erh, and oolong teas) the process creates a beverage that is generally somewhat more intense, less caffeinated, and more full of antioxidants and the goodness that tea has to offer us. In general, take about a tablespoon for 24 ounces of water and let the tea “brew” in your refrigerator for 6 to 8 hours (longer if desired). Throw the tea in some water at night, go to bed, and VOILA…the next morning you have a delicious beverage that is even better for you than that hot cup of tea.

If you do decide to take the traditional route and steep your tea in hot water then the basic guide below will help. Most teas will over cook and become bitter if steeped too long in water that is too hot. I personally prefer to only steep my black teas for 1 to 2 minutes…anything longer than that is too strong and even bitter for me even though the recommended time for steeping black teas is between 4 to 6 minutes.

White tea       4 - 6 min at 175 - 180 F, 2 to 4 steeps per teaspoon, 8 ounces of water
Green tea       2 - 4 min at 150 – 160 F, 3 to 5 steeps per teaspoon, 8 ounces of water
Oolong tea     5 - 8 min at 190 F, 3 to 6 steeps per ounce, 8 ounces of water
Black tea        4 - 6 min at 212 F, 1 to 2 steeps but doesn’t re-steep well, 8 ounces of water

These different teas require different steeping times because the teas themselves are different. Green and white teas are more delicate. The leaves are simply dried and super hot water can “burn” the leaves leaving a bitter flavor. Black tea is considered more robust and it has been put through a process of wilting and oxidation or fermentation. This creates a stronger and even sweeter taste to the tea.

My favorite teas actually aren’t technically even tea. Remember, tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis  plant and that delicious cup of Cirtus Chamomile you’re drinking doesn’t have any tea in it. We call these drinks tea but what they actually are is a herbal blend or a tisane. A tisane is generally a mixture of herbs, roots, flowers, spices, etc. that are blended together and steeped just like tea in order to create a delicious beverage.

Herbal tea      5 - 8 min at 212 F, 1 to 3 steeps per teaspoon/8 ounces of water

My favorite tisanes or herbal teas are Red Rooibos, Licorice-Mint, and a fantastic blend that we call Cucumber-Mint- Guyusa! You’ve probably never heard of Guyusa but I’m here to tell you…”Check this delicious tisane out!” The Guyusa plant is known for having lots of caffeine and for mellowing you out at the same time…figure that one out. It has a wonderful leafy flavor and it’s good for alkalizing the blood (Yes, it’s true. Caffeine, good for you, and incredible taste).

However you decide to drink your tea, just know that this beverage is not only tasty but it’s also super good for you. Tea, specifically Green Tea, is full of antioxidants so when you have a cup of tea you’re not only replenishing your body you’re also supporting your immune system.  And, when you brew up that delicious tisane/herbal tea you’re really tapping into the power of Mother Nature and all the goodness she has to offer. Those herbs, roots, leafs, and flowers that you’re steeping are often full of all kinds of healing properties from helping with digestion, reducing cholesterol, and blood pressure to assisting you in calming your nerves and getting a good night’s sleep. It’s a choice that is good for the body, mind, and soul no matter how you brew it up so please…drink away!


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