I always thought brewing tea was an art, but it turns out it's more of a science.
That's according to European scientists who've identified the chemical properties of varying teas and who say knowing those properties is essential to perfecting your cup.
This fascinating article from NPR's The Salt runs through their findings and includes an explanation of the difference between black and green teas, the effect of cup thickness, how long to brew for the most caffeine, ideal water temperature and the role of milk. I'll let you read that all in detail at the source.
Here are my favorite ways to brew tea for one or two. What are yours?
I boil water then pour it over a teabag in a mug or teacup
I let that steep for about three minutes, remove the teabag, squeeze it lightly over the mug, then discard
Then I add a quick pour of milk and a teaspoon of sugar. This is my daily morning drink
I boil water then let it cool a bit
I pour some honey into the bottom of a mug or teacup
Then I pour the slightly cooled water over the honey then stir
I drop in a teabag and steep it for a minute or so. I like my green tea light
I put a little loose leaf tea into a mesh strainer
Pour slightly cooled boiled water slowly over the leaves until the mug or teacup is full
Usually I don't steep the tea to prevent release of bitter tannins
Sometimes I add a touch of honey, then stir and sip