Absolute Tea Beginner? Start here!
**This space is always evolving and this is just a start. Check back for more information later or get in touch if you have any questions!**
How To Brew The Teas:
Let’s take a look at how to brew these teas from easiest to most complicated:
1. Grandpa Style: Get an average size mug, put in about three grams of tea (1/3 of a typical sample package) and some hot water. Wait 2-3 minutes for the leaves to open up and sink and start sipping. If the tea gets too strong as you drink, just add more hot water to the mug. With some of the teas, like the Pear Mountain, you can drink this all day using the same leaves by just adding more hot water.
Pros: Easiest to start, great for the office
Cons: The subtleties of the teas can be lost, tea can get too strong, and it is not suitable for all teas. (Ruby 18 Black will be too strong this way, for example)
2. Normal Teapot (Not Recommended To Start): Use your favourite teapot and put half the package in the bottom with no tea ball or other container. Make sure leaves can fully open. If it is a large teapot (750ml+) you might want to use the full package. Add hot water for 2-3 minutes to taste and fully pour it out. You can repeat this depending on the tea 2-5 times. Because teapots come in so many shapes and sizes this is the hardest method to start with. Choosing the right leaf/water/time ratio is very hard. As you get better with tea and know what strength you enjoy it will be a much better option.
Pros: Everyone has a teapot, good for making tea for many people
Cons: Hard to gauge how much leaf to add, hard to clean teapot, tea nerds will laugh at you
3. Gong Fu Style (using a Gaiwan or small Chinese Teapot): The most unfamiliar style for beginners but one that gives the tea its full range of expression. Hard to start initially but becomes very easy with practice. The mechanics are simple: High leaf to water ratio in a small space for a short period of time with controlled water temperature and a timer. The classic tools are a gaiwan or a small Chinese teapot that can be found the world over in any Chinatown district for very cheap. Measure 3-5 g. (1/3-1/2 a package) of leaf into your container and steep away. While the correct tools help a lot, you can also use a mug, something to cover it and a simple strainer. All the teas are brewed the same way, with first a 30-second steep, 45 seconds and one-minute steep. After that you can add 10-30 seconds each successive steep depending on the tea and your preferences. Water temperature is important and you can experiment, but most of our teas are very forgiving. Water slightly off the boil (90-98C) should work well for any of our teas. **For more information on the Gong Fu brewing style you can look on Youtube or get in touch with questions.
Pros: Best expression of the leaf, most versatile, provides opportunities for mindfulness, represents a great way to take a break and makes you look cool
Cons: Complicated to start, hard to do at the office, a little bit pretentious
A Little About The Teas
The teas chosen for this site are pretty easy to brew and good for experimentation. These are the guidelines for brewing high-quality tea. But feel free to experiment and come up with a way to brew that most suits your personal lifestyle and palate. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch and don’t forget to check out our Youtube channel for some pointers if need be!
What are the ‘Hipster Checkmarks’?
- Agrochemical Free
- Small Batch
- Single Origin
- Regenerative Farming Methods Whenever Possible
- Family Run, Multi-Generational Farms
- Hand Picked and Processed On Site
- Known Personally and Trusted By Mountain Stream Teas
We have been to each of these gardens, walked around the farms, dug in the soil, gotten to know and trust the farmers and in many cases actually helped with the tea processing. We stand by our teas and sourcing methods. If you have any problems with the teas just let us know and we will send you a replacement or refund your money, no questions asked.
Some Things To Remember:
- After opening the packages try to keep them airtight. A paper clip, an elastic band or something similar should keep them fresh for up to a week. Put them in an airtight Tupperware container if you want to keep them longer. If you don’t open them they will keep indefinitely. Try to store the teas away from any strong smells as well. Keep them out of the spice drawer!
- No matter what you might hear there is no ‘right and wrong’ way to brew your tea. If you want to add milk and sugar, go for it! If you want to brew it super strong, or super light it is all up to you. We recommend starting with the recommended brewing parameters above but after that experiment to your own tastes. **Disclaimer: If you do decide to add milk and sugar to these teas though, it might be best not to post pictures to ‘tea nerd’ social media spaces. And maybe close the curtains…:)
- Check out the Mountain Stream Teas website, Instagram Page, and Youtube Channel for a description of these teas and a quick idea of how to brew them. There's lots more info there and don’t be afraid to ask questions!
- If you have any queries or comments please don’t hesitate to get in touch! Your feedback and recommendations are wildly useful and important to us!