Brewing Tea for the Colder Season

Here at Hackberry, we love it when the seasons change. As the weather gets cooler we tend to reach towards warmer drinks. A good cup of hot tea releases the full flavor of your tea of choice and allows you to find all the subtleties in your favorite brew. It is important to note that “hot” and “iced” teas are preferred brewing methods, not specific tea types. Any tea, whether it be fruity or herbal, black or green, can be enjoyed both ways.

Although hot tea is delicious at any time of the year, one of the perks of drinking it in the cooler months is that it can increase your overall body temperature and make you feel much cozier. On brisk days or chilly nights, there is nothing better than brewing a nice cup of your favorite hot tea, bundling up with a comfy blanket, and enjoying your favorite book or movie.

The Difference Between Hot & Iced Tea

There are a couple of differences between hot and iced tea, other than just their temperatures. Typically, a cup of hot tea will have more flavor and elements than an iced cup of the same kind of tea. This is because many of the more subtle notes and flavors come out in hot tea but are subdued in chilled water with iced tea. In fact, most food and beverages have a less subtle taste when they are cold versus when they are warm.

Hot Tea Brewing Methods

We have already covered a few specific methods for brewing tea in some of our other blog posts. For a quick, at-a-glance guide for brewing different teas, check out our Hackberry Brewing Guide. There are two essential things to keep in mind when talking about brewing hot tea: water temperature and steep time. In general, most tea types require the water to be at about 200°F. However, it is crucial to note that both green and white tea asks for significantly cooler temperatures. Teas in the white and green tea families are looking for temperatures around 175°F. This temperature decrease is because green and white teas are more sensitive to water temperature, and putting them in water that is too hot can cause the tea leaves to burn and produce a more bitter cup. At Hackberry, we note the recommended water temperature on each of our bags of tea so you never have to guess.

Steep time is the other important factor when making your favorite cup of hot tea. All teas require vastly different steep times, even the ones that ask for similar water temperatures. Getting the proper steep time for your tea is all about giving it the right amount of time to develop the correct flavors and letting the tannins in the tea release to give your tea color and some extra kick. If you steep for too long, the tannins overwhelm the other natural flavors, and you end up with a more bitter cup. If you don't steep it long enough, your tea is just going to be slightly flavored water with none of the taste or benefits of a typical cup of tea. Make sure you pay careful attention to the steep time on whatever kind of tea you choose to make! If you feel like you want more flavor out of your tea, increase the amount of loose-leaf tea you use, rather than changing the temperature or steep time. Just like water temperature, we note the recommended steep time on every bag of Hackberry tea.

Our Favorite Teas for a Warm Brew

Every tea we offer can be enjoyed warm, but there are certain types that shine with this brewing method. Below are some of our favorite “warm-brewed” teas depending on the mood or event.

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