Northstar Tea Co.

steep sip repeat

Our teas are always hand-blended, in small batches to ensure optimum freshness!

Tea Brewing Guide

Even the best tea can be spoiled by incorrect brewing, here's some tips on how to brew the perfect cup...

Always start with fresh cold water to brew any tea.

We recommend you use one rounded tsp. of tea per cup for most of our teas. Steeping times are suggested - but you know best how you enjoy your cup! Adjust quantities and steeping times according to your tastes. 

If you like your tea strong, it's generally better to add more tea than to increase the steeping times - over-steeping will not make a better cup - it can however bring out bitterness. 

How long to brew?
Most black teas can be brewed using boiling water and steeping for approximately 3 - 5 minutes with very good results.

 

For both green and white teas, using water that is too hot will damage green and white teas leaves and the tea will taste bitter. Heat the water just to the stage where it begins to form multiple strings of bubbles that rise to the surface of the water. We like to use a thermometer to heat the water to 75 degrees celsius, or a kettle that heats water to a specific temperature. If you do boil the water, let it water sit for two minutes to cool, before adding to the tea. Both green and white teas also require a shorter steeping time, so for green tea blends and white tea blends we suggest steeping for no more than 1 - 2 minutes. 

 

Tisanes or herbal teas, which do not contain any real tea leaves require boiling water with a minimum 5 minute steeping time - longer is better - and many can take up to 10 minutes to reach the peak of flavour.

 

Most of our teas can be re-brewed for a second cup. As a general rule, when brewing your tea for the second cup increase the steeping time by 1 - 2 mins. You may notice subtle changes in the flavour and colour with your second cup - depending on the ingredients.

Iced Tea and Milk Tea

For a refreshing summer beverage iced tea and cold milk tea can't be beat!  

 

Sweetening your tea:

We recommend that you sweeten your tea when you are ready to drink it, with a simple syrup, rather than pre-sweetening it while it's hot (homemade pre-sweetened tea should only be stored in the fridge for one day). You can easily make a small amount of simple syrup with your preferred sweetener by dissolving two parts your choice of sweetener to one part boiled water. Stir until the sweetener is dissolved, place into a clean jar, and store in the fridge for up to five days. We often make a tiny amount of syrup right before we're going to use it. If you're making a larger amount of syrup you may want to cook it in a small pot to reduce some of the liquid, but we usually make micro amounts as we need them. If you're making it in advance, keep in mind that you'll probably use 2-4 teaspoons of syrup per beverage when determining how much to make. You can also find commercially prepared cane sugar syrup for sweetening if you prefer. 

Here are a few of our favourite methods for brewing tea for hot weather enjoyment: 

Flash brewing:

Essentially a way to make iced tea fast, when you needed it five minutes ago... Flash brewing involves making a concentrated brew (2 -3 parts tea to 1 part water) using hot water and then pouring the hot steeped tea directly over ice (1 part ice) to cool it rapidly. The melting ice dilutes and chills the tea at the same time. The benefit of this method is that you get the oxygen from the ice directly into the tea to create a fresh and lively brew. This method is highly recommended for green tea blends where the subtle flavours can shine, and you can't wait ; )

example: to make half a litre of iced tea you'll need 2 teaspoons of tea to 250ml of hot water, and 250ml of ice in a heat proof container. Make the tea and steep according to brewing instructions for the blend. Strain off the hot tea directly into the container of ice, and it's ready to enjoy!

Cold-brewing:

We highly recommend this method over all others if you have time - it takes approx. 6 to 10 hours (overnight) to make cold brew, but requires an absolute minimum of effort to make. There are two methods, depending on the how strong you want to make the brew. Both  require that you start with a container large enough to hold the finished amount of tea you want to make. For both methods we recommend that you sweeten the tea when you are ready to drink it, unless you plan on consuming it right away. 

 

Method 1:You add the loose tea and fresh cold water to the container. Place the container in the fridge and allow it to steep 6-10 hours. After that time, you strain off the tea into a clean container, and compost the tea leaves. The cold brew will be good for 2-3 days stored in the fridge. If you plan on icing the tea, you may want to make a double strength brew, but we often make it according to the package instructions and skip the ice. You can also make ice cubes from the steeped tea and dilution from the ice will not be an issue. One of the main benefits of this method is the absolute ease of preparation. The other major benefit is that you will also get a more nuanced brew, with a much more complex flavour profile than you would get when you using traditional hot water brewing, and absolutely no bitter tannins. 

 

Method 2: You add the loose tea to a heat proof container that is large enough to hold the amount of tea you plan to make. Boil fresh cold water and pour just enough over the tea to cover it. Let sit for 10-15 minutes at room temperature, and then top up with the required amount of fresh cold water. This will make a stronger brew, and may take slightly less time, as the boiled water gives the tea steeping a jump start : ) Place the container in the fridge for 6 - 10 hours. After that time, strain off the tea into a fresh container, and store in the fridge. The cold brew will be good for 2-3 days. Note: Method 2 is not recommended for green tea blends where water temperature can damage the tea and bring out bitter tannins. 

Milk Tea

We love Milk Tea as a summer treat! What is it? A strong brew of tea, typically black, (but we have a few herbals we recommend as well) served with a generous amount of milk, sweetened to taste, and served over ice! We love using oat milk, but any rich creamy milk will do - this in not really the time to be counting calories... ; ) Some folks like to use half and half or sweetened condensed milk for an extra special treat! We recommend traditional tea brewing methods using boiled water. You may want to increase the amount of tea to make a stronger brew, but we sometimes just let it steep for a few extra minutes before straining it off. Chill in the fridge until you're ready to enjoy. When ready, fill a glass 3/4 full of ice, add approx. 100 to 125ml of chilled milk (if your planning on using sweetened condensed milk, try 100ml milk to 10-15ml condensed milk blended together) and top with the chilled tea, stir to blend. Sweeten to taste,(we like a simple syrup made with brown sugar for sweetening our milk tea) and enjoy! 

a black graphic image of a steaming cup of tea