How to enjoy the perfect Pukka blend
24th March 2017
Enjoying a great herbal cuppa is one of life’s pleasures. Savouring that delicious array of tastes and smells and feeling that herbal goodness at work is all part of the experience.
The perfect blend
Creating the perfect blend starts with the highest-grade herbs that have been assessed for their essential sensory qualities, along with testing for phytochemical compounds such as essential oils. But herbs on their own do not create a great tea, it is about the art of blending.
To get that perfect blend, understanding the purpose of the tea you want to develop is key. We use Ayurvedic wisdom as our guide as it sets out a clear plan for creating blends that balance the three essentials of good health; cleansing, nourishing and rejuvenating.
Savouring that perfect cuppa
So, we have created a great-tasting tea but how do we best savour it?
Preparing the tea in the right way can seriously enhance your tasting experience. Using only freshly boiled water and infusing for the right amount of time is crucial. We provide guidance on the ideal infusion time for your blend on each tea box, so check the instructions to ensure you enjoy our tea in its optimal conditions.
Try these recommendations from Pukka Herbs' co-founder and author of Cleanse, Nurture, Restore with Herbal Tea Sebastian Pole:
1. Filter your water. Water should be fresh, pure, clear, odourless and low in minerals. It’s best to use a water filter before making your tea.
2. Don’t overboil your water. Overboiling causes the minerals to escape the solution and collect as a film on the surface. This upsets the balance between the stronger tannins and some of the subtle volatile oils and amino acids in the herbs. Remember not to overfill your kettle (use only enough for the cups or pot) and use a renewable energy supplier like Good Energy.
3. Use freshly boiled water. Re-boiling water risks concentrating certain undesirable compounds including nitrates and salts that may be in your water.
4. Not too hot – or too cold. Really hot water extracts more bitter and astringent compounds, making the tea (especially green tea) taste harsh. Water that is too cool on the other hand lacks the power to entice the flavours out of the herbs, making the tea taste weak. Herbal teas should be made with freshly boiled water at a temperature of around 90 – 95OC/ 190 – 205OF.
5. The right temperature for the type of tea. Delicate teas such as chamomile, mint or green teas infuse in a lower water temperature. Oolongs (traditional Chinese teas) and fruit teas need a slightly hotter temperature whilst black teas infuse at an even hotter temperature.
As a guide:
- Green tea – 80-85 OC / 175-185 OF
- Oolongs around 85-90 OC / 185-195 OF
- Black teas around 95 OC / 205OF
6. Infuse the tea for the right length of time. Delicate aromatic flowers, leaves and seeds need less infusion time, from five to ten minutes. Harder fruits, roots and barks need a longer infusion time, from 10 up to 20 minutes
7. The right cup or pot. There is no ‘right’ cup or pot to make and drink herbal tea from. If you’re brewing tea in a pot, then choose a sturdy one so it keeps your tea warm. The choice of cup is all yours – a good trick is to keep a lid on your cup when drinking aromatic herbs to prevent the valuable volatile oils from evaporating away. And of course, always drink your tea in good company or in a relaxed environment to fully appreciate its taste and benefits.
Two: Inhale the aroma
When we think of taste, we don’t often think about smell but studies have shown that 80-90% of flavour is detected through our nose. Our tongues only detect five essential tastes and these give us an initial impression:
umami (a word derived from Japanese meaning ‘pleasant savoury taste’)
Because we mainly taste through our sense of smell, it’s important to take a deep, long inhale so that we can fully appreciate the aroma.
Three: Discover layers of flavour
There are many complex layers to our taste, we have the initial head notes which gives us our first impression of the tea and this is then quickly followed by the body notes which are the essential characteristics of the tea. Lastly, we have the tail notes which are the lingering impression the tea gives.
For example, with Lemon, Ginger and Manuka Honey tea the first impression we get is of citrussy/fruity notes. This is followed by a body note of spice and finally a lingering woody note.
It is also important to consider how it feels when we taste, at Pukka we use a term called ‘mouthfeel’. This is the sensations we get in the mouth when tasting. So, for example in a green tea, there is a drying mouth feel due to its natural astringency.
Each tea has its own unique profile which describes the essential flavour characteristics. These are important so that we ensure the flavour of our tea always remains consistent. There is a whole language of flavour and knowing some of the descriptions for example ‘fruity’, ‘malty’, and ‘spicy’ and identifying these adds to the fun of tea tasting.
These are the essential elements to tasting so enjoy your next Pukka cuppa.
Happy tea tasting.