Preheating is one of those basic, kind of unsexy steps in tea that gets overlooked a lot.
But while it may not be as exciting as learning how to break pu’erh cakes in a way that impresses your date, it’s one of the most critical foundational techniques for tea brewing.
In a nutshell, teaware performs better when it’s warmed rather than left at room temperature:
- Properly preheated pots maintain hotter, more consistent temperatures during brewing = better extraction of tea leaves.
- Properly preheated cups and mugs keep tea warm for longer = retaining better flavors and aromas.
And it’s just damn cozy. Who doesn’t want those warm, fuzzy moments to last longer?
If you haven’t been preheating your teaware, give it a try.
It’ll give you more control over your tea, and more consistency in your results.
And if you already do preheat, then don’t half-ass it like a late night toothbrush attempt.
The half-ass preheat: Rie, on a dark November morning, probably rushing.
She takes out a tea pot and pours in hot water to “preheat”, only to wait all of 5-10 seconds before chucking the water out to start brewing tea. (Formality, more than proper technique.)
As a result, the water temperature is lower than she wants during brewing.
Pours tea into a cold mug. The tea is lukewarm within minutes.
What this reminds me of is that similar half-assed attempt we all make at dental hygiene after raging too hard at a friend’s party, or something. When you’re barely awake enough to care but too sleepy to want to.
You may have put the toothpaste on and done a couple swipes, but does it really count as brushing your teeth?
The preheat that will actually make better tea:
- Pour hot water into teapot.
- Because each pot is different, there’s no set time that will tell you exactly how long to preheat. Instead, actually touch and hold the pot to check on its preheat progress.
- Once the pot is warm, pour the water out into the cups or mugs you’ll use to drink out of. It should still be hot enough to warm those, too.
- Put tea in the pre-heated pot. Enjoy the fk*n’ amazing fragrance of the leaves before the brewing even starts.
- Then, brew tea.
A better early morning tea experience, I think.