Tea broth color is the key to infusion perfection.
The perfect infusion is the result of an equation combining an amount of tea, heated water, and time.
Once these three elements are determined, reliable consistency can be achieved using many vessels to infuse. I recommend something clear to infuse in order to make observation of the steeping leaves easy.
The difficulty arises with the absorption rate, condition, and useful life of the tea leaves themselves.
Loose leaf teas are not only capable of multiple infusions, but should be infused multiple times.
As the condition of the leaves change, it becomes increasingly difficult to monitor the condition of the tea broth without the ability to view the tea broth. Relying on a specified amount of time does not allow for the changing tea leaf ingredients infusion after infusion.
Monitoring tea broth color gives the most consistent cup result. Consistency in the amount of tea leaves being steeped and the water temperature are necessary to isolate the broth color as the variable that is being monitored.
Being able to observe the broth color during the infusion process therefore is required for consistent cup quality infusion after infusion.
Steeping your tea in a vessel that allows you to see the color of the tea broth allows you to find the Sweet Spot...the color where you know you will enjoy the tea.
As you become more familiar with each tea and its Sweet Spot, you begin to not only use the color as a doneness gage, but you develop a fondness or appreciation for that color...this small element of character brings us pleasure and triggers our happy hormone Dopamine ...The experience actually becomes emotional...another element of wellbeing.
Controlling the water temperature will give you an advantage in steeping your tea. Over-steeping can bring too much ingredient into out tea broth rendering it bitter and astringent beyond the point of enjoyment.
Controlling out water temperature and determining the doneness by color is a technique for avoiding steeping, leaing to Steeping Perfection...
Use the following temperature profiles for the greatest success when steeping your tea...
White- 180 degrees, pale yellow color
Green- 165-180 degrees, pale-med green
Oolong- 185-205 degrees, golden to med amber
Pu'erh & Dark- 210 degrees light to dark amber
Black- 210 degrees medium to dark amber
Herbal/Rooibos- 185-210 degrees
Always steep to color, aroma and taste!