February 21, 2022
(Downybird Trailblaze Earl Grey Tea)
There is somewhat of a myth that you need lots of brand-new specialty gear to brew loose leaf tea. As a result, we settle for low-quality bagged tea because it seems easier, and we aren’t quite sure how brewing loose leaf tea fits into our daily routines and busy lives. In this blog series, we will debunk the myth that brewing loose leaf tea is hard and show you simple and easy ways to brew fresh tea. Because trust me, it tastes that much better.
The first brewing method we will be discussing is probably my all-time favorite, the French Press. Let me start by saying, I love my French Press. It got me through freshman year before I owned a kettle and would microwave my water to get it hot (I would not recommend this but you gotta work with what you have, you feel me?) Anyways, a French Press is a great, affordable kitchen tool most commonly known for being an easy way to brew coffee (gasp!). Yup, it’s that versatile that you can use it for both because let’s be honest, we are not in the business of picking and choosing between delicious soul-nourishing drinks here. We get to enjoy both!
A Lil’ History of the French PressTurns out the French Press is known by many names including a cafetière, a press pot, and my personal favorite the coffee plunger. The first iteration of this amazing machine is rumored to have been made in France and consisted of a rod connected to a cheesecloth screen that could be pushed down in a pot of hot water with tea leaves or coffee grounds. The invention was first patented in France and later patented in the United States by the Italian designer Attilio Caliman. As the case with all great products, the French Press was iterated on by many. However, it was popularized in the opening scene of the 1965 Michael Caine spy thriller The Ipcress File. It was a gadget so fancy; it was fit for a British spy. Also, I heard a rumor that Bruce Wayne insists on exclusively drinking Downybird Tea at Wayne Manor. I haven’t had time to fact-check, but I believe it.
How to Use the French Press to Make Tea
Fire up that kettle, or if you’re rolling like me freshman year of college then microwave that water (no shame!). You can even boil water in a pot if you like to keep it simple.
Preheat the French Press with hot water. (optional). This step is by no means necessary but has some pretty great results. By preheating your French press the water temperature will stay even when the tea is brewing. Ever notice how fancy restaurants, always serve food on a warm plate? This is the same idea. If you are feeling fancy, you could preheat your mug as well. I bet the queen takes her tea this way. Just saying.
Add tea leaves to French Press. We recommend that you use 1 teaspoon per cup of tea you are making if you like your tea light and 2 teaspoons if you prefer a stronger flavor. I like my tea on the stronger side, so I personally recommend going to two teaspoons. So, load it up.
* Look out for our next blog post where we provide an in-depth explanation on all things tea measurement and steeping related so when your friends ask, you’ll know alllll the answers.
Watch the tea steep for 5-7 minutes. Well technically, you don’t have to watch it steep you can just simply ‘let’ it steep. Be productive, do your laundry, scroll through Downybird’s TikTok. I don’t care. Just make sure to come back after 5-7 minutes otherwise it might be a little too bitter for your liking.
Press the French Press down. This pushes the tea leaves down and filters them out so you get a smooth perfectly steeped brew.
Pour. We recommend that you pour your tea once it has reached your desired flavor, so it does not continue to steep in the French Press. If you plan to enjoy your tea later or make iced tea, it’s a good idea to transfer the tea to a mug or pitcher once steeped to prevent over steeping. When I make tea in a French Press, I usually drink it right away. It’s just really good fresh.
Enjoy. Arguably the most important part of your tea journey, enjoy! That beautiful, flavorful, perfectly brewed cup of fresh organic tea was pretty easy to make after all.
We hope this series helps you discover which brew methods work best for you. Stay tuned for more articles featuring other methods for brewing tea including brew baskets, cold brewing, filters, strainers, tea infusers, teapots and more. I would love to hear more about how you brew your tea. Tag us in your brew routine or comment on our Instagram with your brew tips. We love to learn together!