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To make a good tea, special attention must be paid to the quality of the water, water temperature, the amount of tea leaves used, and the type of teapot. Soft water (water with a low mineral content) that is clear and fresh is required to steep tea; hard water should by all means be avoided. The correct water temperature varies from tea to tea; for most fully fermented and moderately fermented kinds it should be near boiling (100’ or 212’); however, it may be low as 80’ (176’) or less for lightly fermented or green teas.

The proportion of tea leaves to water also depends on the kind of tea leaves used. The teapot may be filled from one-quarter to three-quarters full with the tea leaves, depending mainly on how tightly curled the tea leaves are as a result of the rolling and roasting processes. The teapot is then filled with water. Steeping time starts at one minute, but varies from tea to tea. The time required for subsequent brews from the same leaves must be proportionally lengthened. The best kind of teapot to use for most fermented teas is a purple clay ceramic pot. The size of the pot should be in correct proportion to the size of the cups. Ideally, the cups should have white interiors, to facilitate accurate assessment of the color of the tea.

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