This Tea Brewing Calculator Tells You Exactly How Long to Steep
From the same people behind the wine chilling calculator.
When last we caught up with The Omni Calculator Project—a Polish startup looking to use math and science to create calculators that can solve all sorts of everyday problems—the group had just added the Chilled Drink Calculator to its repertoire of over 900 calculators. As its name implies, by answering just five simple questions, this drink calculator could—for instance—tell you that to chill a standard bottle of white wine that's currently at room temperature to serving the ideal temperature, you'd have to put it in your freezer for approximately 33 minutes. And it's just one of Omni Calculator's 31 food-related calculators which also handle stuff like egg boiling or figuring out how much alcohol you need at your wedding reception. (Really.)
Now, Omni Calculator says it can help you solve another common beverage-related problem: brewing tea. Again, by answering just a handful of straightforward questions, Omni Calculator will provide the steps needed to brew a perfect cup of tea every time no matter what you're looking for. Choose from black, green, oolong, white, yellow, and fermented. Then let the calculator know hot or iced, strength, and volume. From there, Omni Calculator provides step-by-step instructions: choosing the right amount of tea leaves, the right temperature, and the steeping time for different infusions.
Of course, you may be wondering how does the same person know how to calculate all these different things? The sensible answer is they don't. Along with its scientist staff, Omni Calculator brings in different experts for different calculators. For instance, though Dominik Czernia—a physics Ph.D. candidate—also helped with the Chilled Drink Calculator, for the Tea Brewing Calculator, he was matched with Rita Rain, a tea expert who previously worked at a tea house in Poland selling, preparing, and serving over 100 types of tea.
"There are no set 'rules,' as everyone likes their tea different, but there are certain guidelines for different types, which may be useful for beginners," Rain explained to me via email. "The crucial parameters are water/leaf ratio and temperature. People in the West usually put too little leaf to fully appreciate high quality tea when they buy one. Another example can be over-brewing green tea. It should be steeped in relatively low temperature, otherwise it can become bitter."
But as Omni Calculator points out, brewing your own tea goes even beyond getting your ideal cup. According to the company, 159 million Americans drink tea every day but 77 percent of them are using tea bags. Switching to loose leaf tea could help eliminate a lot of waste—and Omni Calculator points out that if you're worried about microplastics in tea bags, their calculator can help alleviate that fear too—but many people may be intimidated by the process. The Tea Brewing Calculator hopes to "make tea brewing process more fun, simple and authentic."
In the end, whether Omni Calculator's Tea Brewing Calculator is enough to get you brewing loose leaf tea is a personal decision, but at the very least, it's almost certainly better than just guessing, right?