A friend of mine came over today, took one whiff of this tea, and declared it a must try—even after I explained my problems with brewing a decent cup. So off we went to try once more. I used water from the brita again, figuring that since its company, I should pull out all the stops (well, one stop, I suppose). This time I tried upping both the temperature and the steep time—temperature at 200 degrees and a three minute steep.
Holy hand grenade batman! I fixed a good cup. Even though I forgot to put the lid tightly on the basket of the Breville so I had a tea explosion in the pot, I got a decent cup of tea from this preparation. I tasted strawberries, people—actual creamy strawberry, just like the dry mix promises. I declare victory. It only took a total of 4.8 liters of tea to get it, and now I’m running relatively low on the tea, but I finally did it. I did a little mental Snoopy dance of victory (doing it in person might have looked strange, after all). I think I’m going to try the same parameters with the other 52tea blends that I have, to see if I can get a more reliably good cup from them.