How to steep tea

December 14, 2017

How To Steep Loose Leaf Tea For Beginners

Let’s start with the basics. Whether you are new to loose leaf tea or have been steeping for a while, let’s review the proper way to steep loose leaf teas. Our guide will show you the proper tools, time and temperature to get the perfect cup of Premium Steap Tea!

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Select Your Loose Leaf Tea

Decisions, decisions. This step will be the hardest when choosing from Premium Steaps variety of exotic loose leaf teas. Black tea, green tea, rooibos, oolong, white, or herbal? You can explore our teas on our site or purchase a sampler to try a variety of teas at once.

Step 2: Tea Tools

Decide on how you’d like to brew your tea, either by using a tea infuser, paper filter, tea strainer, tea kettle or even a tea infuser travel thermo if you are on-the-go. Whichever tool you decide to use, make sure you wash it thoroughly before use. To see more of our tea tools see here.

Step 3: Hot, Hot, Hot!

It’s time to heat things up! Heat fresh water in a tea kettle. Don’t be lazy and microwave your cup of water. Microwaving causes a breakdown of the water molecules makes the tea taste flat.

Step 4: Measure Your Tea

Determine how many cups of tea you would like to brew. Remember the general rule of thumb of one teaspoon per cup of tea. But specific instructions for all of our teas are listed on each package. All instructions are based on an 8oz. cup so you’ll have to adjust the amount of tea you use to the size of the mug or teapot you are using.

Step 5: Steep Time & Temperature

Pour in your water over the leaves. Make sure the tea infuser is fully submerged in the water so your tea leaves can properly expand. Steep according to directions on the package. Water temperature as well as steeping times vary by type of tea. For a general list of tea time and temperatures, see below:

Step 6: Enjoy!

Remove the infuser after your tea is done steeping. Keep in mind that oolong teas, green teas, and white teas can be used for multiple infusions. As you brew tea more often, you’ll begin to experiment with the quantity, temperature, and steep time in order to brew a cup that suites your taste.

Sip your tea and add any additional sweeteners or milk if needed!

You will extract the most pleasure from fine tea, steeped with care. The Minister of Fire & Water suggests the following a step-by-step ritual for steeping tea:

Heat Your Water

• Tea begins with the water — the element that brings tea to its full potential. Fresh water yields a better cup. We recommend using filtered, spring or bottled water.

• Fill your tea kettle with fresh, cold water and heat to a rolling boil — unless you’re making green or 100% White Tea. In that case, stop short of boiling to avoid “cooking” the delicate tea leaves.

• Plan on about one teaspoon of tea or herbs or one tea bag per six-ounce cup. One six-ounce cup is the size of a traditional tea cup, not a mug. If using full leaf loose tea or herbs, place tea in infuser or teapot.

Time Your Steeping

• Pour the heated water over the tea, cover, and infuse to taste. Different teas take well to different infusing times. Experiment to find your ideal time, but take care – don’t steep for too long or you’ll find your tea has gone bitter.
How to steep tea
Enjoy Your Tea

• Remove the tea bag or infuser, or use a tea strainer for the leaves. Pour the steaming tea into a cup and let it cool for a moment.
• Sip. Enjoy the nuances, the complexity and character. This is drinking tea.

Steeping tea is an ancient art that has been studied and perfected over the course of thousands of years. Various cultures around the globe have developed centuries-old traditions and ceremonies dedicated to this very act, most notably Japan.

Of course, steeping tea for sipping in your own home does not require such a great degree of fanfare or precision. That said, knowing how to steep tea correctly is still an important skill to learn. In addition to the above guide, we have also compiled some of our top tips for steeping tea.

Tips for Tea Steeping Success

  • When heating water, the microwave will do in a pinch, but it is not recommended for optimal tea steeping results. We recommend a proper tea kettle.
  • Be sure to pour the boiling water over the tea leaves, rather than adding the leaves to a cup or pot that already has hot water in it.
  • Ensure the tea infuser is fully submerged beneath the water while steeping. This will allow the leaves to properly expand and open, releasing their full flavor.
  • Remove the infuser or tea bag as soon as steeping is finished, in order to prevent over-steeping.
  • If using tea bags, do not squeeze them during the steeping process, as this can also lead to bitterness.
  • Before steeping, you may wish to preheat your teapot. This step helps to prevent your teapot from cracking due to the sudden change in temperature. Simply pour some of the heated water into the empty teapot and swirl it around, allowing it to warm the pot. Then, discard the water.

Remember – as you gain experience with steeping tea, you may learn that you have unique preferences regarding the quantity of tea leaves, water temperature, steeping times, and even steeping tools.

The above instructions serve only as a guide as you begin your journey with tea; as you discover your flavor and strength preferences, it is perfectly fine to deviate from these guidelines and develop your own steps to steeping tea.

Steeping tea like a seasoned professional is a skill, but one that’s approachable and rewarding right from the start. If you’re interested in learning the tea steeping ropes, you’ve come to the right place.

When steeped well, tea can be ripe with fresh flavor, crisp with a soothing acidity, refreshingly sweet, and creamy. When steeped poorly, the flavors break down into an indistinguishable mush, the sweetness fades away, harsh bitterness arises, and everything good and pleasant about the tea disappears into oblivion.

You’re not interested in bad, bitter tea. You’re after premium, ethical tea that’s brewed with precision and skill. You’re after tea that’s bursting with flavor, that compliments your lifestyle, and that will help you accomplish your health goals. Here’s how you can achieve it.

What You Need To Get Started

Your tea can only be as good as the leaves you buy, so always start with fresh, premium grade tea leaves.

You’re in luck, because that’s our speciality.
Our tea subscription offers the opportunity to taste multiple teas per month, which is great for learning about tea and honing in your tea brewing.

Two Tea Steeping
Processes

Tea steeping around the world has evolved into two primary methods: Western and Eastern styles.
They both have their advantages and inconveniences, so choose whichever method best suits your circumstance and lifestyle.

Eastern Style Tea Steeping

Tea steeping in the East takes a few different forms, but the most common method uses a small ceramic cup with a loose lid, called a gaiwan.

How to steep tea

Here’s a typical gaiwan method:

Western Style Tea Steeping

Teapots of all shapes, sizes, and materials are the vessels that drive the Western style of tea steeping.

How to steep tea

Here’s a common Western style method:

How To Steep
Specific Tea Types

Black Tea

This tea type requires an extreme steeping environment to pull out the full realm of flavor contained within the leaves. For example, the black tea steep time can be as high as five minutes, which is unmatched by the other tea types with the exceptions of Pu-erh and Herbal.

Oolong Tea

The oolong type is the biggest of the pure tea categories, so steeping recipes can be quite diverse. Darker colored (more oxidized) oolongs will thrive under conditions closer to those of black tea. Lighter colored (less oxidized) oolongs will thrive when brewing conditions moreso resemble those of green tea.

Green Tea

The next few less oxidized tea types are more delicate and require some lighter conditions to pull out the full flavor without over extracting bitterness. To pull out the sweet, soft, green notes of green tea, use the follow guidelines.

Yellow Tea

Yellow tea takes it down another notch with a slightly lower temperature to extract that rare gentle sweetness without any grassiness.

White Tea

White tea is the most delicate tea type.
When brewed gently, it will feature a light floral
sweetness and smooth body.

Pu-erh Tea

This aged tea type is ripe with earthy and spicy notes ready for the taking,
as long as you use a steeping method similar to that of black tea.

Herbal Tea

Herbal teas are infusions made with flowers, roots, and leaves that don’t come from the camellia sinensis plant. Since these are not true teas (like everything else we’ve discussed), they can require a variety of steeping methods. Examples of herbal teas are chamomile, hibiscus, matte, spearmint, and rooibos.

Generally, you can assume that an herbal tea is best made with very hot water for a long amount of time, though since this category is massive, there are exceptions.

Troubleshooting
Your Tea

If you taste your tea and decide that it’s not quite what you expected, there are a few things you can try to bring it to balance, as long as you’re using fresh, premium tea. If your tea isn’t excellent to begin with, your ability to hone in on the flavor is severely limited.

Here are a couple approaches you can take to troubleshooting and improving your tea.

The Tea
Is Too Strong

The Tea
Is Too Weak

The Tea
Is Bitter

It’s important that you only change one variable at a time when you’re troubleshooting your tea. If you change too many things at once, it will be difficult to keep up with how your adjustments affect the tea.

If you apply these troubleshooting tools, you’ll become more and more comfortable with your teas, and they’ll taste better and better.
The key is simply to be aware of what is happening in the pot and in your mug.

Remember that your tea will only be as good as the leaves you buy, which means you want nothing less than fresh, premium tea leaves. If you’d like to experience the richness of high end tea yourself, we’d love to offer you a free sample with each purchase.

You now have all the knowledge you need to begin developing your tea steeping skill. If you need to revisit any specific recipe or want to take your tea knowledge to the next level, I encourage you to check out our Teamatica Blog.

In this Article

  • Steps for Steeping Tea
  • Choosing Your Type of Tea
  • Benefits of Drinking Tea
  • Improve Your Tea Experience

Tea can be a wonderful part of a healthy, balanced diet. That said, coffee shop brews and bottled tea may have more sugar and calories than you need. By steeping tea at home, you know if you add anything to it that makes it less healthy.

Steps for Steeping Tea

Brewing tea takes attention to detail to get the right flavor balance. Follow these steps:

1. Boil water. You don’t need special water to brew tea. In fact, tap water that isn’t softened or hardened is fine. Bring the water to a boil on your stovetop or in the microwave. Then let it cool for 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Add tea leaves. Pour the water into a teapot or container made of glass, china, or porcelain. If your leaves are free, let them float in the water. If you’re using tea bags or an infusion ball, make sure there is room for the ingredients to move around.

Follow instructions on prepackaged teas for the amount of water to use. If you’re steeping fresh leaves, use 1 teaspoon per 6 ounces of water.

3. Rest. Allow the tea leaves to steep for 3 to 5 minutes. A longer steep gives you stronger tasting tea. It may take some trial and error to get a flavor you enjoy.‌

4. Strain. Use a mesh strainer to remove any large particles from the steeped water. You can drink your tea hot or let it cool down before you start sipping.

Choosing Your Type of Tea

There are many varieties of tea, each with a unique taste profile and nutritional benefits:

  • White tea is made when young tea buds are steamed rapidly after picking and are dried to deactivate the enzymes that cause leaves to turn brown. White teas are high in catechins, a flavonoid that helps open your blood vessels and break down fat.
  • Green tea is made when leaves are freshly picked and steamed so they retain their green color. The specific catechins in green tea are called epigallocatechin gallate. These flavonoids lower bad cholesterol and inflammation.‌
  • Black tea is made when leaves are rolled or crushed to oxidize catechins. This process creates the tea’s rich flavor and dark color. Black tea is good for bone health, and it may also protect against heart attacks.

Benefits of Drinking Tea

Tea has caffeine, although the amount is less than half of what you find in coffee. If you buy decaffeinated tea, it may not have as many nutrients because of the dilution process.

Tea also contains polyphenols, which are a type of antioxidant. These help to protect cells in your body from damage and even promote healing at a cellular level. Antioxidants may lower your odds of getting heart or blood vessel diseases.

You may be tempted to add milk, sugar, and other flavorings to your tea so it tastes better — but it’s healthy with no additives. A tea you buy from a coffee shop may have upwards of 42 grams of sugar added for taste. The American Heart Association recommends that women have 24 grams of sugar or less, and men have 36 grams or less.

Health benefits. Research shows that tea drinkers have a smaller risk of getting chronic health conditions like:

  • Cancer. Tea may help lower the chances of cancer cells forming, along with attacking existing cancer cells.
  • Heart disease and stroke. Tea opens your blood vessels, lowering your risk for clogged arteries and blood clots. It also reduces the amount of “bad” cholesterol levels in your blood.‌
  • Diabetes. Tea may lower your odds of getting type 2 diabetes.‌

Researchers believe that catechins are responsible for the health benefits of tea.

Improve Your Tea Experience

Serving sizes. There’s no specific recommendation for how much tea to drink each day. Two to 10 cups per day seems to be safe and provides health benefits.

Watch your additives. When you add sugar to tea, you lower the nutrition by adding in unnecessary calories.

Enhance the flavor. Lemon can boost the taste of your tea without adding extra sugar.

Sources

Consumer Reports: “The Health Benefits of Tea.”

Harvard Medical School: “Health benefits linked to drinking tea.”

Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects: “Health Benefits of Tea.”

North Dakota State University: “Take Time for Tea: For Health and Well-being.”

How to Steep Loose Leaf Tea

Steeping a good cup of loose tea is quite simple, and attention to a few crucial details will generally assure excellent results. Good water, the correct quantity of tea, accurate steeping time, and a proper teapot are important for success.

If your source of water is suspect, try using bottled spring water or purified water; many teas have a variety of subtle flavors that can be destroyed or masked by poor water that contains heavy concentrations of iron or other impurities. Correct water temperature is essential as well. black teas should be brewed with water that has just come to a rolling boil. Oolongs are often best when steeped with water near the boiling point. For Green and white teas, always use water that is less than boiling to avoid a bitter infusion.

Steeping instructions often advise the addition of a teaspoon of tea for each cup and “one for the pot.” However, a small, preheated pot will generally not require this extra spoonful, especially if high quality tea is used. Begin with a teaspoonful per cup or use our brewing suggestions listed for each tea in the online catalog, but do not hesitate to adjust the amount until you find the right balance of flavors. Each tea is unique, as is each tea drinker.

Steeping time depends on the type of leaf and its leaf grade. Many teas yield a pale liquor, so steep by time not color. If milk is to be added, the steeping time must be long enough for sufficient flavor elements and tannins to be extracted. Too short a steeping time will result in a thin, insipid tea. Conversely, over-steeping will yield a bitter tea with an overpowering imbalance of tannin.

The Chatsford Teapot makes the preparation of loose tea quick and easy for everyday use. Fitted with a convenient tab for effortless removal, the ample mesh infuser basket allows full infusion without restricting leaf expansion. Rinse the pot thoroughly with boiling water to warm it, and then pour this water off. Place the infuser basket with tea leaves into the pot and add the hot or boiling water. Cover with the lid, and a tea cosy if desired, and let the tea steep for the desired time. Once the infusion is complete, pull out the basket to halt infusion. Since dust-sized particles will inevitably pass through the infuser and continue to steep, serve the tea as soon as possible.

If you wish to steep the leaves loose in a pot or tea cup, be sure to pour the excess liquor into another pot to prevent over-steeping. A high-quality metal or nylon infuser will remove most particles of tea and result in a perfectly infused cup of tea.

For iced tea, we recommend making an iced tea concentrate. Simply double the amount of tea leaves and prepare as a hot tea, steeping for the recommended time for that tea. Let cool and pour over ice.

Milk Tea, also known as “bubble tea,” is a black tea that is brewed strong and usually topped with sweetened condensed milk. To prepare Milk Tea, first choose a full-bodied black tea, such as our Yunnan Black Snail. Double the amount of tea leaves normally used and steep for 5-8 minutes. Top with condensed milk. Enjoy hot or pour over ice for a refreshing treat!

Consideration of these few simple factors — good water, the correct amount of tea, accurate steeping time, and a quality teapot — will result in a great pot of tea.

Brewing loose leaf tea is quite easy, the goal is to let the tea leaves sit in hot water for a short period of time, then strain the leaves from the water, and you are left with delicious tea. Here is a step guide:

The Equipment:

For brewing our loose leaf teas, you will need to brew in like a teacup, mug, or teapot. If you are using a teacup or mug, you will also need to use a tea infuser which is a basket that reaches down into the cup, or a loose leaf tea bag (such as tsac teabags). The tea infuser will usually have tabs that sit on the rim of your cup.

You will need a way to heat up your water. Filtered water is preferable to use, as water quality can affect the taste of the brewed tea. A traditional stove-top kettle works, and there are many other types of electric water boilers and kettles on the market which work. Try to avoid re-boiling your water more than 2 or 3 times as this will remove oxygen from the water which helps the tea leaves infuse. A microwave should be a last resort in heating water, as it can actually make the water too hot, and can impart strange flavors to the water.

The teaspoon seems obvious to mention, but this does help with accurate measurement of tea leaves especially if you are new to loose leaf tea. For most black, green and oolong teas, one heaping teaspoon will measure out about 2 grams of tea, which is the ideal measurement for one 8 oz cup of tea. For fluffier teas, like herbals or white teas, you will need to use about two teaspoons per 8 oz. Also, to make a stronger cup of tea, use slightly more leaves.

How to Make Iced Tea

You will get a lot of fun from making tea, and carefully brewing. How to make a delicious ice tea? We Ateaset recommendations are as follows:

Heat Water

Making ice tea needs boiling water, which can completely release the aroma and taste of the tea. We recommend using filtered water, preferably spring water or well water.

Then fill your kettle with cold, fresh water and heat to boiling. white tea and green tea avoid to use boiling water, it will spoil the beneficial elements of tea.

Compared with hot tea, iced tea needs better filtration, So we need two teaspoons of loose leaf tea or one teabag per six-ounce cup, if using loose leaf tea, you need a glass teapot or tea infuser.

Steeping Tea Time

Pour the boiling water into the teapot, cover the lid, releasing the taste and aroma of the tea. Different tea have different soaking time. You can try to find your ideal time. Please note that brewing tea time can not be too long, which will make the tea bitter or acidic.

How to steep tea

Enjoy Your Flavor Iced Tea

Pour the tea into a teacup, preferably a glass tea cup, which will make the tea looks good. Then allow the tea come to the room temperature.

Add some sugar to the tea and sweeten to your liking, then put the ice into the cup. Now you can enjoy a cup of delicious and flavor iced tea in your home.

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How to steep tea

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I love tea. It’s one of my favorite drinks. And I’m not alone in this affection. There’re millions of us all around the world. Furthermore, you are more than welcome to join the tribe. And here’s what you need to do to steep a perfect cup of tea every single time.

1. You have to realize that there are different types of tea

Some of the most popular ones are: black tea, green tea, Oolong, white tea, red tea, yellow tea, Rooibos (which isn’t really a tea), Honeybush, Yerba Mate (which isn’t really a tea either).

Each of these types should be handled differently. And by differently I mean: different temperatures of water, different steeping times, and different amounts of the tea itself.

But first, let me give you some…

2. General tips

Steeping tea is actually very simple. All you need to do is pour some water over some tea leaves. But there are still some main rules to follow:

  • Always use cold, fresh water for boiling. Don’t re-boil old water.
  • Pour the water over the tea directly into the cup. Not the other way around – don’t throw the tea to a cup already filled with hot water.
  • If you’re using tea in teabags, don’t squeeze the teabags after the steeping is done.
  • Always cover the cup with something (e.g. a small plate) for the entire time of steeping.
  • When steeping is done remove the leaves immediately.
  • Don’t let the tea to cool down, drink it while it’s warm.

3. Steeping details for each type of tea

First, let me address the pink elephant in the room. What about the standard tea that comes in teabags from your local supermarket? There’s no rocket science in this case. That tea should be prepared in the exact way that has been described on the package. So you might as well stop reading here. BUT remember, the general rules still apply.

Now, let’s quickly go through the most popular types of tea and their perfect steeping conditions.

  • Black tea: 0.5 teaspoon per cup; water temperature 96°C (205°F); steep for 3 minutes.
  • Green tea: 1 tsp/cup; temp. 65-80°C (150-175°F); 3-4 minutes.
  • Oolong: 0.5 tsp/cup; temp. 90°C (195°F); 3-6 minutes.
  • White tea: 1 tsp/cup; temp. 80-85°C (175-185°F); 7-9 minutes.
  • Red tea (Pu-erh): 0.5 tsp/cup; temp. 96°C (205°F); 3-7 minutes.
  • Yellow tea: 1 tsp/cup; temp. 90°C (195°F); 3 minutes.
  • Rooibos: 1 tsp/cup; temp. 96°C (205°F); 3-5 minutes.
  • Honeybush: 1 tsp/cup; temp. 96°C (205°F); 5-8 minutes.

How do you know what kind of tea you have? Once you have some experience you can tell by the way tea smells and looks like, but the easiest way for a newbie is to ask the salesman to write this down on the package.

One more thing, as you’ve noticed not all numbers are precise in the table above. That’s because some types of tea can be steeped for various amounts of time using different temperatures of water. It’s up to you to find the perfect combination for the specific tea you want to enjoy.

4. Sugar, milk, and other things

There’s a number of different ingredients you can add to a cup of tea to make it taste even better (well, maybe not better, but differently).

  • Sugar – some people like to add sugar to every type of tea. Personally, I don’t like to do it because it changes the taste of the tea in a much wider scope than just making it sweeter.
  • Milk – goes best with classic black teas. Teas like: Assam, Ceylon or traditional English Breakfast.
  • Lemon – best with Chinese teas. But add only a little if you don’t want to ruin it (it’s somewhat similar to adding salt to a dish – if you add just a little it improves the taste, if you add too much the dish becomes uneatable).

In a nutshell, the essence of this post can be found in points #2 and #3. It’s all you need to remember in order to steep a perfect cup of tea. Enjoy! … It’s almost 5PM where I’m sitting so it’s time to prepare my afternoon drink.

Now it’s your turn to share. Do you have any interesting tea-related advice? Don’t hesitate to speak up.