Making a cup of tea...who needs instructions for that?
Tea comes in a great variety, and with great variety comes many variables. Not all teas can be brewed the same way without potentially sacrificing flavor or quality. This is more true of loose leaf and truer still of high grade teas. Some teas are best brewed at lower temperatures, shorter/longer steep times, or with filtered or distilled water. When brewed in different vessels, such as a clay gongfu teapot or a gaiwan, some teas can express more nuanced flavor. Here is how to get the most out of your brew (and how to save it if it's all gone sideways).
Ingredients + Tools
Makes 1 cup of really good tea
1 tsp - 1 tbsp of loose leaf tea per 8 oz of hot water *
Water (bottled or filtered are recommended)
Teapot or cup
Tea infuser (basket or paper are best)
* See package label for suggested portions. Usually, it is one mounded teaspoon but for very fluffy, large-leaf teas we recommend a tablespoon. If you plan to add milk and/or sugar, we recommend brewing at twice the strength (at least 2 tsp).
Heat water to suggested temperature for the type of tea you are brewing (see package label or chart below).
Scoop dry tea leaf into an infuser and place infuser in brewing vessel (pot or mug).
Pour hot water into the infuser, over the dry leaves, and steep for desired time to achieve desired brew. More time results in a stronger brew—but note that some teas can become bitter if brewed for too long.
Remove tea infuser.
Relax and enjoy!
Tea brewing is a function of leaf, temperature, and time. It takes only 2 grams worth of tea (about the weight of a dime) to make an 8 oz cup. Generally, a mounded teaspoon is plenty, keeping in mind that the bulkier the tea, the bulkier the scoopful needed.
Suggested Times and Temperatures
for Different Tea Types
Things to Remember
Do not over-steep. Some teas can become bitter or overly astringent when over-steeped. If your tea is over-steeped, try diluting it with more hot water.
Remove the tea infuser when tea is finished brewing.
Use the proper amount of leaf in proportion to hot water during brewing.
Most green, oolong, and puerh teas can be steeped multiple times. The higher the grade of tea, the more steepings you can expect.
How to Use Paper Infusers
Paper infusers are a great option for drinking tea on-the-go and a popular choice for coffee shops, allowing loose leaf teas to expand to release all of their flavor and allowing for a quick clean up. Paper infusers are also compostable.