How to Brew the Perfect Cup of Loose Leaf Tea

Depending on who you talk to, brewing loose leaf tea can be a very simple or very complicated matter. Believe it or not, the government of Great Britain actually maintains official specifications on the “proper” way to brew tea! We firmly believe that tea should be brewed to suit your own personal taste. That said, here are some helpful hints to get you started.

There are three main considerations when brewing tea:

  1. Tea quantity,
  2. Water temperature, and
  3. Steeping time.

Start by measuring approximately 1 teaspoon of loose leaf tea per cup of water (fluffier blends such as white teas and chamomile may require as much as a tablespoon or more, while denser teas such as gunpowder may require less than 1 teaspoon). Next, heat your water to the temperature suggested below. Use fresh water whenever possible – as we’ve said before, water that has been sitting in your kettle overnight may impart a flat or stale taste to your tea. Finally, steep your tea for the amount of time shown below. Keep in mind that brewing your tea too long can extract undesirable bitterness from the leaves, so steeping time matters! For a stronger brew, don’t steep longer, just use more tea.

  • Black — 212° F 3-5 minutes
  • Oolong — 195° F, 4-7 minutes
  • Green & White — 180° F, 2-3 minutes
  • Herbal/Fruit/Tisanes — 212° F, 5-7 minutes

Don’t have a thermometer handy to measure your water temperature? Don’t worry! Here’s an easy way to estimate 180° F, 195° F and 212° F.

  • 180° F = bubbles begin to form on the bottom of the pot
  • 195° F = the first bubbles begin to rise
  • 212° F = full rolling boil

As I said earlier, brewing a good cup of tea is a matter of personal taste. Hopefully these guidelines will help you discover your “perfect” brew!

November 14 2007 03:54 pm | Tea Preparation

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