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Methods of Brewing Tea

So, you've decided to dip your toe into the world of loose-leaf tea, but you don't know how to brew it? That's okay! We're here to guide you.

person preparing hot tea in metal teapot


Brewing or steeping loose-leaf tea may not be quite as simple as tossing a teabag in a mug and pouring boiling water on it. But it's not much more difficult than that. There are several ways to brew loose-leaf tea for a delicious cup. Whether black, green, oolong, or herbal tea or tisane, you can easily enjoy your tea in just a few steps.

Amount of Tea

When measuring out your tea, the standard is roughly one teaspoon per eight ounces of water. Fluffier teas may require more tea, up to a tablespoon, while dense teas may require less than a teaspoon. Start with a teaspoon, then adjust the amount per your individual taste.

Temperature and Time

The type of tea you are brewing will determine the temperature of the water. Not all teas benefit from boiling water. We've discussed this before along with how long you should leave your tea to steep.

 Type of Tea Temperature of Water Time to Steep
Black 212°F 3-5 minutes
Green and White 180°F 2-3 minutes
Oolong 195°F 4-7 minutes
Herbal/Tisane 212°F 5-7 minutes

Methods of Brewing

Choosing your method of brewing tea can be determined by the tools you have available to you. Even if all you have is your mug, you can still enjoy a delicious cup of tea. Here are some ways to brew your tea that you can try the next time you decide to have a cup.

Reusable Bags

Muslin, cotton, cheesecloth, and silicone tea bags that are reusable are a great way to steep a cup of tea. Just place the correct amount of tea in the bag, close it up, and drop it in your mug like you would any tea bag. Allow your tea to steep for the correct amount of time, remove the bag, empty it, and rinse it well for your next use.

Another reusable method of steeping tea is with an infuser ball. Treat your infuser ball the same way you would a tea bag.

Disposable Bags

Yes, you can purchase empty disposable tea bags for your tea. You can even make your own tea bag using a coffee filter. Use your disposable tea bags the same way you would use your reusable bags. When you're done brewing your tea, simply throw the bag away.

Infusion Teapot

An infusion teapot makes brewing tea easy. All you have to do is put the correct amount of tea in the infusion basket depending on the size of the teapot.

Regular Teapot

When using a regular teapot, just add the tea leaves directly to the teapot. After the correct amount of steep time passes, you can pour the tea out through a strainer to remove the tea leaves.

Individual Mug

You can add your tea leaves directly to your mug. Be careful with this method as it MAY produce an overly strong or bitter cup of tea depending on the type of tea leaves you use. Sip the tea slowly to aid in keeping the tea leaves towards the bottom of the mug.

French Press

If you have a French press, this is a great way to steep your tea. Add your tea leaves to the bottom of the French press and pour in your hot water. Depress the plunger after the steep time. Decant the tea into another container if you won't be able to drink the tea right away. This will stop the brewing (especially black tea) to keep the tea from becoming bitter.

Sun Tea

Super simple, sun tea can be brewed by placing the proper amount of tea in a clear glass container. Fill the container with water then set it in the sun. Allow the tea to steep in the sun for an afternoon. Strain out the tea leaves and put the tea in the refrigerator.

Cold Brew

Just like cold brew coffee, you can cold brew tea in the same way. This is a great way to use older tea leaves. Your tea brewed in the method is unlikely to become bitter as the water will never be hot enough.

Combine Methods

You can combine methods, too. Reusable and disposable bags can be used in a regular teapot or a mug, as well as in the sun tea and cold brew methods.

What is your favorite way to brew your loose-leaf tea?

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