In the first part of this series, we took a closer look at what loose leaf tea, at the different types of tea available, and how to best to store it. Today, we’re going to explore the basics of brewing the perfect cup of loose leaf tea. While this process is a little more complicated than dropping a tea bag in a mug, it’s not as intimidating as it might seem at first, and the results are well worth it.
The Beginner’s Guide to Brewing Loose Leaf Tea
The first step to brewing loose leaf tea is to gather your equipment. You already have your tea, now you’ll need something to put it in. There are a variety of mesh strainers available that hold onto loose leaf tea as it steeps – they’re easy to use and a great way to simplify the tea brewing process. You could also use a teapot or a mug that has a removable mesh basket. There’s no right or wrong way – choose what works best for you.
The second step is determine the correct ratio of tea to water. A good rule of thumb is to include half a tablespoon of loose leaf tea for every 8 ounces of water. However, different teas may require certain ratios. Read the package your tea came in to determine the correct amount, then place it in your preferred brewing device
The third step is to heat you water. Pour your desired amount of water into an electric or stovetop kettle and turn it on high. Different teas require different temperatures for maximum taste: here’s a quick rundown:
- White Tea – 175 degrees
- Green Tea – 170 degrees
- Black Tea – 200 degrees
- Rooibos Tea – 205 degrees
- Oolong Tea – 200 degrees
- Herbal Tea – 200 degrees
Overheated your water? No problem! Just drop an ice cube or two in to help it cool down to the right temperature.
The fourth step is one of the hardest – you have to wait! Give your tea time to brew. If you’re brewing green or white tea, you don’t have to wait for long – 2 minutes is all you need for the perfect cup. To get the best flavor out of black or oolong tea, steep for 4 minutes. For herbal or rooibos, wait 6-7 minutes. Once enough time has passed, remove the tea from the water and pour.
The final step is to add milk or sugar. There’s no right or wrong way to add things to your tea – it’s all a matter of taste. If you like a sweeter cup, simple white sugar or honey can make a big difference, as can agave nectar or other less common sweeteners. Milk can add a creamy texture to black or chai teas, but be careful with herbal blends: certain fruits can cause milk to curdle. If you like to keep things simple, enjoy your tea as is.
Just because you’re a tea beginner doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a well-brewed cup. Are you a tea newbie, or has loose leaf tea been your drink of choice for years? Let us know your favorite tips and tricks in the comments below. We hope you enjoyed the Beginner’s Guide to Loose Leaf Tea!