Tea 101: How To Make Tea From Loose Leaves

Erika Marty

Instead of reaching for a crappy tea bag with boring or undeveloped flavors, immerse yourself in a world of flavor with loose leaf tea. Offering distinct notes and enhanced tasting notes, a loose leaf tea is a great choice for people who live for flavor. Plus, they’re as easy to brew as tea bags once you get the hang of a few basic techniques. Discover loose leaf blends and learn how to make tea properly with this step-by-step guide.


The Step-By-Step Guide to Brewing Tea:

1. Boil Water

Start by heating spring water or filtered water. Different types of tea infuse flavor best at different water temperatures. Herbal teas are often brewed using boiling water while more delicate teas like matcha are brewed using lower water temperatures.

It's best to follow the guidelines on the packaging of the specific type of tea your brewing. If the packaging doesn't tell you the proper temperature, you can use our guide to find the rule of thumb for the best water temperature for different types of tea from true teas to herbal teas.

You can heat water in a saucepan and use a thermometer to nail down the right temperature. For even easier tea brewing, use a temperature-controlled tea kettle that allows you to set the proper temperature or your desired tea type.

2. Warm and Rinse Tea Cups

In Asian societies, tea drinkers begin by rinsing the teacups and teapots with warm water. This helps to cleanse the cup before adding tea and also heats the mug so your tea doesn't cool as soon as it hits the mug. Simply add a small amount of hot water from step one and gently swirl in the teacup or teapot. Discard the water.

3. Steep & Strain the Tea

Tea can be steeped in a teapot or directly in a teacup. People who want to enjoy multiple cups of tea or are serving a large number of people can use a large teapot while others who prefer single servings can simply let the tea steep in a teacup. 

For loose leaf tea, it's a good idea to use tea tools like a tea strainer to steep tea. The strainer, also known as an infuser, helps to contain the tea leaves during the steeping process. Once the leaves are done infusing flavor, they can easily be removed and discarded using the strainer. 

Like water temperature, the proper steeping time varies from tea to tea. Oversteeping can cause teas like green tea to develop bitter flavors. You can use our tea for beginners guide to find the perfect steep times for different teas including green tea, black tea, oolong tea, white tea, pu-erh tea, and herbal teas.

4. Pour and Enjoy

Pour the hot tea into your teacup and sweeten as desired. You can use classic sweeteners like cane sugar or brown sugar or mix things up with things like Stevia, maple syrup, and agave. You can also add other flavorings like lemon, cinnamon, and milk if desired. 

Additional Tips For Making the Best Tea

High-Quality Loose Tea

Using high-quality tea leaves ensures that your tea offers the best flavor and maximum health benefits. Avoid using tea bags as they mainly contain broken leaves, tea dust, and fannings that don't produce great flavor. Instead, stick to whole leaf teas that contain all the polyphenols, tannins, and other compounds that lend flavor and nutrition to teas.

Use Good Water

Tap water contains chemicals and additives that can alter the flavor of the tea. While tap water is a great choice for hydrating and protecting the environment, it’s not always the best choice for brewing tea. In some areas — like mountainous regions and areas rife with spring water — tap water is high quality and can be used for making tea. In other areas like heavily populated cities, it’s best to use spring water, filtered water, or fresh water instead.

Use the Right Amount of Tea

Using the right amount of tea is great not just for your taste buds, but also your wallet. Beginner tea drinkers often think that more tea means more flavor and that's not always the case. Using too much tea for a single serving just wastes tea and means you'll have to shell out money for more tea. Use one teaspoon of tea for every 8 to 10 ounces of water. If you want to get it right every time, grab a tea spoon that scoops out the perfect amount of tea every time. For stronger flavors, let the tea leaves steep for a longer amount of time — typically at the longer end of the recommended steeping time.

Store Tea Properly

Storing tea properly helps ensure the integrity and flavor of your favorite teas for months to come. Tea should be stored in an airtight container and kept in a dark, cool place. Tea tins are a great choice for keeping tea dry and safely away from environmental factors like light and humidity that can affect flavor.

Master Every Step of the tea Brewing Process

Brewing tea is as easy as using high-quality ingredients and focusing on proper water temperature and steeping times. This step-by-step guided will help you brew the perfect cup of tea every time no matter what tea type you want to use. Brew everything from true teas to rooibos, chai, and southern sweet tea with these tips. If you want to make iced tea, don't use cold water to brew. Instead, follow these steps and then let the mixture cool to room temperature. Serve over ice and store in the refrigerator for best results.

Learning how to make tea can be quick and easy with a few handy tips. Remember that enjoying tea is all about focusing on your personal preference. Brew teas with flavors you love and feel free to experiment with new tastes. 

Erika Marty

As a digital nomad, I get to work from anywhere in the world and discover new teas every week. When I'm not working, you can find me mountain biking, hiking, and petting every stray dog I meet.

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