A BASIC GUIDE TO STEEPING TEA
Steeping tea is not rocket science, but there are a few important things to remember.
Follow these simple tips to brew a good cup.
Use good water.
Tea can only ever be as good as the water you use. If your tap water tastes great, the chances are it will make great tea. We come from an area known for having some of the best tap water in the world but we still filter our water because to us the teas taste better that way.
Also, don't use water you've already boiled. It has lost oxygen and will make your tea taste flat.
Measure the tea.
The general recommendation is 1 rounded teaspoon per 8 oz of water, but keep in mind the kind of tea leaves you're steeping. For very fine particle tea a level teaspoon will be enough, but for bulky leafy tea you should use a heaping teaspoon.
After making a cup or two you'll get the hang of it!
Time the steep.
This one is important. A tea that is steeped too long will taste bitter. It's important to set a timer and stop the steep by completely removing the leaves from the water. Follow the directions on each packet of tea. If you prefer stronger tea, use more leaves rather than steeping it longer.
Allow for leaf expansion.
Many of these fine loose leaf teas will expand up to 5 times their size when steeped. Although this isn't critical, it's best to use a steeping method that allows the leaves to expand. T-sacs are a simple solution.
Many fine loose leaf teas can be steeped more than once. Not only do you get more bang for your buck, but second and third steeps can bring out new and exciting flavors from the tea. While most of these fine teas will continue to taste great on 2nd or 3rd steep, some of them - such as pu-erhs and oolongs - can be steeped more than 10 times. It all comes down to your preference. Simply add 15-30 seconds for each additional steep.
For black, pu-erh, oolong, and herbal, bring the water to a full boil and use it pretty much right away.
Green, yellow, and white teas are more delicate and you will "burn" them if you use water that's too hot. If the water has already come to a rolling boil, just let it sit for 2-3 minutes before steeping the tea.
You can use a water temp thermometer if you want to get serious, but it's not necessary.
|Type of Tea||Water Temperature||Visual Cues|
|212 °F||Full rolling boil|
|Pu-erh, oolong||190-200 °F||Steaming rapidly, light bubbles|
|Green, Yellow||160-180 °F||Gentle steam, no bubbles|
|White||155-165 °F||Very light steam|
|Herbal||212 °F||Full rolling boil|
|Rooibos||212 °F||Full rolling boil|