Proper preparation is the key to a lovely tasting cup of tea. While personal preference plays a role in how strong you like your tea, there are a few factors that are important to take into consideration when brewing up a cup.
Amount of Tea Leaves
The amount of tea leaves you use to brew can have a significant impact on the strength and flavor of the prepared tea. The ratio of tea leaves to water varies depending on the tea, with less dense tea like white tea and herbal infusions generally requiring more leaves, and denser teas like black and green requiring less.
For a standard 12 ounce mug, just double the amount of leaves recommended for a 6 ounce cup. If you're using a teapot, it's a good idea to measure how many ounces it holds. Not sure if you’re measuring tea correctly? Our stainless steel measuring spoons are exactly one teaspoon, and make tea preparation a breeze.
Water temperature also plays an important role in tea preparation. For more delicate teas such as whites and greens, water that is too hot may burn the leaves and result in an unpleasantly bitter cup. For black and herbal teas, on the other hand, a roiling boil helps to unlock the flavor of teas and allows them to fully steep.
At ArtfulTea, we use an electric kettle to heat water to a precise temperature, but traditional electric and stovetop kettles work fine as well. For teas that require boiling water or a 212 degree temperature, it might be necessary to use a lower temperature depending on the altitude. (Here in Santa Fe, we can’t reach 212 degrees due to the elevation!) It’s also important to use the best quality water available, and to always start with fresh water.
How Long to Steep
Steeping tea for too long often results in an unpleasant bitter taste, while steeping for too short a time results in a weaker, less flavorful cup. How long teas should be steeped varies widely: herbal infusions and rooibos teas can be steeped for over ten minutes for a stronger flavor, while some green teas should only be steeped for a minute before they become bitter. We recommend using a tea timer for ease and accuracy.
When steeping, it’s important to give the tea leaves room to expand as they steep in order to fully release their flavor. Tea infusers and filters are a great way to ensure that your tea has room to steep properly.
While tea preparation is to some extent a matter of personal preference, here are our recommendations for ensuring a perfectly brewed cup. Feel free to tweak them to make a cup of tea that best suits you!
|Amount of Tea Leaves||Water Temperature||Steep Time|
|Black||1 level tsp. per 6oz.||full boil (212°)||3-5 minutes|
|Green||1 level tsp. per 6oz.||steaming briskly (175-180°)||1-2 minutes|
|White||2 level tsp. per 6oz.||steaming briskly (175-180°)||2-3 minutes|
|Oolong||1 level tsp. per 6oz.||almost boiling (195°)||2-3 minutes|
|Pu-erh||1 heaping tsp. per 6oz.||full boil (212°)||5 minutes|
|Purple||1 heaping tsp. per 6oz.||steaming briskly (175-180°)||3 minutes|
|Mate||1 level tsp. per 6oz.||steaming (150-160°)||3-5 minutes|
|Herbal||1 heaping tsp. per 6oz.||full boil (212°)||5-10 minutes|
|Rooibos||1 level tsp. per 6oz.||full boil (212°)||5-10 minutes|