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How to brew Loose Leaf Tea

Loose Leaf Tea Brewing Guide

Brewing tea couldn’t be more simple, here are a few guidelines on how to brew loose leaf tea and what to look for:

  1. Water
    Brewed tea is mainly water. Depending on the quality, tap water should be avoided if possible. In some cities it may contain traces of pollutants or chemicals that affect the taste of tea. Good-tasting water like spring water or filtered water will make good-tasting tea. Over boiling the water can cause it to lose oxygen and may affect flavor (We are picky). Avoid using boiling water to brew green or white teas as it may alter their delicate aroma.
  2. Tea
    Loose leaf teas will release more flavor when steeped without physical constraints. Avoid infusers or tea bags as they don’t allow the tea leaf to fully unfurl. Giving the leaves space to fully open, they can better release all their flavors. Loose leaf tea varies in shapes and sizes so their steep time varies as well. We use 6 grams of loose leaf tea for 8 ounces of water. It's a starting point, and feel free to experiment to your taste. We prefer to weigh out the tea rather than using a spoon because tea varies in density therefore physical volume.
  3. Teaware 
    Avoid having heavily scented infusions on claypots as most claypots are porous and absorb flavor. Other teapots made with ceramic and glass are easier to clean. Rinse the teapot with hot water to preheat the vessel before brewing the tea.
  4. Steeping Time
    When steeping a new tea, steep it for a minute or two and then taste it. Focus on the taste rather than the color. Remember to strain all of your tea out into a cup or a pitcher to avoid over-steeping. The steeping time will depend on the tea, ratio of water to tea and personal preference. When using good loose leaf tea, make sure to steep several times because they are meant for multiple infusions. Remember to increase the steeping time for subsequent infusions.
  5. Trial and Error
    Experiment with temperature, time and ratio of tea to water. There are no wrong answers here. Ultimately, your taste is the one that needs to be satisfied.

How to brew loose leaf tea

Loose Leaf Tea Hot Brewing Chart

Here are some general guidelines on how to brew using hot water.

Our suggested ratio

6 grams tea
8 ounces 
water

*Scale it to your teaware volume and feel free experiment to your taste

Steeping time & water temperature

White 1-1:30 minutes in 180-195° F (82-91° C).
Taiwanese/Chinese Green 1-2 minutes in 185-195° F (85-91° C).
Japanese Green 0:45-1:30 minutes in 160-185° F (71-85° C).
Twisted Leaf Oolong 1-2 minutes in 195-205° F (91-96° C).
Ball Shaped Oolong 1-2 minutes in 202-212° F (94-100° C).
Black 0:45-1:30 minutes in 195-210° F (91-99° C).
Pu-erh 1-2 minutes in 195-210° F (91-99° C).
Herbal Tisane 2-3 minutes in 202-212° F (94-100° C).

Loose Leaf Tea Cold Brewing

All types of tea can be made into a great-tasting iced tea.

Our suggested ratio

8 grams tea
25 ounces 
water

*Scale it to your teaware volume and feel free experiment to your taste

Water temperature range

Cold Brew room temperature water and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.
Hot Brew above suggested temperature, brew for 5-10, refrigerate until cold.

A few tips

  • If using ice, a stronger brew is preferred. Ice will dilute the strength of the tea.
  • Ice quality will impact the tea flavor. If the ice sits in the freezer for long periods of time they will absorb odors and flavors that will influence the flavor of the iced tea.
  • If using sweeteners, use honey, agave, or simple syrup. It will dissolve easier.
  • Making bitter, over brewed tea and then diluting it does not get rid of the bitter taste.
  • The water used to brew tea should be carefully considered since it imparts its impurities to the finished tea. Bad water will make bad tea, no matter how good the tea.

The above suggestions are just guidelines so take it as such. For more information and step-by-step guide on how to brew teas using different methods please check our how to brew tea page.

We encourage you to experiment with different amounts, steeping times, and steeping temperatures to suit your own palate.

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