How to Brew A Perfect Cup of Tea
Making a cup of tea may seem like a simple task, but if you’ve ever been shamed for pouring hot water in a cup and dunking a tea bag you understand that there is a right way to make tea and a microwavable wrong way to make tea. Don’t worry — we’ve collected our best tips and tricks so you understand how to make a tea that’s bold and flavorful.
What You’ll Need:
- Electric kettle
- Tea bags or loose leaf tea
- Tea strainer or tea filter (for loose leaf tea)
How to Make a Perfect Cup of Tea
First, what kind of water are you using? Only use filtered water so your tea flavor is fully realized. While tap water will do, tap water additives like chlorine and fluoride can mess with the balance of a great cup of tea.
1. Boil water with an electric kettle, boiling more than you will need for the actual teapot. Once the water is boiled pour some water into your teapot and into your teacups to heat them up. This prevents the temperature of your tea from dropping so rapidly when you serve the tea. After a couple of minutes (once your cups and teapot are warm) dump the water.
2. Check your tea packaging for the correct brewing temperature and steeping time.
For black teas and herbal infusions we recommend 206° Fahrenheit (just under boiling).
For oolong teas, we recommend anywhere from 185° to 206°.
For green teas, we recommend between 180° and 185°.
Use an electric kettle to heat your water to the precise temperature you need.
4. Add one tea bag per cup or one heaping teaspoon of loose leaf tea per cup to your teapot (read below for full loose leaf tea brewing instructions). Many teapots are one liter in size, which is about 4 cups (meaning 4 tea bags).
5. Pour the heated water into your teapot or cup.
6. Allow the tea to steep for the amount of time indicated on the packaging. We recommend the following. Set a timer for the best results.
- Herbal Infusions: 7 minutes
- Black Teas: 5 minutes
- Oolong Teas: 4 minutes
- Green Teas: 3 minutes
7. When the timer goes off, pour your tea into a cup or remove the tea bag and enjoy!
How to Brew Loose Leaf Tea
To brew loose leaf tea follow the same instructions as above. When using loose leaf tea, you have two options:
1. Scoop leaves straight into your teapot. Once the tea has brewed, place a tea strainer over your cup and pour the tea through the strainer to ensure loose leaves don’t find their way into your cup.
2. Pour the loose leaf tea into a tea filter that sits inside your teapot. Once the tea has finished brewing, simply remove the tea filter, and then pour the tea into your cup. This option makes cleaning your teapot much easier.
3. For a single cup of tea, we recommend a reusable mesh filter. Measure one heaping teaspoon of loose leaf tea into your filter, and then place the bag into your cup. Pour hot water into your cup ensuring the water flows through the tea filter. Steep for the recommended time.
Can You Add Milk or Creamer to Tea?
This is a question of personal preference. Many people enjoy their black or oolong teas with a splash of milk — go ahead and add an amount you enjoy! But avoid adding milk to lighter teas, including white, herbal, or green teas. These are best enjoyed with their natural flavors, and milk can override and muddle the complexity already present in the tea leaves. Avoid adding creamer to tea. Creamer is intended for darker, bolder drinks like coffee. Stick to milk and sugar when brewing tea at home.
How Do You Make Strong Tea?
Contrary to what may seem logical, you should not steep your tea longer than the recommended time in order to produce a stronger flavor. This will only increase the bitterness, or astringency, of your tea. Instead, add another tea bag or more tea leaves to your teapot (try an additional half-teaspoon at first) to increase the strength or potency of your brewed tea.
Brew tea like a seasoned pro at home and enjoy complex, rich cups of tea snuggled in a reading chair. Or, if you aren’t keen on the rituals of making a perfect cup of tea, just stop by The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® in your neighborhood.