Steeping Basics

black tea

Tips to Steep By

Water Quality

Use only fresh filtered water for the best tasting tea. Removing strong flavors like chlorine, sulfur or other added or natural compounds will allow for a better tasting infusion all around. 

Water Temperature 

Steeping with the correct water temperature is critical in order to prevent bitterness while bringing out the best flavors of your favorite tea. Pay close attention to recommended steeping temperatures. Refer to the Steeping Guide below for some general tips. 

Tea Type

What type of tea are you brewing? Green, white, oolong, black, pu-erh, rooibos, or herbal?  These can vary widely in terms of how they handle water temperature. Generally speaking, the lighter the tea, the cooler the water you'll need for a successful steep. For instance, a spring picked Japanese green tea can steep successfully with 160F degree water while a bold, highly oxidized black tea does well at near boiling temperatures. 

Time is Relevant

Over-steeped tea can be bitter or overly tannic. Follow recommended steeping times at first and then try experimenting by adding or subtracting time to suit your individual taste. With some delicate teas, seconds really do matter while for most herbal or rooibos teas, there's much more flexibility. 

Size Matters

Now that we have your attention, there's no fooling around that the size of your tea infuser is critical to a successful infusion. Our large, loose-leaf teas do best in an infuser that allows leaves to fully open up and move around. Some of our beautiful teas will expand ten-fold or more during the steeping process. Don't be afraid to wiggle that infuser around during the steeping process to get the most out of the leaves. 

How Much Tea Leaf 

Ideally, you should measure out your tea by weight for precise taste. Plan to use 2.5 to 3 grams per 8 ounces of water. Tea leaves can vary significantly in size and weight, so relying on a teaspoon is not going to help unless you know the relative weight of the leaves you're planning to steep. For example, a level teaspoon of our #38 Premium Sencha weighs 3.5 grams, while a level teaspoon of our #145 Peppermint Leaf weighs only 1 gram. A handy little kitchen scale will take the guesswork out and help you achieve a great brew.

Common Vessels Used for Brewing Tea