Flying Cloud Tea

How to Steep Tea

     Brewing loose leaf tea is quite easy, the goal is to let the tea leaves sit in hot water for a short period of time, then strain the leaves from the water, and you are left with delicious tea. Here is a step guide:

The Equipment:

     For brewing our loose leaf teas, you will need to brew in like a teacup, mug, or teapot. If you are using a teacup or mug, you will also need to use a tea infuser which is a basket that reaches down into the cup, or a loose leaf tea bag (such as tsac teabags). The tea infuser will usually have tabs that sit on the rim of your cup.

     You will need a way to heat up your water. Filtered water is preferable to use, as water quality can affect the taste of the brewed tea. A traditional stove-top kettle works, and there are many other types of electric water boilers and kettles on the market which work. Try to avoid re-boiling your water more than 2 or 3 times as this will remove oxygen from the water which helps the tea leaves infuse. A microwave should be a last resort in heating water, as it can actually make the water too hot, and can impart strange flavors to the water.

     The teaspoon seems obvious to mention, but this does help with accurate measurement of tea leaves especially if you are new to loose leaf tea. For most black, green and oolong teas, one heaping teaspoon will measure out about 2 grams of tea, which is the ideal measurement for one 8 oz cup of tea. For fluffier teas, like herbals or white teas, you will need to use about two teaspoons per 8 oz. Also, to make a stronger cup of tea, use slightly more leaves.

The Steps:

     Using the measurement of 1 heaping teaspoon of dry leaves per 8 oz of hot water (double for bulkier teas like white teas or herbals), measure out the leaves into your strainer, infuser or loose leaf tea bag. Then, place the infuser or tea bag into your cup, mug or teapot.

     Next, pour your hot water into the teacup or teapot and feel free to pour it right over the leaves. Remember to use correct water temperatures: boiling (212°), or just under, for black teas and herbals; slightly lower water temperature for oolongs & white teas (about 190°); and lower temperature for green teas (about 160°-175°). This is most important for green teas, as these leaves are sensitive to boiling water and the tea will be bitter if they are burned.

     Once the tea leaves are brewing keep an eye on the timer. We suggest setting a timer in case you get interrupted and forget all about your tea steeping away and getting bitter. For most teas, we suggest about 3 minutes brew time. If you want to bring out more astringency or bitterness let it steep for another minute or two, typically not longer than 5 minutes. Some teas can and should be steeped again. If resteeping, use shorter steep times, such as 2 minutes for the first steeping, then 2 ½ minutes for the second steeping and so on. Herbals can be steeped longer  (5+ minutes) and will usually not get bitter if you let them keep steeping.

After brewing the tea, discard the used leaves or add spent tea leaves to your yard waste compost if you have one, as they really enhance compost. Infusers can be rinsed with water between uses; soap and cleaner is generally not needed unless it has not been used in a while or there is something on it from a previous steeping. 

To make iced tea, just follow the steps above, but use about half the amount of hot water (or double the amount of tea leaves), then pour the hot brew over a cup full of ice cubes, this will make a perfect cup of iced tea without getting watered down.

iced tea photo