How Long to Steep Tea

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Brewing tea might seem like an easy enough task but there are subtle nuances, which if ignored, can produce a mediocre cup of tea full of tannins and other bitter tasting compounds. Such variances for brewing tea might include differences such as the amount of material, temperature of the water, or even the steep time.

Below we are going to discuss the most common forms of tea and the correct steep times for Western-style tea brewing.

White Tea

White tea is the least processed tea variety and has minimal processing.

Often it is simply picked from the plant and dried.

White tea has minimal caffeine.

Quantity: 1 – 2 Teaspoons

Brew Time: 3 to 4 Minutes

Water Temperature: 170 to 180 Fahrenheit

If you’re looking for a good white tea, we recommend Tao of Tea Imperial White Tea.

Green Tea

Green tea is most popular in Japan but has grown to prevalence in recent history.

Popular varieties include strains such as sencha, longjing, genmaicha, and matcha.

Green tea contains caffeine, but the amount can vary quite a bit depending on the tea.

Quantity: 1 – 2 Teaspoons

Brew Time: 1 to 3 Minutes

Water Temperature: 170 to 180 Fahrenheit

If you’re looking for a good green tea, we recommend Chaganju Organic Uji Kyoto green tea.

Black Tea

The most common tea variety in the western world would be black tea.

Noted for it’s rich and bold flavor, it pairs well with cream and sugar.

Black tea typically has a high caffeine content.

Quantity: 1 – 2 Teaspoons

Brew Time: 3 to 5 Minutes

Water Temperature: 190 to 210 Fahrenheit

If you’re looking for a good black tea, we recommend Taylors of Harrogate Earl Grey tea.

Oolong Tea

Oolong tea is also sometimes called ‘wu long’.

This varietal of tea often holds a complex depth of flavor.

Oolong tea contains a moderate amount of caffeine.

Quantity: 1 – 2 Teaspoons

Brew Time: 3 to 5 Minutes

Water Temperature: 170 to 180 Fahrenheit

If you’re looking for a good oolong tea, we recommend Vahdam High Mountain oolong Tea.

Pu’erh Tea

Quantity: 1 – 2 Teaspoons

Brew Time: Variable

Water Temperature: 190 to 210 Fahrenheit

Herbal Tea

Herbal tea typically consists of herbs, fruits, roots, and flowers.

An example of common ingredients could include things such as rose, licorice, lemon, or ginger.

Most herbal tea has no caffeine, outside of a few plants such as yerba mate.

Quantity: 1 – 2 Teaspoons

Brew Time: 3 to 5 minutes, but sometimes up to 10 minutes.

Water Temperature: 190 to 210 Fahrenheit

If you’re looking for a good herbal tea, we recommend Tiesta Tea Blueberry Wild Child herbal tea.

Tips:

  • Many loose-leaf teas are good for a second or third brewing if you would like another cup.
  • When brewing loose-leaf tea it is best to let it diffuse in a container where the leaves can unfurl.
  • As a rule of thumb, 2 grams of tea leaf per cup of tea is usually suitable.
  • Using clean, fresh water is always recommended.
  • For iced tea, double the amount of leaf used for a bolder flavor.
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