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Tea Notes

Discover the world of tea, from the history of its cultural significance to the science of its benefits and the art of its preparation.

Welcome to

Tea Notes

Discover the world of tea, from the history of its cultural significance to the science of its benefits and the art of its preparation.

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How to Steep the Perfect Cup of Tea

3 Min Read | March 27, 2018

How to steep the perfect cup of tea

In tea preparation, timing and temperature are everything. Falling into a quintet of categories, tea can be generalized as black, green, white, herbal, or oolong, depending on the source and the process through which the leaves were dried, rolled, oxidized and otherwise prepared for consumption. Because of these variations, your role in bringing out the flavor relies on a few key steps: heating the water just so, steeping the tea for a certain amount of time, and choosing accompaniments that will enhance, rather than spoil, the taste.

If you’re wondering how to steep the perfect cup of tea, then cheers: you’ve arrived in just the right spot.

Your role in bringing out the flavor relies on a few key steps: heating the water just so, steeping the tea for a certain amount of time, and choosing accompaniments that will enhance, rather than spoil, the taste.

The perfect cup: A step-by-step guide

Want to make sure your brew isn’t too bitter, too flat, too strong, or too weak? Follow these simple instructions to bring out the nuance in each cup of tea you prepare.

Black Tea Steeping Instructions

For black tea (known in China as red tea):

  1. Heat water to 208 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place one tea pyramid infuser, or 1 teaspoon of loose leaf tea, into your cup.
  3. Pour 6-8 ounces of hot water over the tea and steep for 3 to 5 minutes, or to taste.
  4. If you plan to add milk to your tea, swirl the hot water in your cup to pre-warm it. Then add the milk to a pre-warmed cup, then add the tea and steep for 3-5 minutes.

Green Tea Steeping Instructions

Green tea needs to be steeped with care. Be sure to use the recommended water temperature of 175˚F and 2-3 minute timing so you don't end up with a bitter-tasting cup of green tea.

  1. Heat water to 175 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place one tea pyramid infuser, or 1 teaspoon of loose leaf tea, into your cup.
  3. Pour 6-8 ounces of heated water over the tea and steep for 2 to 3 minutes to taste (Bitterness will emerge if left longer than 3 minutes).
  4. Add sugar or honey for sweetness, if desired. Milk (or, alternatively, lemon) is generally reserved for black tea.

Oolong Tea Steeping Instructions

  1. Heat water to 195 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place one tea pyramid infuser, or 1 teaspoon of loose leaf tea, into your cup.
  3. Pour 6-8 ounces of heated water over the tea and steep for 5 minutes or longer.
  4. This gorgeous tea variety is best enjoyed without any accompaniments.

White Tea Steeping Instructions

  1. Heat the water to 175 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place one tea pyramid infuser, or 1 teaspoon of loose leaf tea, into your cup.
  3. Pour 6-8 ounces of heated water over the tea and steep for 2 to 3 minutes to taste (Bitterness may emerge if left longer than 3 minutes).
  4. Add sugar or honey for sweetness, if desired. Milk (or, alternatively, lemon) is generally reserved for black tea.

Herbal Steeping Instructions

For herbal tea, also known as a tisane:

  1. Heat the water to 208 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place one tea pyramid infuser, or 1 teaspoon of loose leaf tea, into your cup.
  3. Pour 6-8 ounces of heated water over the tea and steep for 5 minutes or longer.
  4. Add sugar or honey for sweetness, if desired. Milk (or, alternatively, lemon) is generally reserved for black tea.
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