Steeping tea – the perfect way


Steeping a pot of tea is about intuitively knowing the best way to steep a particular leaf, and how the resulting tea should taste.

Chinese tea masters refer to water as a friend to tea: water heated to the right temperature for a tea will yield a cup that reveals the subtle flavors and character of that tea.

Steeping Black Tea

Three most common mistakes of tea steeping

By paying attention to your tea and its ideal steeping conditions, you can learn to avoid the three most common mistakes of tea steeping:

  • Using too much or not enough tea
  • Improper water temperature
  • Oversteeping

Tips for Coaxing the Best Flavor from Your Tea

The goal in steeping tea is to coax the flavor from your leaves. Steeping a great-tasting cup of tea is easy. 

The only requirement is paying attention to a few simple steps in order to find “flavor nirvana” in your cup.

Tips for Steeping a great-tasting cup of tea
1.Measure the leaf. Use the right amount of leaf—don’t guess

Guessing leads to too much or too little leaf in the pot, and this never tastes right. 

The easiest way to measure leaf tea is to weight it on a small kitchen scale. 

The ideal ratio of leaf to water for most tea is two to three grams of tea for each cup. 

How much tea leaves per cup
2. Pay attention to water quality
How to choose water for tea

A cup of tea is composed of 99% water. Use pure, clean water. Water with too many minerals will affect the taste of the tea.

The best water is fresh, oxygenated and sweet tasting.

3. Use the correct water temperature
Perfect water temperature to make tea

There is no “one temperature fits all” rule for steeping tea. Water temperature is critical; if the water temperature is too high, the tea will taste bitter because more of the tannins will be released into the cup.

Also, delicate aroma compounds will be driven off and lost. If the temperature is too low, proper extraction cannot occur, and the tea will taste flat.

4. Watch your steeping time

Follow the recommended steeping time for your tea to release only the desirable flavor components. Setting a kitchen timer is a useful practice.

Steeping time to make tea
5. Consider the tea-steeping vessel
Japanese Teapot

While black, yellow, green and most white teas will steep well in a Western-style teapotoolongs, Pu-erh, and some Japanese green teas will perform better in a gaiwan—a small unglazed clay teapot.

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