Let’s face it; the teabag is pedestrian. It serves one purpose only, which is to make you a quick cup of tea, often sacrificing taste. Loose leaf tea, on the other hand, is easy to brew, and rivals a teabag in taste and enjoyment. So if you are in a hurry or if you have time to meditate on the experience, here are a few steps to improve your experience in brewing a better cup.
Don’t let equipment, or the lack thereof, stand in the way of a good cup of tea. I have done quite well with a mug and a makeshift strainer (paper towel) and have even resorted to letting the leaves settle to the bottom of the cup while my teeth did the straining. Not that I recommend this tactic, but the experience and taste was still far superior to a teabag. So now that we got the stodgy fears out of the way, let’s give you a few good tips on how to brew loose leaf tea:
Using Disposable Tea Filters
For the morning rush, I drink a strong black cup in the morning and my wife likes Sweet Almond with honey and almond milk. I often prepare them differently, but in a pinch I use tea sacs, which allow a quick cup that does not sacrifice taste. As long as the water is hot enough, these work great.
- Boil water to appropriate temperature (see bottom of article for recommendations). Always use fresh water, never water that has already been boiled. This avoids a flat tasting cup.
- Pour hot water in cup and let it heat the cup for 10-15 seconds to heat up the mug. If you are using two cups, just dump the hot water from one cup into the other. When you are finished, dump both cups of hot water in the sink.
- Fill your disposable tea filter with 1 heaping teaspoon of loose leaf tea (per 16 oz mug).
- Place tea filter in the cup and let the top of the filter, which is taller than the mug, fold over the side of the cup.
- Fill the mug with water, being careful to pour towards the bottom of the cup. If you let water pour along the side of the filter, it will wick water over the cup and you could end up with a mess on the counter.
- Cover the mugs with a small clean towel, or small plate.
- Steep 3 minutes. Agitate the bag by moving it up and down, then removing it.
- Add honey and/or milk to taste. Stir and enjoy.
Using a Teapot
I love my Stump Teapot and can be found wrapping my hands around it while I gather its warmth in the kitchen. I use it whenever possible because it is very easy and has an infuser built-in. There are a host of teapot types, with and without infusers. If you do not have an infuser, I recommend buying a small tea strainer to pour through into your cup. I do not recommend a tea ball as they don’t allow enough room for the tea leaves to breathe. (Stump teapots can be found on Amazon or Ebay quite easily).
Just with tea sacs, it is important to heat the pot first with hot water.
- Boil water to appropriate temperature (see bottom of article for recommendations)
- Fill the teapot about 1/4 of the way with boiling water, then let it stand for 10-15 seconds. When you are finished, dump the water in the sink.
- Add 1 tsp for every cup you will be serving, then add 1 extra tsp of loose tea for the pot. If you are using a single serving or 16 oz pot, use a heaping teaspoon.
- Pour hot water in the teapot and cover the pot.
- Steep for 3 minutes (some teas take more or less time).
- Pour tea into teacups or mug. If your teapot does not have an infuser, you will need to pour through a strainer, of simply accept the occasional leaf in the cup.
- Add sugar, honey and/or milk to taste. It is better to put these into the cup prior to pouring.
- Stir and enjoy.
The Evening Unwind – Brewing a Chai Latte
If you do not have a teapot or tea sacs, you can have a lot of fun by making a chai on the stove. Here is a recipe and video for that.
Recommended Water Temps:
Green tea, white tea, and oolongs are more delicate and can get bitter if you brew too hot or steep too long. Therefore, they require lower temperature of water.
- Black tea; 212 degrees (boiling)
- Oolong tea; 195 degrees
- Green tea; 180 degrees
- White tea; 170 degrees
- Rooibos; 212 degrees
- Fruit tea; 212 degrees
- Herbal tea; 212 degrees
As you can see, it is quite easy to learn how to brew loose leaf tea. We hope you had as much fun learning as we did sharing this with you. Cheers!