You’re excited. You just bought loose leaf tea (hopefully from Tealeavz). The aroma is amazing - just as the words described it. You can’t wait to try it. But how do you steep it?
What is the best method? A tea ball? A mesh infuser? Grin and bear it in a cup? (Ok, maybe not grin because you may have tea leaves stuck in your teeth…)
Don’t worry - it really is simple. Here are a couple ways to enjoy your loose leaf tea.
Whichever method you go with, don’t forget the same basic rules apply to each method.
Rule 1: Heating your water to the proper temperature for each tea is is important! Please don’t ever be so lazy (or stupid enough) to microwave your cup of water. Microwaving causes a breakdown of the water molecules making your tea taste flat – not to mention that whole “super-heated” issue that can happen without you realizing it!
Rule 2: The general rule of thumb is one teaspoon of tea per 8 oz of water. Specific instructions for all of our teas are listed with each tea on our website as well as each package of tea you receive. Everyone’s taste buds are unique, so adjust the amount of tea you use to the size of the mug or teapot you are using, and to the intensity you desire. Remember, longer steeping does not equal stronger tea, it just makes for a bitter cup. More tea leaves equals a stronger tea.
The easiest way on earth to steep the perfect cup with your loose tea is to use a tea maker like an Aberdeen Tea Maker. It is very simple to use and with no-mess cleanup! Just add your tea and hot water to the tea maker. When your steeping time is up (don’t forget to be patient for each type of tea!) Rest the tea maker on your favorite mug to release the tea through the strainer in the bottom of the tea maker! Easy-peasy-1-2-3! To clean, use a spoon to take out used tea leaves and rinse with water. The filter also comes apart for extensive clean in the dishwasher. (And don’t forget to share your used tea leaves with your garden - your flowers will thank you.)
Direct to your cup
This is another easy way to make loose leaf tea. Simply put your tea leaves directly into your cup, pour in the hot water, and steep until ready. Note: Your leaves will be floating in the water, so only use this method if you don’t mind a few tea leaves bumping your lips and/or ingesting a few leaves. Remember to turn to your friend and ask “do I have anything, uh, stuck...?”
Many tea pots come with a removable infuser basket, but in case yours didn’t — or you have a vintage tea set you want to use — here’s how to brew tea in your pot. Spoon the tea leaves into your pot, pour in hot water, and steep for the suggested steep times. When the tea is ready, pour it into your tea cup through a mesh kitchen strainer or slotted spoon to keep tea leaves out. (You can also use this strainer method for the direct to cup mentioned above if you don't mind a few more dishes.)
We’re not huge fans of this option - after all, aren’t we trying to get away from bagged tea? However, since you are starting with full, fresh, loose leaf tea (instead of the crushed-remnants-hiding-in-the-grocery-store-bag-version-of-so-called tea) making your own bag is not a bad option. You can make a tea bag with a coffee filter, cheesecloth, or loose-woven cotton muslin cloth. Simply take the filter or a square piece of cloth and place your tea in the center. Pull the edges up and twist to form a little pouch and secure it with a rubber band or string.
For those ex-coffee drinkers who are wondering what to do now with the old French press in your cabinet, you can also use it for brewing tea! Just use the press like you always did, using your loose tea leaves instead of coffee. Just make sure to clean the press very well first so you don’t get any coffee flavors mixed with your tea. (If you’re really desperate, you can even brew your tea in a very, very clean coffee maker.)
Remember that oolong teas, green teas, and white teas can be used for a couple infusions – or chilled to enjoy later.
Steep, Sip & Repeat!