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How To Prepare Loose Leaf Tea

What Is The Difference Between Bagged Tea And Loose

How to make Loose Leaf Tea

The biggest difference between bagged tea and loose-leaf tea is the cut and grade of the tea leaves. The highest quality teas use only the most intact leaf buds and are picked by hand.

At the top of this grading system are full leaf teas, which are intact leaf buds that are picked by hand, and are often reserved for brewing loose-leaf teas. Broken tea leaves are the next grade below loose-leaf tea, followed by fannings, which are broken-down pieces of the whole and broken leaf teas, and finally, tea dust, which is a powder ground from higher-grade tea leaves.

Tea that comes in a typical tea bag is usually made up of fannings and tea dust, which significantly affects the flavor of the tea. When tea is ground into dust, more tanninswhich are organic compounds responsible for the astringency flavor found in tea and wineare released, causing the tea to taste bitter or coat the mouth. Loose-leaf tea maintains much of the tea plants original flavor without the bitterness.

Best Loose Leaf Tea For Beginners

One of the biggest complaints beginners have about tea is the bitterness. So, why not start with teas that are on the sweeter end? Honeybush herbal teas are naturally sweet and easy to avoid oversteeping. We have paired honeybush with some excellent combinations, such as Happy Hour hibiscus-lime, Self Care apricot-elderberry, or Chocolate Hazelnut. We also have some sweeter tea blends overall, such as coconut macaron.

Other great loose leaf teas for beginners are anything with fruit think oranges, peaches, berries. The tart and citrus flavors balance out the tannins in tea and can create a nice balance that is likely one of the reasons Earl Grey is perhaps the most popular tea blend of all time. Our Gratitude Blend strawberry Earl Grey is one of our best sellers! White teas are often paired naturally with fruit , but be sure to avoid bitterness by not using boiling water. Herbal teas are often paired with fruit for a melange of flavor . Dragonfruit, pineapple, blackberry the options are endless.

For the best tasting tea for non-tea drinker folks, go for the easy wins such as dessert teas that have a natural sweetness and playfulness, or teas for coffee drinkers such as anything hazelnut.

How To Brew Loose Leaf Black Tea And Herbal Infusions

  • For our loose black tea and loose herbal infusions, bring spring or freshly drawn filtered water to a boil .
  • In your chosen vessel, place the tea either directly in the pot or inside an infuser . In general, we recommend one teaspoon of tea per 8 ounce cup.
  • Pour the water just off boil directly on the tea leaves, also known as bringing water to tea. Since black tea and herbals lend themselves best to a strong, indulgent experience, pouring the water directly over the leaves encourages an aggressive extraction.
  • Allow the leaves to steep for 5 minutes.
  • After 5 minutes, remove and discard the tea by removing the infuser or pouring the water and leaves through a strainer.
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    Types Of Loose Leaf Tea

    Before we get into how to prepare tea, I want to give you a quick breakdown of the different types of tea available. You can find several different varieties of each type and I encourage you to sample as many as possible so you can find your favorites.

    • Herbal: Herbal teas are typically made of leaves, flowers and berries of different herbs. Try herbs solo, like a cup of chamomile or lemon balm tea, or in a yummy blend.
    • Green: One of the many types of tea from the Camellia sinensis plant, green tea leaves are picked, dried and heat-treated to stop fermentation.
    • Black: Black tea also comes from Camellia sinensis and the leaves are fully fermented to produce strong flavor.
    • Red: Red teas, like rooibos and honeybush are red because of their unique fermentation process. They also lack the astringent tannins found in green and black teas.
    • White: White tea also comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. Its the least processed of all the tea varieties, typically using the youngest tea leaves that are lightly steamed and dried.
    • Mate: Made from the leaves of the Yerba mate plant, native to Argentina. Mate tastes a lot like coffee and is often served in a gourd with a filtered straw.
    • Oolong: Also from the Camellia sinensis plant. However, when oolong tea leaves are picked, they are then bruised and allowed to ferment for a short period of time.

    How To Make Loose Leaf Tea: Advanced Tips From True Aficionados

    How to make loose leaf tea  Stone Leaf Teahouse

    The basic instructions given above are all you need to get a good cup of tea. But traditional tea brewing methods are generally more strict. They can improve your tea, but those improvements are not usually noticeable to most people. Nevertheless, some of the following tips are quite easy to implement, so you may as well.

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    Brewing Loose Leaf Tea

    To get that perfect cup, we recommend following the brewing instructions on our packaging and on our product pages because the temperature and time can vary by tea type and even by tea. In addition to steeping instructions, we have Cups to Grams information on all our loose leaf product pages. To give you an example, 4 grams brews for 1-2 cups of tea, and 25 grams makes 10-15 cups. Want to understand the differences between tea types? Have a look at our brewing guide.

    Once you have steeped your tea leaves, just remove the mesh ball, filter bag or infuser from your cup and get ready to enjoy your cuppa. Fun fact about loose leaf tea: some loose leaf teas like Magnolia Oolong Tea can be brewed multiple times! When re-steeping, we recommend increasing the time and temperature by a bit. Whats more, the flavor will change at each additional steep and you get to experience different nuances in flavor. How cool is that!

    Ultimately, tea is about exploring and challenging your taste buds, so feel free to try different amounts of tea leaves and different steeping times. Maybe even Mixing & Matching two flavors in your cup.

    Remove Tea Leaves And Enjoy

    Just like that you have a delicious cup of tea! Enjoy it however you wish to plain or with milk or sweetener.

    Most high quality loose leaf teas can actually be steeped again. So, when you take the tea infuser out of your cup, dont toss the tea leaves out right away. Instead, set it to the side to use later and enjoy your cup of tea.

    How do I re-steep tea leaves?

    If you would like a second cup, put the tea infuser back in your cup. Using the same tea leaves add hot water and steep again. Essentially, repeat the steps above. For additional steeps you should increase the steep time by 1-2 minutes.

    How many times can I re-steep tea leaves?

    The amount of re-steeps will depend on the tea. Not all teas will be good for 2 or more steeps. Generally, I like to keep steeping the same leaves again until the water no longer changes colour.

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    Use A Kettle Not Microwave

    There are a few ways to boil water for tea using a stove-top kettle, electric kettle or a microwave. Out of all options, microwave is the worst, even though some studies suggest it might extract the most catechins and caffeine. Not only its likely water will absorb smell from other food heated or cooked in the microwave oven, but It will give a flat tasting tea too. Worse way of brewing loose leaf tea than microwaving water is microwaving water with loose leaf already inside the mug. Use a good electric or a stove-top kettle instead and make sure they are always clean and odor-free.

    How To Brew Loose Leaf Green White And Oolong Teas

    How to Prepare Loose Leaf Tea
  • For more delicate green and white teas as well as most oolongs, we recommend bringing spring or freshly drawn filtered water to 190 degrees. Without a thermometer, this can be achieved by letting boiling water cool for about 2 minutes.
  • For greens, whites, and oolongs, you want to bring the tea to water. In other words, pour the hot water into the brewing vessel and then add the loose tea to the water. This method allows for a more delicate experience without extracting the bitter notes from the leaves.
  • Allow the leaves to steep for 3 minutes.
  • After 3 minutes, remove and discard the tea by removing the infuser or pouring the water and leaves through a strainer.
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    More Detailed Brewing Instructions For Loose Leaf Tea

    Once youve decided on the type of tea you want to brew, and you have the right tools, its time to make your first cup. Remember, use the appropriate steeping times and the right temperature, based on the type of tea youre brewing.

    Step One

    Determine how you want to brew your tea. You can use a pot, a kettle, or brew directly in the cup, using a strainer or not. Whichever option you choose make sure everything is nice and clean before you brew.

    Step Two

    Based on how many cups you want to brew, carefully measure the tea and water ratio. Remember, most tea enthusiasts recommend using one teaspoon of loose leaves per cup. This means one teaspoon per eight ounces of water. Place the leaves inside the infuser and place the infuser inside the cup or kettle.

    Step Three

    Heat the water to the right temperature, which will vary based on the type of tea you use and how long you plan to steep the leaves. Again, follow the instructions on the package or those given above. Pour the water over the infuser and allow it to steep for the correct amount of time.

    Step Four

    The leaves in the infuser must be fully submerged, so they can expand and brew properly. Once the right amount of time has passed, remove the infuser. The leaves can be reused to make a additional cups. Most leaves are good for 3 to 5 infusions. If you dont plan on making another cup, dont save the leaves for reuse on another day.

    How To Make Loose Leaf Tea Without A Teapot

    Picture this: the tea craving strikes, and you find yourself without a teapot. No need to panic we’ve been there. There are a few ways to get your loose leaf tea on even without a teapot or kettle.


    Yep, it’s totally possible to brew up a cuppa in the good ol’ microwave. Simply fill a microwave-safe mug with water and pop it in the microwave. Heat it for a few minutes, checking halfway through. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying a mug of your favorite blend and forget about that teapot entirely.

    Coffee Maker

    It sounds crazy, we know. But you can brew loose leaf tea in your coffee maker, even if it’s not designed for tea. Use an unbleached coffee filter and make sure your coffee machine is thoroughly cleaned.

    French Press

    That fancy coffee machine you have? Yep, it’s basically a tea infuser. Easy peasy.


    When all else fails, boil some water in a saucepan on the stove. And no worries if you don’t have a thermometer. Use the boil-and-wait method. For 208° F, let the boiling water sit for about 1-3 minutes. For 195°F, let it sit for 7-8 minutes. For 175° F, let the boiling water sit for about 10 minutes.

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    How To Brew Iced Tea

    When brewing tea to ice, you can use a specialty iced tea pitcher, or you can simply follow the instructions above for making hot tea, but double the amount of loose leaf tea you use. Doubling the amount of tea per cup allows for ice without diminishing flavor.

    To learn more about brewing loose leaf tea iced, check out this article.

    Tea Balls And Tea Pouches

    How to make Loose Leaf Tea

    Tea balls are classic and easy enough to use, but they are flawed. Cheap tea balls tend to fall apart after a short period of use. Invest a little extra in a good quality tea ball, teastick, or similar tea strainer instead of the dollar store varieties.In a similar vein, you can also make your own tea pouches or tea socks at home. Theyre basically teabags you fill yourself, so you can select the type, flavor, and quality level thats right for you.

    Note: Dont fill them up all the way or tie them shut too tightly! It keeps the tea from unfurling as it infuses, negating much of the point of selecting whole-leaf tea over teabags from the grocery store.

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    How Do You Make Loose Leaf Tea At Home

    To make tea from loose leaves, you should begin by weighing out one teaspoon of loose tea leaves for every cup of tea you intend to make. The next step is to place the leaves inside of the cups that will be used to drink from. After that, bring a pot of water to a boil, and once it has reached a rolling boil, pour the water over the tea leaves that have been placed in the individual cups.

    Easy Tea Brewing Guide:

    Be aware there are different brewing times, for different types of tea. But dont worry- we have a general rule of thumb:

    Green, white and oolong tea are delicate teas and need to be handled gently. They like brewing times of no longer than 3 mins and 80° water .

    If you dont have a fancy temperature kettle, dont worry! This is very easy to do you just add 1 part cold water to your mug and then 4 parts hot water: done!

    Black teas need at least 4 minutes brewing time with 100° water to let the full flavour develop, especially if you are adding milk. Let your leaves brew for the full time first, before adding the milk, otherwise the milk cools the water and you wont get a proper steep!

    All other herbal teas including fruit teas and rooibos teas can be brewed for as long as you want , keep in mind the longer you brew the stronger the flavour. You can add milk to rooibos too, if you like.

    Our Brewdini Gravity Steepers are the perfect way to make the ulTEAmate mess free cuppa! We love them so much, we use them in all our stores to make all your favourite drinks. Not only do they give your tea leaves the space to brew that they deserve but they are super easy to use and clean! Check out the video below to see this beauTea in action!

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    How To Make Loose Leaf Tea Blends

    Did you know you can make your own blend of tea? It’s simple with loose leaf tea. You can combine your favorite blends, punch up a non-caffeinated tea with some maté or black tea, and more. The possibilities are endless.

    Maybe you’re in the mood for a caffeine kick but also feeling like some fruit tea is in order just mix some maté into your Maui Mango.

    Other favorites include:

    Accurate Tea Leaves To Water Ratio

    How to make loose leaf tea | Good & Proper tea

    First, follow the instructions that came with your tea if it lists how many scoops of tea to use per cup. But, a general rule to follow with western-style tea brewing is about 1 teaspoon per 8 ounces of water.

    However, there are some loose leaf teas that are large leaf and may need 1.5-2 teaspoons per 8 ounces of water.

    If you use too much tea leaves for little amount of water, your steep will be very strong. It will be more like a tea concentrate than a standard cup of tea.

    If you use too much water and not enough tea leaves, your cup of tea will be very weak.

    Tip: If you have a kitchen scale on hand, it will be the best tool for the most accurate tea leaf to water ratio. Ideally use 2-3 grams of leaf per 8 ounces of water. A scale is not mandatory for this tea steeping guide though.

    What kind of tea infuser should I use?

    There are lots of good options. My favourite is a tea infuser basket as its simple to use and fits in a variety of cups or even teapots. But, most importantly, tea infuser baskets are spacious.

    Loose leaf teas will expand when steeping. Depending on the type of tea, the leaves can expand up to 5 times the size! Thats why I do not recommend tea infuser balls. They are too small and wont let tea leaves fully expand.

    When tea leaves dont fully expand they wont release their full flavour. Therefore, its best to find a loose leaf tea infuser that will give the tea leaves lots of room.

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    Steep Time & Temperature

    Pour in your water over the leaves. Make sure the tea infuser is fully submerged in the water so your tea leaves can properly expand. Steep according to directions on the package. Water temperature as well as steeping times vary by type of tea. For a general list of tea time and temperatures, see below:

    Black Tea:Oolong Tea:Green Tea:White Tea:Herbal/Rooibos Tea:

    Water Temperature Quantity & Steep Time

    Water for tea is best when it is entirely free of chlorine, low in alkalinity and, soft, with a clean, clear, crisp taste. The ideal water is pH neutral and contains few minerals. Spring water is the first choice. Of course, there are other options such as filters that will reduce or eliminate chlorine and alkalinity to help the tea leaves reveal their true flavors.

    To get the best possible flavor from an infusion, there are recommended water temperatures for varieties of tea. Water that is too low in temperature may not bring out all the flavors the tea maker has crafted. Conversely, water that is too high in temperature can cause a scolding of the tea and or loss of nuance and lighter notes in a specialty tea.

    Water heated toward boiling goes through identifiable stages that can be applied to the type of tea to ensure a full range of flavors. Here, we present tea types and classic, visual and numeric stages for temperatures ideal for steeping.

    As for quantity, our basic rule of thumb is tablespoon of leaf per 8-12 ounces of water. As youll see from our details below, this will vary as you use differing styles of tea. Start at 3 grams, or a teaspoon, steep and taste. Experimenting here is key as you want to find the teas best taste and one you enjoy. Experiment, explore!

    White Tea

    1 tbs. per 8-12 oz. water 2-3 minutes

    Green Tea

    1 tbs. per 8-12 oz. water 1.5-2 minutes

    Oolongs, Pu-erhs, & Blacks

    1 tbs. per 8-12 oz. water 1.5-4 minutes

    Herbals & Tisanes

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