Making delicious loose leaf tea goes beyond the generic instructions that are everywhere. Not every black tea should be made with boiling water and left to steep for 6 minutes. There are differences and nuances to every tea, depending on where it's from, how it's processed, and if there are any other components in the tea. This means that every cup of tea should be steeped thoughtfully to get the best taste from it.
Luckily, we've boiled some tips down (yes, pun intended) to make it easier to get a delicious cup of tea every time.
At Field to Cup, we give different temperature and quantity instructions depending on the tea, and also if it's prepared in a mug or a teapot. We find that a teapot retains more heat as the tea is steeping, so the tea needs less time to release its magic.
It's important to note that the instructions we provide on our packaging is for mug/cup preparation. So if you're preparing your teas, please take a look at the tea's page for the best directions.
Here are some guidelines and key tips to keep in mind:
Want more fabulous more tea tips? We thought so.
All quantities are measured with a standard measure of a teaspoon. A level teaspoon will not have any tea leaves flowing over the top. A rounded teaspoon will be rounded on top, with leaves protruding above the teaspoon's edges.
Never add less tea than the instructions say as it might make your tea taste watery and underdeveloped.
Not everyone has a thermometer to use for water, or a teapot with temperature settings. We give directions for the temperature in degrees, and also how to reach that temperature without measuring. It's very important for all teas except for black and some herbal teas, to pour the water into your mug or teapot first, and then add the tea. You can shake to wet the tea with the water after you put them in.
If you do have a way of preparing tea to an exact temperature, you can put the tea in your mug or teapot first, and then add the water.
The best results come from boiling water to a soft consistent boil, not a fast and violent boil. Also, fresh water will have the most amount of oxygen and therefore the tastiest result. That's why you'll always hear, don't use reboiled water to make tea.
If you pour boiling hot water over a tea that requires 195º or 175º, you'll release more astringent flavors in the tea leaves and kill any natural oils that might be present in the tea. It just won't taste good, trust us.
We provide different steeping times depending on if you're using a mug or a covered teapot to prepare your tea.
Make sure that your tea has enough room for the water to flow around so the tea can develop and infuse the water. (READ: NO little tea balls with a chain). Use a paper tea filter or a teapot with stainless steel basket (so you can pull the tea basket out when it's done).
If you want your tea to be bolder or richer or darker, add 1/2 to 1 more teaspoon of tea than what's written in the instructions. Don't allow the tea to steep longer as this may flatten the taste or release astringency in the tea.
As a general rule, black and herbal teas should be prepared as an iced tea. White and green teas can be prepared cold brew.
Here are our guidelines for both.
Iced Tea: Make a concentrated hot tea with roughly 5 to 6 times the tea for one cup of water. You will steep using the temperature of water and time as described on the tea package instructions. After steeping is complete, add 2 cups of cool water. Dilute with more ice, and enjoy!
Cold Brew: Add between 3 to 4 times the amount of tea for one cup of water. Make sure the container you cold brew in has enough room for the tea to develop and infuse the water. Refrigerate and wait 6-8 hours. Remove the tea and enjoy!
These are our key tips for making amazing tea every time. As your experience with tea preparation grows, these tips will become second nature. You'll begin to tinker with instructions based on your personal tastes.