New to Loose Leaf Tea? Read this!

Quick Guide

Hot Tea

Cold Brew



Longer Guide to Brewing Loose Leaf Tea

You're brewing loose leaf tea, and would like some guidance? No worries, We've got you covered.

If you've only made tea form a teabag (aka tea dust) until now, I understand loose leaves can be a little intimidating. 

But we all learn, so today I'm guiding you through every tea type's requirements, so you can brew any tea you like.

To make a cup of loose leaf tea, you will need:

  • Hot water, preferably heated with a kettle. The exact temperature will be discussed later
  • Empty teacup or mug, use that to measure out the water
  • Loose tea leaves
  • Some sort of strainer or paper filter to strain/filter the tea
  • A timer of any sort

Heat the water to the specified temperature. My easy cheat is "right before boiling".

Using water too hot can result in bitter tea, and over extraction. Using water too cold can result in a very weak tea unless you do a proper cold brew which I will share as well. 

Measure out how much tea you want to use for a cup (depending on the cup size). Add it either to the hot water and strain later, or the tea ball or filter and dunk it into the water.

Let the tea leaves steep for as long as necessary, then strain or remove the tea leaves.

You're done !

How much loose leaf tea to add for one cup of tea

When using loose leaf, the rule of thumb is that you should use 2 heaping teaspoons of leaves for every 8-10 oz/236 ml of water used.

But some teas will need a little more adjusting to fit your taste

This means that one green tea blend might require 2 teaspoons of tea, but another might need 2 and a half, or something just under two.

In short, be prepared to test things out and see where you're comfortable with the flavor.

How long to steep loose leaf tea

As for the steeping time, each tea will have its own requirement. So, we have:

  • White tea - start with 1 minute, and keep tasting every half minute. Don't go too far over 5 minutes.
  • Green tea - 2 minutes, max 3. Anything more and it turns bitter.
  • Black tea - 3-5 minutes. Keep tasting after 3 minutes for bitterness.
  • Oolong tea - 3-5 minutes. Keep tasting after 3 minutes for bitterness.
  • Pu'erh tea - 3-5 minutes. Keep tasting after 3 minutes for bitterness.
  • Herbal tea - 5 minutes. Does not really get bitter, but should not be oversteeped.

Most tea's at La Rue 1680 are Black blends, herbal or green blends. See product page for exact tea.

Metal vs paper filters when brewing tea

Finally, let's get to how you'll be filtering your tea.

No matter what kind of tea you use, you are going to need to filter it in some way so you don't ingest the leaves themselves. Tea leaves are indeed safe but I promise you will have a more enjoyable experience by straining but who would really want to do that ?

You've got metal tea balls and variations on that system (like clamps), you've got empty teabags that can be filled with the tea you like, you've got strainers that you can pour the tea through, and you've also got some teapots that have a metal filter installed on the spout.

The easiest is a metal strainer or tea ball like this one 

Final thoughts

Brewing your first loose leaf tea can be intimidating, but so rewarding.

If your first cup of tea doesn't go quite as planned, don't worry. Learn from it, and try to figure out where you went wrong, Water too hot, or maybe you used too much tea ? Try things out and see how you can adjust the method to your liking.

August 10, 2023 — Stephanie Synclair

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