How to Make Loose-Leaf Tea

Whether tea is already a hobby of yours or you want to purchase any tea gifts for someone special, then you may have an interest in making loose-leaf tea for the first or tenth time.  It’s easy enough to enjoy a solid cup of black tea from the supermarket or maybe something as simple as Lipton, but if you want to up your tea game to become a world-class tea dealer, then the following set of steps should shed some light on how to have a more hands-on tea experience.  Here is how to make loose-leaf tea, a cup of which might be easier to prepare than you think.

1.  Which Tea to Drink?

This does not really matter so long as you purchase high-quality tea.  The best tea blends are usually the ones that have organic ingredients without presenting artificial flavors.  Otherwise, you cannot go wrong with any flavor.  Herbal teas, like chai and chamomile, or great contenders for those with a sweet tooth.  If you are looking for something a bit more complex, enjoy tangy black tea or hearty English breakfast blends.

2.  Heat Your Water

Of course, your water must be hot, but it must also be the right temperature.  Whether you have a receptacle as fancy as an electric kettle with temperature controls or a plain old microwave, the target temperature of the water depends on the type of tea you want to prepare.  Water for black tea must be fairly hot at 210 degrees fahrenheit, while water for green tea can be as cool as 180 degrees, so make sure the type of tea has informed the ultimate temperature of your water, though most appropriate temperatures clock in at about 200 degrees.

3.  Measure Your Ingredients

First of all, it’s important to do this as the water is heating so that it doesn’t cool off while you set everything else up.  Assuming you have a tea strainer, place the strainer into a cup or an entire teapot, then measure enough tea to place in the infuser.  For most teas, one teaspoon per eight ounces of water (an average-sized cup of water) should be enough, though you can adjust to taste if you can stand something a little stronger or, less likely, a little milder.  But you should taste the tea before you make any amendments to your next cup.

4.  Pour The Hot Water Over The Leaves

Next, pour the boiling water over the loose leaves that rest in your infuser.  The key to making an unusually flavorful cup of tea is by saturating the leaves, fully submerging them in the hot water as you steep.

5.  An Appropriate Steeping Time

Steeping time also depends on the type of tea you are preparing.  White tea tends to require a shorter time while herbal teas will need a bit more time.  A major issue with steeping for too long is that your tea will almost always be too bitter regardless of type, so if you have to make a not-so-great prediction, undershooting is better than overshooting.  If you have to, time your steeping with a phone.  This will guarantee appropriate timing, as everyone has a smartphone these days.  Here are some more specific recommendations: Black tea should be steeped for five minutes, green tea needs three minutes, white tea needs three minutes, and oolong tea needs no more than two minutes.  More specifics are located online if you really want to get it right and your type has not been mentioned in this article.

6.  Remove Your Tea Leaves

Once you have declared that your steep is over, you should remove the leaves from the water to keep the tea from becoming bitter.  Remove the strainer.  Discard the tea leaves, but if you feel guilty about throwing them away, you can chuck them into the garden or chuck them onto your lawn.  All errant plant matter makes great fertilizer.  Finally, enjoy your tea.  Consider adding sugar or milk for a more luxurious experience, though some refuse to toy with ostensible perfection.

7.  Brewing With a Strainer

An effective way to complete each of the previous steps is to brew with a strainer or infuser.  Using a stainless steel basket-shaped strainer is a uniquely effective way to brew loose-leaf tea.  It is as versatile as it is simple, able to fit virtually any mug, thermos, or teapot.  Besides, infusers are remarkably easy to clean.

8.  Use Tea Bags

If you would like to shorten the process before you get started, then you can certainly place blends in your own tea bags preemptively.  This is particularly useful if you are on-the-go.  Maybe you are content to make loose-leaf tea in the morning and bring a few bags to work, in which case loose-leaf tea becomes as simple as, well, regular tea.

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