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How to Make Loose Leaf Tea: A Step-by-Step Guide

May 30,2024 | TeaTsy Team

When you start making a cup of loose leaf tea, you may not know how many loose leaf leaves to use, how much water to use, and for how long, making the brewing process confusing. So, in this article, I’m going to focus on the simple steps and some key points on how to brew the perfect cup of loose leaf tea.

The process of making tea may seem simple, but there are some nuances. The most important thing to remember is three key points: measuring tea leaves, water temperature, and steeping time.

You Will Need

Before making loose leaf tea, here are a few things you can use to make the perfect cup of loose leaf tea.

  • Tea: Any type of loose leaf tea will do, such as herbal tea, pu'er tea, black tea, green tea.
  • Tea pot or Tea Infuser Pot: You will need a teapot and tea infuser to brew and filter the tea leaves.
  • Tea Kettle: You will need a kettle to boil water.  For example: electric kettle.
  • Tea Cups or Mugs: You will need some tea cups or mugs to serve your tea.

Tea Cup

How to Make Loose Leaf Tea 

Step 1: Heat the Water

First, heat the water to the temperature recommended below. It is recommended to use fresh water, as water that has been left in the pot for too long may cause the tea to taste stale. Also, don't boil the water for too long. The water temperature is too high, which can sometimes produce an off-putting smell.

Water Temperature Guidelines

  • Green Tea: 150-180°F (65-82°C)
  • Black Tea: 200-212°F (93-100°C)
  • Oolong Tea: 180-200°F (82-93°C)
  • White Tea: 160-185°F (71-85°C)
  • Herbal Tea: 212°F (100°C)

Step 2: Measure the Tea Leaves

Typically use about one teaspoon of tea leaves per cup (8 ounces) of water.  Of course, you can also adjust the amount according to your preferred tea strength.

Measurement Guide

  • Green Tea: Use about one teaspoon per 8 ounces of water.
  • Black Tea: Use about one teaspoon per 8 ounces of water.
  • White Tea: Use about one and a half teaspoons per 8 ounces of water.
  • Herbal Tea: Use about one and a half teaspoons per 8 ounces of water.
  • Pu'er Tea: Use about one teaspoon of compressed Pu'er tea per 8 ounces of water.
  • Oolong Tea: For oolong rolls, use approximately one teaspoon per 8 ounces; for leaf varieties, increase to one and a half teaspoons.

Step 3: Make Tea

Place the tea leaves into a tea infuser or teapot, then pour boiling hot water over the tea leaves to steep.  Avoid steeping for too long, which can cause the tea to taste off, especially tea with smaller leaves.

Soaking Time

  • Green Tea: 2-3 minutes
  • Black Tea: 3-5 minutes
  • Oolong Tea: 4-7 minutes
  • White Tea: 4-5 minutes
  • Herbal Tea: 5-10 minutes

Tea Cup

Step 4: Enjoy

Once the tea is brewed, you can remove the tea leaves from the pot or cup and enjoy the tea. You can also add sweetener or milk if you prefer a sweeter taste.

How to Brew Loose Leaf Tea Without an Infuser

If you want to brew loose leaf tea but don’t have a tea infuser, don’t worry, you can use some common glasses and teapots at home to brew loose leaf tea.

The simplest and most traditional way to make tea is to brew loose leaf tea directly in a teapot. First, you just need to put the loose leaf tea into the teapot, then pour boiling hot water into the tea pot and let it steep for 3 to 5 minutes. Wait for the tea leaves to sink to the bottom of the teapot and you are ready to enjoy.

For detailed steps, please see: How to Brew Loose Leaf Tea Without an Infuser.


What is the Best Way to Make Loose Leaf Tea?

Measure 3 grams of tea per 6 ounces of water. Steep samples for the appropriate amount of time, depending upon the type. Remove the leaves. Professional tea tasters will use the same time and temperature for all types of tea (usually water at a full boil (212 degrees), steeped for 3 minutes).

Can you Put Loose Leaf Tea Directly in Water?

Simply place your loose tea directly in your cup with water allowing them to float and infuse freely. Then when you come to drink it, just blow.

Can you Use Loose Leaf Tea Twice?

You can successfully re-steep almost any type of tea made with whole or unbroken leaves. It's always a good idea to re-steep your loose leaf teas for the best flavor and liquor, but if your tea bags or sachets contain whole tea leaves you can definitely steep them twice.

How Can you Tell if Loose Leaf Tea is Good?

Make sure the tea leaves are not expired. Take the scent in to make sure that the leaves are fresh. It is said- if the leaves smell good, the brew is bound to taste good. If you are on a herbal tea hunt, focus on colour and scent. If the herbs are faded or don't have a fragrance, they are probably stale.

Is Loose Leaf Tea Better than Tea Bags?

Loose leaf tea is often more flavorful because there is room between the tea leaves and the water, which allows for a more in-depth infusion of tea flavors and aromas. With tea bags, the tea is confined to a smaller space and cannot move as freely, often resulting in a less infused flavor.

Why Does My Loose Leaf Tea Taste Watery?

The culprit is often using water that is too cool. If the water is not at a full boil, it will not extract the most flavor from the tea leaves.

Final Thoughts

With the above article in mind, I hope these simple steps to get you started will help you start brewing loose leaf tea more easily.

If you're looking for the perfect tea pot and tea set to brew loose tea, you can head to our Teatsy online store to buy one. We offer many types of tea pots and tea sets for you to choose from.