Making a perfect pot of tea is all in the details. Learn the proper way to make tea with my step-by-step instructions.
A Proper Cup of Tea
As a certified Tea Sommelier, I’ve learned that when it comes to making a proper cup of tea, it’s all in the details.
Of course you can just boil some water and grab a tea bag, but if you want to elevate the experience there are a few extra steps you can take.
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Five Tips to Making a Proper Cup
TIP #1: Use Filtered water.
Use clean, purified water that won’t add any other taste to your tea. I always make my tea with filtered water since the better the water, the better the tea will taste.
TIP #2: Set the correct water temperature.
Water temperature is a little tricky. Some tea require just boiled water while other teas are a little more sensitive to hot water (especially green tea) so you’ll need to make sure the water temperature is correct.
I use my electric kettle with temperature setting (this is a MUST for serious tea drinkers) and set the temperature for each type of tea I drink.
TIP #3: Steep for the correct amount of time.
Oversteeping tea leads to a bitter cup. This is the time to use the timer on your smartphone.
Follow the steep time recommendations on the tea package, but roughly it is: black tea for 4-5 minutes, green and oolong for 3 minutes, and white tea for 4 minutes.
Once the time is up, your tea is ready to drink. Don’t leave the tea leaves sitting in water since that just makes the tea way too strong and bitter.
If you’re making a big pot of tea, use a teapot with an infuser to take out the leaves after the steep time. You can add the infuser back in the teapot if you want to steep the tea again in hot water.
TIP #4: Use loose tea.
I rarely use tea bags since the tea is usually not as good as whole loose tea.
Tea in tea bags are the leftover broken bits, or “tea dust,” collected after tea has been processed. That doesn’t sound too appealing does it?
Good quality tea is a rolled whole tea leaf. As the tea steeps, it will unfurl in the hot water and you should be able to see the entire leaf. Loose tea is the best tea to steep.
TIP #5: Warm the teapot.
Warming the teapot helps to brew the tea properly, keeping the water temperature hot.
Pour some hot water into a teapot and swirl it around a bit, warming it up from the hot water. Throw out the water.
Now your teapot is nice and warm, ready to brew tea.
How to Make Tea Properly Cheat Sheet
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What You’ll Need
How to Make Tea Properly
STEP 1: Boil water.
Different types of tea require different water temperature to brew. Check the tea packaging to see the recommended water temperature.
Black tea is steeped in boiling hot water. Instead of boiling water on a stovetop, I use my trusty electric kettle with temperature setting and set it to 208°F.
Be sure to use the best quality water for your tea. I always use filtered water.
STEP 2: Warm up teapot.
This step is a detail that takes your tea to the next level and almost no one does it. But they should.
Fill half the teapot with hot water and give it a few swirls.
We’re warming the teapot so that when the hot water for tea goes in, the water temperature won’t drop too much.
Once the teapot has warmed after a few seconds, throw out the water.
STEP 3: Put tea into teapot and add hot water.
Figure out how much water your teapot holds and add the right amount of tea.
For every cup, add 1.5 teaspoons of tea.
You can use this Perfect Tea Measuring Spoon which will measure out 1.5 teaspoons per scoop.
STEP 4: Cover teapot and steep tea.
Set the timer on your phone to steep it to the correct amount of time.
The steep time is different for each kind of tea so check the tea package to see what is recommended.
Usually it’s no more than 5 minutes.
STEP 5: Strain tea solids and pour hot tea into tea cups.
PRO TIP: Hold onto the teapot lid with a finger so that it doesn’t fall off as you’re pouring.
Add milk or sugar if drinking oolong or black tea. Don’t add milk or sugar if you’re drinking green or white tea. (Please, no.)
I’m using a tea strainer so that I can filter out the tea leaves, but if your teapot has an infuser there’s no need for one.
I really don’t like tea leaves sitting in water after the steep time since it makes the tea really bitter.
To avoid this, use a tea infuser inside a teapot so that the tea leaves are separated from the water after the first pour or make just enough tea and pour out every last drop so there isn’t any water sitting in the teapot.
If you want to have another cup, pour more hot water into the teapot and set the timer again. For the second steep, add 1-2 more minutes.
With these steps, you’ll enjoy a perfect cup of tea each and every time.
How to Make Tea Properly
- 2 cups water + more to warm teapot
- 1 tablespoon loose tea
- Warm up teapot.
Pour some hot water into your teapot and swirl it around to get it warm. Discard the water.
- Put tea into teapot and add hot water.
Put tea and the remaining 2 cups of hot water into a teapot.
- Cover teapot and steep tea.
The steep time is different for each kind of tea so check the tea package to see what's recommended.
- Strain tea solids and pour hot tea into tea cups.