Here are some important tips for steeping your favorite pot or cup of loose-leaf tea.
QUANTITY OF TEA
Whether preparing a cup or a whole pot, the quantity of loose-leaf tea you use is important. Things to consider are the size of the vessel as well as the variety of tea you’re infusing. Infused leaves can expand up to five times their size, so make sure your tea has enough room to breath.
In a 6-8 oz. teapot or gaiwan (steeping mug), use the following amount of leaves:
For large fluffy leaves (such as Yunnan Gold Superior or Formosa Baochong), use one heaping teaspoon.
For smaller, tightly curled, or cut leaves (such as Hao Ya A or Soom Darjeeling), use one teaspoon.
QUALITY OF WATER
Cold, clear, pure water is recommended. Fresh spring water is ideal and filtered water also works well. Hard tap water is best avoided. Hard water or strong tasting water can obliterate even the most delicious tea.
TEMPERATURE OF WATER
Not all teas are created equal. To get the best flavours and aromas out of every cup, we need to be aware of what water temperature best suits what type of tea.
For white, green and oolong teas use water that has come down off the boil. Boiling water tends to scald the leaves and make the tea bitter, slightly acidic, and in some cases will cause an excessively grassy aroma.
For black, pu-erh and herbal teas, we’ll want boiling water to bring out the tea’s best aromas and full body textures.
DURATION OF INFUSION
The length of each infusion affects not only the strength of the tea but how many consecutive infusions we can pull from one batch of tea. Generally, we suggest starting with shorter infusion times and slowly increasing each infusion according to your own taste preferences. And don’t forget, some loose-leaf teas can be steeped multiple times.