How to Brew Tea

How to Brew Tea

Universal Tea Brewing Basics

Don't just toss a tea bag in your cup and hope for the best! A little basic tea education will have you well on your way to making superb tea every time.

Always use high quality, fresh tap or bottled water; never use distilled water. Infuse your tea at the right temperature and for the right amount of time. Consider using loose tea instead of tea bags.

Proper Tea Brewing Times and Temperatures

Tea Type Brew Time Brew Temp
White 7-10 min. 200°F
Green 3-4 min. 180°F
Oolong 4-5 min. 190°F
Black 5 min. 210°F
Herbal 5 min. 210°F


Loose Tea

Loose tea generally makes better tea because the leaves are kept whole. Typically tea bags contain tea that is broken up, allowing the flavors and oils to evaporate or degrade over time.

1. For a 6 cup pot of tea, add approximately one heaping teaspoon of loose tea to an empty tea pot. Use more if you have whole leaf tea.

2. Heat a pot of fresh water to a rolling boil (212°F) in a kettle. Adjust the temperature down (according to chart above) by taking the pot of water off the heat source. For green tea, leave the water off the heat for about 1 minute.

3. Pour the hot water into your tea pot, over the dry loose tea. Stir the contents often during this brewing period.

4. After the brewing time has elapsed (see chart above), stir the tea pot contents one last time.

5. Pour your freshly brewed through a fine tea strainer into your serving cups. It is important to remove the tea leaves from the water quickly after brewing to prevent the brew from tasting bitter.

*NOTE - Alternatives to using a tea strainer include infuser baskets, tea presses, tea filters, and tea bags...

Tea Bags

The basic brewing principles are the same for tea bags as for loose tea.

Pot of Tea: Use 2 tea bags to make a pot (32oz.) of tea. Since the tea leaves in tea bags are usually broken into smaller pieces, your tea will brew a little faster than with loose tea. Dip the tea bag into your hot water several times during the brewing time to keep the tea well stirred. After brewing, remove the tea bags. Do not reuse the tea bags. Serve it hot, or read on to make iced tea.

Cup of Tea: Use 1 tea bag for two or more cups by brewing less than half a minute in the first cup, one minute in the second and 2-3 minutes in the third. For strong tea extend brewing time and make fewer cups with one tea bag.

Iced Tea

Any tea type will work for iced tea, but black tea is most commonly used to make that perfect glass of southern style iced tea.

1. Use double the amount of loose tea or number of tea bags to make a strong pot of tea.

2. Allow the strong tea to cool slightly, then dilute with cool water to your desired strength.

3. Serve immediately over ice.

*NOTES: Tea may be refrigerated for a day or two. If your tea turns cloudy, simply add a small amount of boiling water to clear it up. If your tea turns cloudy quickly (or immediately) it is usually because you are using hard water, are cooling the tea too quickly, or a combination of the two. Instead, use soft or bottled water, and allow the tea to cool a little more before refrigerating.