Learning how to brew loose leaf tea takes tea drinking to the next level when it comes to adding variety to an everyday cup.
However, you may be asking yourself how to drink loose leaf tea in an optimal way. Fear not, we’ll cover that and more!
While tea bags are convenient, they don’t always allow users to create blends that suit their specific tastes. This is because already-sealed bags contain a pre-mixed blend of tea leaves, spices, herbs.
Brewing loose leaf tea elevates the tea experience because you have 100 percent control over what goes in your cup. In addition, you have control over the intensity of the flavors chosen.
Loose Leaf Tea vs Tea Bags
Before we jump into the top two tips on how to brew loose leaf tea, let’s take a deeper look into the difference between loose leaf tea and tea bags.
Loose Leaf Tea
Loose leaf tea is tea leaves and other herbs and spices that are not sealed up in a tea bag. Many individuals choose loose leaf tea over tea bags not only for variety and flavor reasons but because steeping loose leaf tea gives the ingredients more room to absorb water as they infuse. This then allows more water to flow through the ingredients, releasing a wider range of extracted vitamins, minerals, flavors and aromas.
Here’s the thing with tea bags, they come in two basic forms:
- sealed bags
- open bags
Sealed tea bags are the option many beginner tea enthusiasts start with simply because they are quick and convenient. Simply add your hot water, steep, and enjoy.
Open tea bags are an option for those that want to create their own tea blends with loose leaf tea ingredients.
Unlike with loose leaf tea, brewing with tea bags may restrict water absorption, meaning less of the good stuff is extracted into the water you drink.
Things You’ll Need to Brew Loose Leaf Tea
When it comes down to learning how to brew loose leaf tea, there are some essential items you’ll want to have on hand.
First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure you pick out some quality tea leaves from a reputable seller. While many choose crushed tea leaves, you can use whole tea leaves for a more pleasant experience.
When using whole loose leaf tea, the leaves absorb more water, and drinkers get the benefits of not only better taste and aroma, but through the infusing processes, drinkers get the added benefits of extracted vitamins and minerals.
Herbs straight from the garden are another great way to add not only flavor but additional benefits like vitamins and minerals to your cup of tea. Mint and rosemary are some very popular choices when it comes to tea flavors, as are basil and even thyme.
Fruits in tea? Yup, that’s right! It’s more like the zest of some citrus fruits that you’ll more than likely include into your loose leaf tea combinations. Some great examples include orange and lemon zest.
Tip: use a vegetable peeler to peel a thin piece of the fruit’s outer skin. Then, add it to your hot water.
When it comes to loose leaf tea, some different infusers can be used when brewing black tea, white tea, and any variety you can think of. Infusers, such as metal tea ball infusers, allow users to place loose leaf tea in them, then place them into their hot water to steep.
While some users prefer separate infusers, many kettles and cups come with infusers built right into them for ease of use.
Sure, many users choose to use a tea infuser to steep their loose leaf tea. However, there is an alternative method.
When researching how to brew loose leaf tea, many suggest simply adding your ingredients into the kettle once it has reached its desired temperature. This allows the tea leaves and other ingredients plenty of space to spread out and absorb adequate amounts of water for the infusion process to take place.
Once your tea is ready to drink, use a strainer to help keep all solid materials out of your cup. Tea strainers can be found in a variety of shapes and sizes, which include non-reactive fine-woven metal, such as metal wire plated with gold and even stainless steel (food grade), and food grade plastic that is non-leaching/BPA-Free.
This may seem self-explanatory, but it’s important to keep in mind that there are many different kettles on the market. Many prefer traditional, metal kettles that are used to make tea on the stove. However, electric kettles are gaining popularity because they have a heating element built right in. This way, you don’t even have to start up the stove to heat your water.
The downside of electric kettles: most are set to a given heat level. As a result, you don’t have control over the temperature.
For those asking how to make loose tea in a pot, some units even have built-in infusers to allow loose tea to steep as the water is boiling.
How to Brew Loose Leaf Tea
While steeping loose leaf tea isn’t as simple as throwing a premixed bag into a pot of boiling water, it’s not all that different. Below, we’ve outlined two tips on how to brew loose leaf tea.
How to Make Tea with Tea Leaves – Temperature & Boiling Loose Tea
We’ve already talked about how brewing loose leaf tea is beneficial, so how does one go about it? Brewing tea, loose leaf or bagged, takes more effort than simply boiling a pot of water. Depending on the tea leaves you’ve chosen, you’ll want to monitor either the temperature or watch for it to boil.
While many teas can tolerate boiling water, there are some, such as white and green tea, that is too delicate to handle boiling water. White and green tea leaves can end up being “cooked” in boiling water due to how delicate they are.
Most other tea leaves can tolerate boiling water, but the best way to determine how hot your water should be is to give it a taste. If it’s too bitter, you may want to try steeping your tea at a slightly lower temperature.
What about the proper amount of tea per cup? The standard is usually one teaspoon of ingredients per 8 oz of water.
How to Steep Loose Leaf Tea
You don’t want to just throw your tea leaves into hot water. Pour your hot water over loose leaf tea slowly. Allow the tea to steep between two and 5 minutes, depending on the type of tea leaves you’ve chosen.
Take Your Time When Learning How to Brew Loose Leaf Tea
Remember, practice makes perfect, even when it comes to brewing and steeping your tea!
Nobody shares the same flavor profile, meaning nobody shares the exact same taste preference. When first learning to brew and steep loose leaf tea, try experimenting with different flavors and temperatures.
Experimenting with different tea leaves, herbs and spices will help you find a flavor profile perfect for your individual taste.
What methods do you use when it comes to brewing loose leaf tea?
Share with us in the comments below!