For those just starting out in the world of tea, the good news is that learning how to brew tea isn’t a very complicated process. We’re here to show you the art of tea steeping and the best way to brew tea!
Before we talk about the process of steeping and making tea on a stove top, it’s vital to cover a few key terms.
Let’s get to it!
What is Brewed Tea?
One frequent question often asked is what the difference between steeped tea and brewed tea. The answer is quite simple: brewed tea and steeped teas are the same.
Actually, brewing is the act of making your cup of tea, while steeping is the actual process.
To simplify things a bit, let’s take a quick look at a few keywords you’ll come across on most boxes/bags of tea:
- Brewing – Brewing tea is the act of making tea on a stove top or with the use of an electric kettle.
- Steeping – What is tea steeping? In the art of making tea, steeping is the process of extracting flavors from the tea leaves. How do you let tea steep? Simply allow your tea to sit in the hot water for a short time.
- Tea Bag – A tea bag is a mesh baggy that contains loose leaf tea, spices, and other herbs.
- Loose Leaf Tea – Loose leaf tea is simply different leaves, herbs, and spices for the perfect cup of tea. Leaving these ingredients loose often gives users the option of customizing their preferred cup.
- Kettle – This is the device that you boil water in. These can be as simple as a metal kettle used on the stove top, or an electric kettle that has its own heating element built right into it.
- Infuser/Strainer – Tea infusers take on many forms, including infuser balls or simple strainers. Typically, these devices are used with loose leaf tea, and simply provide a vessel for simple steeping and straining. This allows users to enjoy their cup of tea without ingesting the teas, herbs, and spices themselves.
What You’ll Need to Brew the Perfect Cup of Tea
When it comes to learning how to brew tea, defining the “perfect cup” can be a bit difficult, only because everyone has their own taste preference. However, there are some key items you’ll need to prepare your beverage.
While there are different methods of making cold and hot tea, we will be focusing on how to prepare hot tea for this article. Before we discuss how to brew tea, let’s gather up our essentials, shall we?
Tea, Herbs, and Spices
Learning the best ways to brew tea can be a little tricky because it all comes down to which ingredients a user prefers and the overall quality of them. Typically, users want to know one of two things: how to brew tea leaves and how to make tea with tea bags.
Here’s the simple answer, the process is the same, but you will have to choose between a premade tea blend or making their own blend.
That’s where the different variety of tea leaves, herbs, and spices come into play. Honestly, tea can be made with any combination of:
- tea leaves,
- spices, and even
- fresh fruits.
If you know your preferred flavors, then going with loose leaf ingredients may be right up your ally. However, if you are new to tea, then a premade blend in a tea bag may suit you better, as it is less overwhelming.
Infuser or Strainer
If you’ve decided to go with a loose-leaf tea blend, you’ll want some form of infuser or strainer. These devices allow the user to enjoy the flavors of their tea without ingesting the actual herbs, spices, and tea leaves themselves.
Strainers are pretty basic in that they are a device with fine holes, or fabric or metal mesh built into it. This allows the liquid to pass through while keeping the solids in the cup or kettle.
An infuser works the same as a strainer but is often a device that houses the ingredients. Think of a mesh tea bag. Mesh bags and metal infuser balls all work the same and allow users to customize their own flavor blends without having to ingest the solid materials.
You can’t boil water without a vessel! Believe it or not, many individuals will simply boil a small pot of water to brew their tea. However, most people choose to go with more traditional metal or ceramic kettle. Simply add water to it and boil.
More recently, the electric kettle has started to make their way onto the tea brewing scene, meaning that users didn’t need to fire up the stove because these kettles have their own heating element built into them.
While many individuals are perfectly fine with using their typical tap water to brew their tea, many find that using filtered or distilled water makes a big difference in the overall taste once they start steeping their ingredients.
Learning How to Brew Tea Depends on What Tea You Are Brewing
Like we mentioned earlier, learning how to brew tea isn’t all that difficult, it just comes down to your personal preference. First and foremost, you’ll want to decide on pre-made tea blends that are already in tea bags. Or, a more versatile “make your own” blend with loose tea.
How to Brew Tea Bags
Learning to brew with tea bags is probably the safest bet when first venturing into the world of tea. This allows users to sample different blends without the hassle of having to worry about purchasing different ingredients.
As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to use one tea bag per 8 oz. cup of water. For those who like their cup a little stronger, consider adding two bags. Some people suggest that the length of time you steep your tea will help make it stronger. But that simply isn’t true. In most cases, steeping your ingredients longer will only make it more bitter.
Depending on the tea, steeping time generally range between two and five minutes.
How to Brew Tea Leaves Without A Bag
The actual process of brewing your tea without a tea bag is the same. However, there are a few key differences that you’ll want to keep in mind.
When you are using loose-leaf tea and other ingredients, you’ll want to make sure you have something to steep with. Infusers come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. And, even some cups and mugs come with infusers built right in.
One of the most common reasons that some choose to go with loose tea leaves over tea bags is the fact they want to know where all of their ingredients are coming from. Some people worry that premade blends are contaminated by bags that have been contaminated by a bleaching process.
Brewing tea leaves with the use of a metal strainer or infuser helps to lessen those contamination risks. It makes some tea drinkers believe they are making a healthier choice.
Learning How to Brew Tea Can Be Simple
Making that perfect cup of tea isn’t as complicated as you may think. If you are intimidated by the thought of choosing your own ingredients, then start simple. Try a few different pre-made tea bag blends. In most cases, proper steeping times and water temperatures will be located on the box itself.
For those looking to make their own blends, make sure you pick quality ingredients. Many fresh markets have wonderful selections of tea leaves, spices, and herbs. Make these in any number of combinations to suit your taste.
So don’t be afraid to try out different flavor options on your tea brewing journey!
What flavors and spices would you recommend brewing with your tea?
Share in the comments below!