Teabags are an easy and convenient way to enjoy our favorite drink, but there’s so much more to discover. Loose leaf tea allows you to enjoy more varieties, a fresh taste, and all the goodness of the tea plant. The best part? You can do it all without tons of extra equipment
Check out our list of the essential things you need to steep loose tea.
1. Heated Water
You might think that brewing loose tea starts with quality leaves or a great infuser, but to make the perfect cup we have to go right back to the beginning – the water. It’s the first step in making loose leaf tea.
The most common way to heat water for tea is in a kettle. However, we don’t necessarily always want to boil the water; different teas and herbal infusions require different temperatures. See our guide below and other resources on how to steep loose tea.
A great way to control the temperature of your water is with a kettle which contains a thermometer so that you can monitor the temperature during and after heating.
If you’ve already got a kettle and just need a thermometer, this GDEALER model is handy and foldable and can be used to test food as well.
Hard water can leave a residue and affect the taste of your tea, so if this affects your supply area, consider a water filter like this Nakii pitcher. It’s also great for filtering out chlorine and other chemicals.
An upscale option if you’re really serious about brewing loose tea properly is a tea maker. These cool customers heat the water, infuse the leaves, and steep for just the right amount of time in one, all in one appliance.
This vibrant red Saki Tea Maker is both a tea kettle and teapot infuser. It’s stackable and also comes in silver. For a really slick operation, try this Breville One-Touch Tea Maker for complete automation in the whole tea-making process.
2. A Functional Teapot
Once you’ve heated your water, and haven’t fallen for one of the super-cool tea makers, you’ll need a teapot if you’re making more than one cup. Be sure to heat the kettle by swirling it with hot water first and pouring it away. This will ensure your kettle is warm and ready so that the cold pot doesn’t fight with the hot water.
For a traditional option which honors the ceremony of a Japanese tea ceremony, this TOWA Workshop Tetsubin Tea Kettle is made of cast iron and includes an infuser.
If you love the look of a classic high tea, this Sweese porcelain design has the typical rounded pot and lid. It includes a stainless steel infuser and comes in three bright shades.
Glassware is so popular for brewing loose leaf tea. Not only is it clean and stylish, but allows you to monitor the color of your tea depending on your preference as it steeps. This hand-crafted Hiware Glass Teapot has a wide base and large handle.
3. Proper Teacups
Now, none of these items are any use without the cup you love to drink out of! There is a wealth of options and there’s something for everyone.
The great thing about specially created teacups is that some of them come with their own infusers too, perfect if you want to steep loose tea for one. Let’s look at some of these innovative designs.
For a great, all-in-one option, this Porcelain Tea Mug comes with a large infuser basket and lid, all hidden within a classic cup design. Even better is that it comes in 13 cool colors and patterns!
If you love your glass tea equipment, this Tomotime glass teacup goes further than a normal cup. It includes a glass lid for insulation and its own easy-to-fit infuser for brewing loose tea.
It’s so important today that you can enjoy your favorite beverage on the move, and we’ve got two great suggestions for that.
For the active among you, this YETI Rambler cup is super tough and insulates your brew with a double-wall vacuum, working for both hot and cold drinks.
This Aladdin Perfect Cup works with all types of tea, hot and cold, and has a leak-resistant lid. It’s also dishwasher and microwave safe and BPA-free.
4. A Fun Infuser
Tea infusers for loose tea are another important piece of equipment. They stop the leaves from floating in the cup or teapot, which can lead to a bitter taste. They work just like a teabag but with fresh tea – everyone’s favorite!
If you haven’t got a pot or kettle which includes the strainer or are making one cup, you’ll need a separate infuser. They allow you to enclose your chosen leaves and infuse them safe from flowing free in the cup. Have a look at the range of products out there.
This Finum classic basket mesh comes in two sizes. It has a fine, stainless steel mesh which traps the leaves while allowing maximum infusion into the water.
A tea ball is a more portable option for when you want to brew in cups and teapots alike. They’re smaller and allow the leaves to flow freely around the whole tea ball to infuse the whole cup.
This House Again design comes in either a one or two pack. It’s made of stainless steel with small holes for infusion and has a chain for easy insertion and removal.
These two Fu Store tea balls look more like traditional mesh strainers, with both a string for insertion and a hook for resting on the side of your cup.
If you like to control your infusion, this OXO Good Grips tea ball on a stick allows you to stir to your heart’s content and rest the infuser on the side of your cup.
If you’re used to bags, these drawstring disposable paper filter bags allow you to use your favorite leaves with all the convenience of a teabag. You can also find material bags and a reusable silicone one if you prefer.
For a fun option or a gift for a tea lover, check out these cute, long-necked Tilevo dinosaur tea infusers for loose tea!
5. Loose Tea Strainer
A loose tea strainer works in a similar way to an infuser, but stays out of the cup, allowing you to steep loose tea as you pour the water.
A regular and classic option is the Norpro 2123. It rests on a standard-sized cup and has a fine mesh for catching the leaves.
This IPOW set comes in three sizes so you can steep loose tea in cups and vessels of all sizes!
6. Storage for Loose Tea
The final essential item for brewing loose tea is storage. Without properly kept tea your favorite beverage will lose its flavor and goodness through oxidation. An airtight container is a must-have for tea lovers.
These tea tins have double lids, making them completely airtight. You can choose between a set of one, two or four to store all of your favorites!
We love these multi-use airtight tins from Tianhui. They come in a set of five, and you can choose from black, green or an assortment and two sizes.
How To Steep Loose Tea
Now you’ve got all your equipment, you’re ready to steep loose tea! We’ve got lots of comprehensive resources on how to steep loose tea, but here’s a quick guide on how to use all your essential items!
- Heat the water in your tea kettle or tea maker. Set or monitor the temperature as the water heats, or test after boiling to get it to the right temperature.
- Meanwhile, add the right amount of tea to your infuser or strainer – whether that’s in a teapot, tea ball in a cup, reusable teabag or basket.
- When the water is at the right temperature for your tea, pour it over the tea and infuser into your cup or teapot.
- The amount of time to steep loose tea, how long you leave the leaves in the water, depends on the type. See our guide below and our other resources.
- Remove the infuser, pour if you’re using a teapot, and enjoy!
How Long Should You Steep Loose Tea?
The length of time to steep loose tea depends on the type of tea and the temperature of the water. Here’s a guide below, but always check the instructions that come with your blend to make your favorite cup!
- Oolong Tea – 185°F – 205°F (82°C – 96°C) – 3–4 minutes
- Black Tea – 194°F – 210°F (90°C – 99°C) – 3–5 minutes
- White Tea – 185°F – 205°F (82°C – 96°C) – 1–3 minutes
- Green Tea – 175°F – 185°F (80°C – 85°C) – 1–3 minutes
- Herbal Tea – 205°F (96°C) – 5–10 minutes
- Pu-erh Tea – 212°F (100°C) – 30 seconds – 5 minutes
- Rooibos Tea – 205°F (96°C) – 5–6 minutes
So, what do you need to steep loose tea?
There’s lots of equipment available for every type of tea, tea lover and tea occasion! What makes your perfect brew is up to you – have fun exploring the wonderful world of brewing loose tea.
How do you steep loose tea for the best flavor?
Tell us your favorite method in the comments below!