Brew a Tea – 6 Easy Steps!

A girl in a thick sweater holds a mug of Piper & Leaf tea for warmth

Many Ways to Brew a Tea

There are several different brewing methods you can employ to brew your perfect cup of tea. The most fundamental part of this is the form your tea comes in: tea bags or loose leaf. Tea bags are a popular way to brew, especially as an introductory step into the world of tea. Loose leaf tea, however, is more popular with tea fanatics, as you get more control over your brew.

Whichever type you have, we’ll teach you to make a delicious beverage!

A girl holds a Piper & Leaf mug of hot tea
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Using a Tea Bag

This is the easiest way to brew a tea! Tea bags offer convenience; simply drop the bag in your hot water and you’re brewing. If you’re new to tea, bags are the most approachable method.

A tea bag being pulled out of a Piper & Leaf mug
  1. Put your tea bag in a mug
  2. Cover the bag with 8 ounces (1 cup) of hot water*
  3. Steep for the time specified on the packaging
  4. While it steeps, bob your tea bag up and down with the string to let water flow through the bag. This will result in stronger flavor
  5. When time is up, remove the tea bag
  6. Mix in sweetener, milk, or other add-in if desired. Enjoy your hot tea!

*Hot Water – be sure to check the recommended water temperature for the tea you are brewing!

Want to brew a cup of iced tea? Simply follow the instructions above using only half the amount of water (4oz = ½ C). After adding sweetener, carefully pour your hot tea over a full cup of ice. Stir and enjoy!

shop tea bags brew a pitcher

Brewing With Loose Leaf

Need to brew your cup using loose leaf? While loose leaf tea can seem intimidating to a newcomer, it is actually quite simple to brew! Loose leaf is great because it allows you to have greater control over the strength of your tea, lets you brew any size cup of tea, and is often more economical than tea bags.

All you need to brew a tea from loose leaf is some kind of strainer! There are different kinds of strainers you can use. The two most common loose leaf brewing methods are:

  1. Putting the leaves in an infuser, such as a tea ball, before brewing
  2. Brewing the leaves directly in the cup and straining out after (i.e. the two-cup method)
Scooping loose leaf into a tea ball to brew a tea

Tea Ball Method

With a tea ball, scoop 1 teaspoon of loose leaf tea into the infuser and clasp it shut.

From there, follow the instructions for brewing with a tea bag! Tea balls and other infusers are essentially reusable tea bags, after all. This method makes it easy to brew a tea from loose leaf!

tea infusers shop loose leaf

The Two-Cup Brewing Method

For this brewing method, you will need two mugs and some sort of strainer to catch the leaves after brewing. A small, fine mesh colander (like the kind used to strain cooking oil) is perfect. But even if you don’t have one of those, you can use all kinds of things to brew your tea!

Our muslin bags are a great make-shift tea strainer! Or you can try using some cheese cloth, a (clean) scrap of t-shirt material, or anything else that will catch the leaves. Get creative! Just make sure the strainer you use is clean.

Brewing a tea using a muslin bag for a strainer
  1. Scoop 1 teaspoon of loose leaf into a mug
  2. Cover the leaves with 8 ounces (1 cup) of hot water*
  3. Steep for the time specified on the packaging
  4. While it steeps, stir frequently to ensure full immersion of the leaves. This will result in stronger flavor
  5. When time is up, carefully pour the tea through a strainer into another mug so that the strainer catches the leaves
  6. Mix in sweetener, milk, or other add-in if desired. Enjoy your hot tea!

*Hot Water – be sure to check the recommended water temperature for the tea you are brewing!

shop loose leaf Brew a Pitcher

Learn More About Tea

Every Tea is Different

Using the instructions for black tea to make a green tea can result in a burnt and overly bitter brew. There is no ‘one size fits all’ instruction for brewing tea! Each type of tea is unique, so always be sure to check the water temperature and brewing time for every new tea you brew.

Learn about the many different types of tea in this quick breakdown on Greatist!

Brew Times & Temperature

If the tea leaves are not steeped long enough or the brewing water is too cold, you can end up with weaker tea. If the tea is steeped for too long or the water is too hot, you can end up with bitter or burnt tea. This is why it’s always important to follow the instructions for the tea blend you want to drink. Be sure to check the packaging before you start brewing!

Water temperature is one of the most commonly overlooked parts of tea brewing. As a general guide, most Black Teas can brew in freshly boiled water (212°F)! But some teas are more sensitive to temperature and will taste bitter if brewed too hot! Green and Oolong Teas in particular are sensitive, so these types are typically brewed at 160-180°F.

Our Times & Temps tea faq
Tea Brewing Guide. Tisane: 7-10min, 212deg water. Black tea: 2-4min, 205deg water. Green Tea: 1-3min, 175deg water. Oolong Tea: 1-5min, 185deg water.
Brewing Stronger Tea – Don’t Oversteep!

Do you like a stronger brew? That’s okay! Some people like their tea stronger than others. All you need to do is add a little bit more loose leaf to your strainer than standard! Try your next brew with 1 ¼ teaspoon of loose leaf. Increase that amount for the next cup if it’s still not the strength you like!

If you’re brewing with tea bags instead of loose leaf, use a little bit less water to make it stronger. Try brewing your tea bag in only 7 ounces of water! Use even less next time if it’s still not as strong as you’d prefer.

Make sure to stir your tea! You will get more flavor extraction if you stir the tea occasionally as it steeps, resulting in stronger tea.

Just remember! Never brew a tea for extra time to make it stronger! Oversteeping your tea can result in it becoming bitter. Your tea will taste much better if you use more tea leaves (or less water) to increase the flavor strength. Oh, and don’t forget to stir!

Water Quality

If your brews taste off, even after checking the proper time and temperature, you should check the water quality! Tap water has different mineral compositions based on your location, which can actually affect the flavor of your tea (and sometimes even the color!)

Try brewing with filtered water to get the proper flavor from your tea.

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