How to: Hot Tea

At it's core, making tea is quite easy; just throw some tea leaves in water. But, for the best cup of tea, there are definitely some nuances of which one should be aware.

The most important thing to take from this: these are just guidelines. Tea is a very personal experience. We're just here holding your hand and whispering positive reinforcement into your ear as we help you on you tea journey.

Making tea scales linearly so just add 1 teaspoon for every 8 oz water (1.5 tsps for 12 oz, 2 tsps for 16 oz, etc).

Kettle - to heat water

- Obviously the mug can be any size or shape. As long as it holds water, you're good to go.
- We recommend a good, spacious filter when working with loose leaf tea. As the tea steeps, it will absorb some water and expand. The less it is able to expand, the weaker the tea will be. A typical tea ball (and those cute little tea characters you may have seen) are only good for small amounts as they are usually too restrictive. We personally prefer baskets. French presses are also a good option. Side note: if you do use tea bags, try to find ones that will allow more expansion (ie pyramids or  tea pouches).
- Unless you are black tea and tisane exclusive (and maybe even then because a kettle is so handy), it's worth it to find a kettle that can set specific temperatures.
- Using a teaspoon is nice and easy because everybody seems to have them and it's a good enough approximation. Ideally, you'd measure by weight: around 3 grams for 8 oz water.


Fruit/Herbal "tea" (aka tisanes)
These are the easiest to make (or the hardest to screw up depending on your view point).

1 tsp tea
8 oz boiling water
Steep 5-10 mins

- Fruit teas are usually pretty chunky so, for a stronger tea, use a heaping teaspoon.
- We haven't noticed much of a difference in flavor between 5 minutes and 10 minutes so you can probably finish it up around 5 mins, before it starts getting too cold.


Black Tea

1 tsp tea
8 oz water, 190 F - 210 F
Steep 2.5 to 3.5 mins

- We've found the tea generally starts getting bitter around 3 mins but it will still have a full flavor.
- If you like a stronger flavor, we recommend adding more tea over steeping longer. But if you like some bitterness, by all means, steep it longer.
- Cream and sweetener can be added and sometimes even encouraged.


Oolong Tea
Oolongs are the most varied so, as one would expect, has a lot of nuance.

1 tsp tea
8 oz water, ~190 F
Steep 2-3 mins

- The tight little balls make a pretty dense scoop so you probably don't need a full teaspoon (or maybe just a flat teaspoon). Then there are some that are in rolled into a kind of "string". You might want to use a heaping teaspoon for a strong flavor.
- The "strings" can basically be steeped like a green/black tea, but the more dense rollings don't really open up on the first round. Hence the following tip...
- Some would say you do the first steeping for 30-60 seconds, basically just rinse the leaves and then throw the water out. We drink it because we love tea, and it tastes fine, but usually the best flavors come in on the 2nd or 3rd steeping.


Green Tea

1 tsp tea
8 oz water, 175 F - 185 F
Steep 2-3 mins

- Here is where the temperature of the water really starts to matter. Too hot and you're getting a bitter cup of tea.
- The lower steeping times means you can usually get a second cup from the one serving.
- You might also want to do a heaping teaspoon as these leaves tend to be shaped less densely.


White Tea
The most delicate of teas, in flavor and preparation.

1 tsp tea
8 oz water, 160 F - 180 F 
Steep 1.5-2.5 mins

- This tea is basically just dried leaves so they take up a lot of space. You'll probably want to do a heaping teaspoon. Just don't expect to get a very strong flavor because that's just how it is with white tea.
- The nice thing is you can usually get two or three cups from the one serving.


The process
Here's how you actually make it, using the suggestions from above.

  1. Start up the kettle.
  2. Put the appropriate amount of tea in the basket.
  3. Once the water is to the appropriate temperature, fill up your mug (or teapot, container, whatever)
    1. It's a good idea to heat the container up as the water temperature will drop a few degrees. Just fill it up with hot water and let it sit for 30 seconds or so and dump it out.
  4. Drop the basket in the water and start the timer.
  5. Take the basket out once the timer goes off and set it aside.
  6. (Optional) Add milk/cream and sugar.