How to Brew Loose Leaf Tea

Learning how to brew loose leaf tea is very simple. If you have time to relax and enjoy your tea, you can use traditional methods of brewing in classical Chinese teaware, in a gaiwan or a yi xing pot. If you are just trying to make yourself a nice cup of tea, there are vey simple ways of brewing tea. There are a few simple steps we suggest to you to get you started.

Basic steps For Brewing Loose Tea

Brewing Tips

  • Don’t forget that all Chinese loose leaf tea can be brewed many times. Subsequent cups will not only yield different flavors, but even more nutrition.  Just continue to add more of the same temperature water over your leaves.
  • Leaves of White Tea, Green Tea  or Yellow Tea can be infused about four times.
  • Leaves of Black Tea or Scented Tea can be infused about five times.
  • Leaves of Oolong Tea or Puer Tea can be infused more than five times.
  • Between brews, don’t empty your cup or pot completely. Leave a little bit of water over your leaves to strengthen your next brew.
  • Other than your tea, water and vessel, you often won’t need any extra equipment like an infuser basket or ball. Loose tea steeps beautifully on its own! The most popular way to drink tea in China is to simply put tea leaves in a cup or pot and pour water over them without using any kind of strainer.
  • Try brewing your favorite teas in a tall glass. This simple way of brewing tea is popular in China because it allows the drinker to appreciate the shape and color of the infusing tea leaf.  Although most whole tea leaves will settle down to the bottom of your cup once they hydrate, some leaves and buds will still naturally float on the surface of the water. Just blow them out of the way before sipping. By the second or third infusion all of the tea leaves will have dropped to the bottom.

STEP 1: Collect your tea ware. You can use glass, porcelain, yi xing or even a pint glass.

STEP 2: Select your tea. For one person each serving is about 4 grams. For 2 people use around 6-8 grams.

STEP 3: use filtered water heated by stove or the electric kettle, avoid using a microwave to heat your water if you can. In general, lightly or oxidize-free tea (green, white, scented, yellow) use 185 Degree water. For heavily oxidized tea (black, wulong, puer) use boiling water.

STEP 4: Infusion time is flexible depending on your taste. In general the first infusion time is about 2-3 minutes. with each infusion, increase the infusion time. You can leave your leaves in your cup or pot.

 

In traditional Chinese tea, they do not use filters, instead chewing on the leaves if they are floating on the top. If you don’t want strong tea or would just like more control over your infusion times, you can use any kind of filter. A popular way to make a cup of tea is brewing your leaves in a pint glass. Some leaves will continue to float on the surface but during the 2nd infusion most of the leaves will sink to the bottom. Always save enough tea to cover your leaves before your next infusion, this will make the next infusion have a stronger flavor.

 

 

If you have time to enjoy your tea in a more traditional fashion, we recommend using a gaiwan or a yi xing pot. Our educational videos below give detailed instructions on how to brew loose leaf tea and enjoy it in the traditional Chinese way.

 

showing how to brew loose leaf tea in a gaiwan

How to brew loose leaf tea

Unsure about brewing loose leaf tea?  No need to worry. Brewing tea is easy if you start with fine tea, add high quality water and steep to your personal taste. We have given the following general guidelines to get you started.  Feel free to adjust the steeping time or amount of tea to your tastes.

Brewing in 12 oz. Pot Quantity Temperature Time
Green Tea 1 – 1 ½ Tbsp (3 gms) 180 – 200F 1 – 2 mins.
White Tea 2 Tbsp (3 gms) 180 – 200F 1 – 3 mins.
Scented Tea ½ Tbsp (3 gms) 200F 1 – 2 mins.
Oolong Tea ½ – 2 Tbsp (4 gms) 212F 1 – 2 mins.
Black Tea ½ Tbsp – 2 Tbsp (4 gms) 212F 1 – 2 mins.
Puer Tea 1 – 2 Tbsp (4 gms) 212F 1 – 2 mins.