How to Brew Loose Leaf Tea - Brewing Instructions

Widely recognized as a leading authority on loose leaf Chinese tea, Ned Heagerty, co-owner and CEO of Silk Road Teas shows how to brew and assemble the perfect cup of tea.

How to Brew Tea

It's easier than you think since there is no right or wrong way to make tea. Experiment and, most importantly, let your palate be your guide. If it's your first time brewing loose tea, here are some simple instructions to follow to ensure that your first cup is one you thoroughly enjoy.

  • Water: Start with good tasting water - lightly filtered or spring water will do. Follow the temperature guide below and be sure not to pour boiling water on green or white tea as this will "cook" the leaves and to a degree lessen their flavor.  One note, if you like the taste of your tap water, you will probably find it satisfactory for making tea.  
  • Leaves: For a cup of tea or a teapot (8 to 12 ounces), one tablespoon (3-5 grams) of tea should be enough.  For a teapot 16-24 ounces, a rounded tablespoon of leaf will probably work. You may need to experiment some here to find the right quantity and taste.  Note, if the tea is becoming astringent, even with a short steep, you probably are using too much leaf. 
  • Steep Time: Generally, we steep our green, white and black teas for 2-3 minutes. Oolongs will typically use shorter steeps as they are strong in taste. Pu-erh teas will steep for longer periods. So, the steep time may vary for each variety. Start with shorter steep times (2 minutes) and see if you like the taste. Experiment and increase the steep time as needed.  
  • Taste: Most of our leaves are meant to be steeped two or three times. Simply add hot water to the pot and increase the steep time with each infusion. Between steeps, drain the water from the leaves.
Water
Best Spring
Good Filtered
Okay Distilled
Passable Tap

Temperature
White, Spring Green, Japanese Green 160-185° F (71-77° C)
Green 170-185° F (77-83° C)
Oolong 185-205° F (82-94° C)
Black 190-205° F (88-94° C)
Pu-erh 205-212° F (94-100° C)

Quantity
White, Green 1 TBS per 12-16 oz.
Oolong 1 TSP per 12-16 oz.
Black 1 TSP/TBS per 12-16 oz.
Pu-erh 1-1.5 TBS per 12-16 oz.

Steep Time
White, Green , Black 2-3 minutes
Oolong 1 ½ - 3 minutes
Pu-erh 3-4 minutes