How to Brew Loose Leaf Tea

Whether this is your first time brewing loose leaf tea, or you just need a refresher, here are some simple instructions to follow to ensure that your cup of tea is one you thoroughly enjoy:

Water

Start with fresh water—preferably lightly filtered or spring water. Follow the temperature guide below and avoid pouring boiling water over green or white tea as this may “cook” the leaves and lessen their vibrant flavor.

Quantity

The quantity guidelines below are a great place to start to create the perfect cup. You may need to experiment some to find the ideal amount to suit your taste. 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 1.5-3 minutes. Oolongs will typically use shorter steeps as they are strong in taste. Pu-erh teas will steep for longer periods. Start with shorter steep times (1.5-2 minutes) and see if you like the taste. Experiment and increase the steep time as needed.

Multiple Steeps

Our leaves are meant to be steeped two or three times. Simply add hot water to the leaves and increase the steep time with each infusion. Between steeps, drain the water from the leaves.

Tea TypeWater TempQuantitySteep Time
White 160-185 ° F 1 tbs. per 12-16 oz. water 1.5-3 minutes
Green 170-185 ° F 1 tbs. per 12-16 oz. water 1.5-3 minutes
Oolong 205-212 ° F 1 tbs. per 8-12 oz. water 1.5-2 minutes
Black 195-205 ° F 1 tbs. per 8-12 oz. water 1.5-3 minutes
Pu-erh Boiling 1.5 tbs. per 9-12 oz. water 3-4 minutes

Introduction to Gaiwans

gaiwan

A gaiwan is an elegant Chinese invention from the Ming dynasty. It consists of a handle-free cup, a saucer, and a lid. It is versatile, easy to use, and gives you the opportunity to observe the tea leaves as they unfold, giving you control over the brewing process. We recommend decanting the gaiwan-brewed tea to either a small pitcher or straight to the cup before drinking.

Ned Heagerty, CEO of Silk Road Teas, demonstrates how to make the perfect cup of gaiwan-brewed tea: