How Much Loose Tea Should I Use

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Brewing a cup of tea is an art. It’s been part of cultural tradition in some countries. Until the middle of the 20th century, people brew tea using loose tea leaves. Not long after, tea bags became a popular way of brewing tea. 

Brewing loose leaf tea can’t compare to tea bags. The flavor depends on how strong the tea leaves are and how much hot water your tea seeps in. This gives the question of how much loose tea you should use for a perfect blend of tea. 

How Much Loose Tea Should I Use?

The tea industry makes guidelines for brewing a perfect cup of hot tea. It usually measures a single serving of loose leaf tea as 2 grams of loose tea per 8 ounces of hot water. Some use one teaspoon of leaves for each cup of water.

Loose tea leaves scattered on a table by a scoop spelling the word tea

Standard guidelines give consumers a standard for professional brewing and tasting standards that are consistent. When you’re brewing at home without the right tea equipment, there are variables like making the right measurement that will be difficult for you.  

The standard guideline isn’t all that perfect. Some people have a different personal flavor for their tea. Especially if you don’t have measuring equipment, experimenting on your own to find the taste that’s best for you. Maybe you like strong and astringent so you add a bit of milk and sugar on your tea.

Variables to Consider for Brewing Loose Tea

When brewing loose tea, you should keep in mind that whole leaf teas and herbs can be different from each other. Teas can come from different countries or gardens and the processing may be different from each other and affect its volume. 

Whole Leaf Tea Size

Whole leaves are large and bulky. They have more volume compared to tea leaves that are rolled into smaller pieces or broken into small leaves during processing. The amount you use will be different from the smaller ones. 

Blended Teas

Blended teas can contain larger herb pieces that increase the tea’s volume. Blended teas usually come in chunky pieces so adding first a small amount in the brew will help you estimate the flavor you want. 

Fine Cut Tea Size

Fine cut tea leaves are small in size so they are quick to brew and yield has a distinct strong flavor. For every 8 ounces of water, steep at least one teaspoon of fine-cut tea leaves. 

Loose tea leaves spilling out of a red tea container

Flavored Teas

Some loose tea leaves are put with flavoring during processing. Examples are jasmine and earl grey where their flavors are enhanced and brewed quickly. If you want a stronger flavor just add more than a teaspoon depending on your preference or you can lessen the tea leaves so the flavor isn’t as strong. 

Herb Size

Herb size also affects the volume measurement you have to use. The size affects the volume in a teaspoon. For example, large and bulky tea leaves and fine cut tea leaves aren’t the same in volume when you place them in a teaspoon. 

Factors in Brewing Loose Leaf Tea

Loose-leaf tea is how people used to brew their tea and for good reason. It brings out more of the tea’s flavor because the leaves are able to expand and unfurl when you place them in hot water. Brewing using loose leaf tea gives a distinct flavor as to how tea should be. 

There are several factors that determine how your loose leaf tea is flavored and brewed. These are:

  • Type of tea
  • Water temperature
  • Steeping time
  • The ratio of loose leaf tea to water
Loose tea leaves on a table with a strainer and a tea mug around it

Keep watch of these factors as they affect how the flavor will come out from your loose tea. It could yield a bitter, strong, or too sweet flavor. If you’re unsure, start with less and add as you go until you get the flavor you want. 

How Long Should the Tea Stay in the Water?

Loose tea should stay around 1 to 5 minutes in hot water. For black tea, have it stay in the water for about 2 to 3 minutes. This process is what you call “steeping”. When you steep the loose tea too much, it can give off a bitter flavor which some people might prefer. 

Does it Matter What I Steep the Tea in?

A normal teacup should do the job. However, if you want to venture into the depths of the world of tea, then you should know that the temperature of your room can affect the steeping process of tea

If you want to get serious in tea brewing, try investing in an unglazed earthenware teapot. This type of teapot brews tea faster and keeps the flavor consistent. 


The ideal amount of loose tea is 2 grams for every 8 ounces of water. This gives off a standard flavor prescribed by most tea makers. If you prefer a different taste you can experiment with how much loose tea you should use and maybe you’ll find an extremely unique blend. 

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