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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.
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 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. You can use a heaping tablespoon to retain more of the herb flavor.
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.
Herbal teas are infusions coming from the roots, stems, leaves, or flowers of plants. This type of tea uses herbs to regulate the body’s natural cleansing process while restoring balance in the digestive system. Each sip provides you with a great way to stay hydrated while receiving antioxidants to boost your immune system.
Drinking loose leaf herbal teas such as ones from Art of Tea is a refreshing alternative to green or black tea. Even with the absence of caffeine, the oxidation process of herbal teas results in various flavors and aromas such as:
- Slightly sweet
Brewing Herbal Teas
Professional cupping and tasting standards recommend measuring two grams of loose tea per eight ounces of hot water to achieve the perfect brew of herbal tea.
However, you can still consider personal tea drinking preferences. For instance, if you’re just starting out drinking herbal teas, you may need time getting used to the bitter taste. In this case, you can add milk or honey to create a milder brew.
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.
Flavored teas come with externally added flavors. Tea leaves are susceptive to flavors, allowing them to blend well with dry and liquid ingredients. Flavors may come from extracting oils from blossoms, roots, leaves, and fruits. Art of Tea has some amazing flavored teas if you’re looking to add some new flavors to your collection.
Brewing Flavored Tea
The two grams per eight-ounce cup also applies to brewing flavored teas. However, consider adding an extra teaspoon if the tea includes fluffier ingredients like chamomile or mint. If you’re making an iced tea, double the number of tea leaves since ice can dilute the mixture.
Let the tea steep for three to five minutes. Flavored tea tends to have a bolder taste, which means you can still use the leaves for a number of steeping. When doing so, add another minute to the steeping time to ensure you draw out the flavors.
Are you craving a white chocolate bar or creamy cocktail mix, yet you want to avoid the extra calories that come with them? Dessert teas are the solution to this diet dilemma. This type of tea refers to a blend that attempts to mimic the flavors of a wide variety of desserts.
Among the great things about tea is that we now have several flavors to make the shift from sweetened drinks to healthier alternatives. To satisfy your sweet tooth, you can try varieties of dessert teas from Art of Tea such as fruity caramel, chocolatey, earthy, spicy cinnamon, vanilla berry truffle, and dark chocolate peppermint.
Drinking dessert teas can serve as stepping stones for first-time tea drinkers, especially if you’re looking to curb sugar intake. You can enjoy the full-flavors of dessert teas all day long, guilt-free!
Brewing Dessert Tea
Brewing a cup of dessert tea is not any different from other types of tea. To maximize the flavor, it would be best to use two to three grams of loose tea leaves in each cup. Steep the leaves for about 5 to 10 minutes.
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
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?
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.
Other Measuring Tips
Here are some final tips to help you adjust whether you’re brewing a pot of tea or still experimenting with the number of loose tea leaves to meet your taste preferences.
- Loose tea leaves expand while brewing. Use an infuser to ensure the tea leaves make the most contact with the water, and consequently, transfer the flavor to the water.
- If your tea has big leaves and flowers like chamomile or mint, the leaves may easily take up space. You can use a regular spoon to measure instead of a teaspoon.
- You can typically steep loose tea leaves several times, although each steeping may yield a lighter flavor than the previous. Thus, use a teaspoon, instead of a heaping tablespoon, per 8 ounces of water to get a better brew.
- When using a large teapot to brew several cups of hot tea, increase the amount of loose leaf tea to equal the total ounces of water. For example, a three-cup teapot needs 3 tablespoons or up to 6 grams of loose leaf tea to retain all of the flavors.
- If you like brewing your tea weaker or stronger, adjust the quantity of loose tea leaves than what the brewing directions indicate.
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.
Scott is the founder of TeaMinded. He enjoys tasting and discovering teas from across the globe, with green teas and ceremonial matcha from Japan being among his favorites. He’s grateful to be immersed in the tea community, always learning and sharing along the journey.