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Preparing Tea

How to make tea - three bowls of loose leaf tea.

There are many varieties of tea, which means there are many different techniques for preparing tea. Here are some of the common preparation styles:

Preparing Dark Tea * Preparing Puer Tea
* Using Yixing Teapots * Preparing Chai Tea
* Preparing Matcha Green Tea * Preparing Tea Gongfu Style
* Using Tetsubin Teapots * Preparing Iced Tea


All TeaSource tea comes with specific steeping suggestions on the back of the bag. Remember to refer to these instructions when making your tea. Preparing tea properly can be easy and delicious if you follow these basic guidelines.

Chef's Choice electric tea kettle | How to steep tea

Use Good Tea

Use the best tea that is available to you. Good tea is a bargain. A tea that costs $100.00 per pound, only costs 50 cents per cup when steeped. Use fresh, loose leaf tea for the best results.

Use Good Water

When making any tea, be sure you begin with good water, it makes up over 90 % of the end product. Water quality and taste vary greatly between locales. If your water tastes really good out of the tap, chances are it will make good tea.

If there is a noticeable unpleasant taste (metallic, chlorine, earthiness, etc.) it will come through in the tea. A simple, inexpensive solution is a store-bought water filter, such as a Brita or Pur filter. Spring water also works well. We do not suggest using distilled water.

Heat the Pot

Pour a small amount of hot water into the pot to warm it before beginning to make your tea. For best results, always make tea with fresh water, not water that has been previously boiled or has been sitting around.

Measure the Tea

The standard guideline for tea is to use one rounded, measuring teaspoon (3 grams) of tea for each 8 ounce cup of water. When measuring, take the leaf size into account. For example, if you are preparing a very fine particle tea, such as TeaSource Classic Iced Tea, use a level teaspoon. If you are preparing a large-leaf, bulky tea, such as White Peony, use two teaspoons per cup. In either case, the approximate weight of the tea should be 3 grams of tea per cup.

Measure the Water Temp

Different teas require different water temperatures for steeping. Using water that is too hot results in bitter tea and is probably the most common error people make when preparing tea. You can use a thermometer or visual cues to gauge water temperature.

Tea Category
Water Temperature
Visual Cues
212 degrees
Full, rolling boil
190-200 degrees
Steaming rapidly, little bubbles
160-180 degrees
Gentle steam, no bubbles
155-165 degrees
Very light steam
208-212 degrees
Just off the boil
195-205 degrees
Steaming rapidly, little bubbles
212 degrees
Full, rolling boil

*If your water boils and you need cooler water, just add a little cold water to the kettle to bring the temperature down quickly

Time the Steep

Different teas require different steep times. Refer to the instructions on the bag for the specific steep time for each tea. Avoid steeping tea longer than recommended. If tea steeps too long it often becomes bitter. Using a timer when steeping tea is highly recommended.

Expanded tea and dry tea compariso | how to make tea

Leaf Expansion

All teas require room for the leaf to expand as it steeps. Whatever preparation method you use make sure there is enough room for the leaf to expand 3-5 times in size as it steeps. Brewing the leaves loose in the pot and then straining works well, as do tea infusers and T-sacs. At TeaSource, we do not recommend using tea balls as there is very little room for leaf expansion, meaning that the full tea flavor never gets released into the liquid.

Stop the Steeping

Once the tea has steeped for the proper amount of time, separate the leaves from the liquid. This stops the steeping process so the tea does not oversteep and become bitter. Using T-sacs or filters makes this step easy. When the leaves are removed, the tea is ready to be served. Enjoy!