Everything You Need to Know About Steeping Tea
Tea is the perfect drink to wake you up, comfort you when you are sad, and soothe you when you need it. To make the best cup of tea, you need to steep it in hot water. Here, the flavors and nutrient dense compounds are extracted from your tea leaves into the hot water in your cup or tea pot. This is actually the most important step to making a great cup of tea. Follow our guidance and you’ll become a steeping pro to correctly steep every cup of tea you make!
Not All Tea is the Same
There are two types of tea: true tea that comes from the Camellia sinensis plant and herbal tea. True teas include black, green, white, and oolong tea. These teas are a product of the tea leaf itself and how it is oxidized or dried, which is why teas vary in strength and color. Herbal teas, also called tisanes, are typically made from dried elements of roots, leaves, stems, and flowers. Popular herbal teas include flavors like ginger, turmeric, peppermint, rooibos, and chamomile. The basic process for making any cup of tea is relatively the same, however, the steeping time varies between true teas and tisanes.
How to Steep Tea: Making the Perfect Cup
You may be asking, what does steeping tea mean? Don’t worry, we will go through all of the specifics.
The three most important things to remember when making a cup of tea: the water temperature, the amount of water, and the length of steeping time. All teas have a specific temperature, amount of water, and length of steeping time for the optimal cup of tea. Longer steeping and hotter water do not necessarily result in a better tea flavor. In fact, if you are not steeping your teas for the preferred amount of time, you may not be extracting all of the antioxidants and health benefits from your tea or, if you are steeping for too long, your tea may end up tasting quite bitter. For example, to adequately extract all of the amazing antioxidants from black tea, it needs to steep for an average of 3-5 minutes, but if it steeps for 6-8 minutes, it will probably taste bitter and too strong!
To ensure you are steeping your tea for the correct amount of time every cup, check out our easy-to-follow recommended steep time chart. As an easy rule of thumb, true teas normally need less steeping time whereas herbal teas (tisanes) need more time to steep.
If you want to make iced tea, it's important to note that it does require a different process and steeping time. Because you are not using hot water, the tea flavor and antioxidants take longer to extract. For iced tea, the average steeping time is about ten hours. Follow our easy guide on how to make iced tea.