Brewing loose leaf tea can be considered an art form. It can be easy to make a cup of tea that tastes terrible, but it can also be easy to make a cup of tea that tastes amazing. Today, we're bringing you some tips on how to brew the best loose leaf tea like a pro so you can nail it every time.
What's loose leaf tea again?
In case you're not 100% on what loose leaf tea is, it's essential tea that isn't usually packaged in a bag for brewing. Although like many, you may have fallen in love with tea through convenient tea bags, using loose leaf tea is another way to step up your tea and explore all the other teas out there that don't come in a teabag as standard.
Some loose leaf tea equipment we recommend to get you started:
A good quality strainer
Whether that's incorporated into a cup or a teapot such as the stunning Top Hat Dual Glass Cup and Top Hat Teapot we offer at Tea Life, you'll definitely need a strainer to remove the loose tea leaves after they've finished brewing in hot water to avoid over brewing a strong tea that may not be to your liking.
A storage container
This is more to ensure your tea is safe and well stored after opening a fresh packet of loose leaf tea. Loose-leaf tea can last up to six months when stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
Tip 1: Boiling water isn't always the best
It's become ingrained in many traditions surrounding tea that you should boil your water before you brew your tea to let the water infuse the tea leaves and release all the flavour they harbour. However, many teas don't need such hot water for steeping and some even taste better with slightly cooler water. Generally, the hotter the water, the faster the flavour from the tea is released and the shorter the steep time becomes, but cooler water and a longer steeping time can really bring out the aromatic notes of your loose leaf tea you might not have noticed from a quick brew before.
For black and oolong teas, boiling water is a great temperature to steep at because they are meant to have bolder, rich flavours, but for green, white or herbal tea you can use cooler water around 85 degrees celsius to get that fresh, delicate flavour they are known so well for or simply prepare herbal teas using water that has reached a full boil (approximately 100 degrees celsius - this means that there's no need to carefully measure the temperature; you can just wait for your kettle to start boiling.
Tip 2: Steeping time can vary
Unlike tea bags where you could usually let it steep for a few minutes and get on with your day when using loose leaf tea, this is where it can become an art form. Most loose leaf teas will come with instructions for the best time to leave your leaves to steep but one of the fun parts of mastering your favourite loose-leaf brew is to experiment and see what tastes best to you based on the steep time.
Do you prefer a longer steep for a stronger tea dominated by many flavours or a shorter steep for a light and fresh taste? The answer to this question is entirely personal and depends on your palate, so it's a good idea to keep a notepad and record the times you like best for each loose-leaf tea you try.
Tip 3: Get the ratio right
Brewing loose leaf tea is all about getting the ratio of loose leaves to water just right. If you have too many leaves, it might be a tea that's too strong and overpowering but not having enough tea leaves in the brew can create a tea that's more lacklustre. This again differs with each type of loose-leaf tea, so it's important to follow the instructions that come with your chosen variety or experiment to find the perfect balance for you. However, as a general rule, you'll want around one teaspoon of loose-leaf tea per cup of hot water for a perfect cup every time.Once you've got the hang of these loose leaf tea brewing tips, we're sure that you'll be able to make a delicious cup of tea that's just right for you each and every time - no bagging necessary! Find your new favourite loose leaf tea at Tea Life today to get started on your journey to mastery.