Preparing loose leaf tea may seem like a more complicated process than throwing a tea bag into a mug, but the opposite is true. Loose leaf tea is easy to prepare and the flavour it provides is second to none. In this blog, we’ll go through the process, step by step, to help you make a delicious brew in no time.
Why choose loose leaves?
Loose leaf tea is the best way to make tea, because large leaves that have room to brew provide a well-rounded cup of tea. The leaves retain their oils and natural flavour compounds when they’re intact, so you can enjoy much more flavour by brewing tea this way, and there are so many different varieties of tea to explore.
If you're a tea enthusiast or want to explore different varieties of tea on the market, learning how to brew tea properly is essential.
How much loose leaf tea do I need?
The ratio of tea to water is paramount when you’re making a cup of tea, and the sweet spot is 5g of tea per 400ml of hot water. You can purchase tea scoops that make this easy, so you don’t need to worry about weighing out the leaves every time you want a cup of tea.
If you prefer a stronger brew, don’t brew it longer as this can make the tea bitter. Instead, simply add another scoop of tea (or add 10g of leaves if you’re weighing it out) and brew for the same amount of time.
Choosing your method
You’ll no doubt realise when you come to buy loose leaf tea that there are plenty of varieties to pick from. However, whichever you pick, don’t be tempted by brewing baskets as these restrict the leaves and prevent them from absorbing water correctly. You want to release as much flavour as possible, so choose a roomy teapot that filters the tea as you pour, which will not only look great as its brewing but gives the best flavour at the end.
How to brew loose leaf tea
1. Choose the right leaves
Brewing tea starts with the leaves you choose. While English Breakfast tea is one of the most popular (and a great place to start if you’re new to drinking tea) there are so many other options to try.
From Earl Grey to Assam, make sure that whichever blend you choose, you pick a high quality leaf that’s sold by a specialist seller. Supermarket blends are often little more than dust and this doesn’t give you a flavourful cup. Stick to whole leaves for a rounded flavour.
2. Choose the ratio you would like
Measure your tea and water, starting with 5g of tea per 400ml of boiling water for the best cup. Loose leaf gives you plenty of flexibility to experiment, so play with different quantities until you find the right balance for your tastes.
3. Boil the water
Temperature plays an important role in tea making, depending on the type of tea you’re brewing. Black teas require 100-degree water in order to extract properly, while green teas are better in 85-degree water. If your water is too cold or hot, you’ll either not extract the right flavour compounds or it will taste bitter.
4. Brew for the right amount of time
Now it’s time to brew. Pour the water over your leaves and sit back to relax. For black teas, you want to let it brew for between 3 and 5 minutes, while green teas need to brew for between 3 to 4 minutes. You don’t need to stir or squish the leaves, simply let them soak and extract.
5. Add your flavours
Tea is personal, so if you’re someone who likes milk or sugar, or both, in their tea, now is the time to add it. If you want to enjoy the flavours of the tea itself, however, it’s best to try it on its own first so see whether you’re happy with just water or if you need additional flavours to enjoy it to its full. Some teas, for example, are delicious with just a squirt of fresh lemon juice or a drizzle of honey.
6. Rinse and repeat
Once you’ve enjoyed your tea, it’s time to clean up. Swill the teapot with water and pour it through a sieve to catch the remaining leaves which will be destined for the bin. That’s all that’s required!
As you can see, brewing a delicious mug of loose leaf tea isn’t as complicated as it may first appear, and there is plenty of room for customising your perfect brew. Get experimenting with different varieties and flavour combinations to find your ideal mug of tea.