How Long Should Tea Steep?
Making the perfect cup of tea is both a driving force and a form of relaxation for many people. Getting the water to the perfect temperature, selecting the right tea, and timing the steep correctly all help to brew the perfect cup.
The Temperature Matters
Different types of teas require various water temperatures to unlock the most flavor. For teas such as green, white, and oolong, steep these in water that is below boiling (180 – 190°F). Consider lowering this range for delicate teas. For black and herbal teas, boiling water (212°F) works best.
Pick the Perfect Tea
The type of tea also plays an important role in how long it should steep. The length you steep the tea depends on the quality and cut of the leaves. High quality loose-leaf teas have larger tea leaves and will require a longer steep than teabags. Generally, herbal teas should steep for the shortest amount of time (about 5 minutes), while black and oolong teas should steep for 4 to 5 minutes. Green teas should only steep for a few minutes, while white teas steep for just 2 to 3 minutes.
Steep According to Perfection
Having the perfect cup depends on personal preference. For people who prefer a stronger, more bold flavor, they may desire that their tea steeps closer to the longer recommended. To experience the most flavor and benefits from tea, it is best to:
- Start slow. Begin with the lower end of the recommended range, then increase in time if the flavor is too light.
- Taste often. Sip the tea every minute, starting after the first two.
- Stop for safety. Stop steeping as soon as you begin to taste the bitterness as it can ruin your cup.
Finding the best cup of tea is a matter of personal preference, but keeping in mind the type, temperature, and time can help you unlock the perfect cup.