How to brew loose tea, brought to you by Tony Tellin and Smith Teamaker. For all our loose teas, take a look at our Loose Leaf Tea Collection or our Loose Tea Subscriptions.

Loose Tea Brew Instructions

You’ll need a method to heat the water in a kettle, electric or stovetop, a teapot or vessel in which to brew and the tea. A timer is very helpful to not over-steep the tea. Use our timer here

Loose Black Tea and Herbal Infusions

For our loose black tea and loose herbal infusions, bring freshly filtered water to a boil. In your brewing or steeping vessel, place the tea either directly in the pot or inside an infusor (some teapots come with them). In general, we recommend one teaspoon of tea per 8 ounce cup. Pour the water just off boil (or just prior to the boil) directly on the tea leaves, also known as bringing water to tea. Since black tea and herbals lend themselves best to a strong, indulgent experience, pouring the water directly over the leaves encourages an aggressive extraction. After 5 minutes, remove and discard the tea by removing the infusor or pouring the water and leaves through a strainer.

Loose Green, White, and Oolong Tea

For more delicate green and white teas as well as most oolongs, we recommend bringing freshly filtered water to about 180 or 190 degrees. Without a thermometer, this can be achieved by letting boiling water cool for about 2 minutes. For greens, whites, and oolongs, you want to bring the tea to water. In other words, pour the hot water into the brewing vessel and then add the loose tea to the water. This method allows for a more delicate experience without extracting the bitter notes from the leaves. After 3 minutes, remove and discard the tea by removing the infusor or pouring the water and leaves through a strainer.

Loose Leaf Oolong Tea

Loose Tea in a Pot

When making a pot of tea, follow the same instructions as above, and use about one teaspoon of tea and 8 ounces of water for each cup. For a large teapot, you may want to add an extra teaspoon to maintain a strong cup, as per the old adage of "one for the cup and one for the pot." 

The Most Personal Beverage

Here at Smith Teamaker, we believe strongly in making tea a personal experience. The instructions and guidelines above are simply recommendations. You may find that you enjoy a much shorter extraction (Steve preferred his cup of Bungalow steeped closer to 3 minutes than to 5). The beauty is being able to control that experience, and removing the leaf from the water at your choosing to create something you like. Have fun and keep experimenting and adjusting so eventually, you can easily become your own tea master.