Tea Steeping Guide

The table below should give a general guideline on the time and temperature for steeping your different teas.  It is certainly for the tea purist with those specific temperatures and times, so we’re also including some handy tips for those of you that are a bit more casual:

First, the secret to a strong cup of tea is more TEA, not more TIME.  Letting tea steep longer than the maximum time is a recipe for a bitter and unsatisfactory tea experience!  Herbal and Tisanes, with no actual tea leaves, can generally can be steeped for as long as you want for stronger flavor.

A small string of bubbles from the bottom of the kettle is in the 180-190 degree range. A full rolling boil is in the 195-206 degree temperature range.

For naturally decaffeinated tea, pre-steep your tea for 30 seconds, flush, and the steep as normal.  Caffeine will dissolve in the first steep, and it is nearly as decaffeinated as those chemically processed decaffeinated teas!

Type of TeaTemperatureSteep Time
White175-1851-3 Minutes
Chinese Green1853 Minutes
Japanese Green1802-3 Minutes
Black2063-5 Minutes
Darjeeling1853 minutes
Oolong185-2063-5 Minutes
Herbal and Tisane2065-7 Minutes
Raw Pu-Erh195First soak 30 seconds, flush, then steep 3-5 minutes
Half/Full Backed Pu-Erh206First soak 30 seconds, flush, then steep 3-5 minutes

What’s in an ounce?

One of the most popular items we sell is our 1/2 ounce sampler size.  It’s perfect for grabbing two or three varieties just to try out the different flavors before committing to a larger quantity of something that just isn’t (ahem) your cup of tea.  Naturally, then, one of the most oft-asked questions is: how much tea does this make?  Our rule of thumb is 1 teaspoon of tea for every 6-8oz of water or 1 tablespoon of Tisanes or Herbals for that same amount of water.  The interesting thing is how widely the number of teaspoon and tablespoons actually fit into 1/2 an ounce!

For example, take our Organic Genmaicha tea (a Japanese Green tea with toasted rice kernels – yum) vs the White Coconut Creme (a mixture white peony, coconut pieces, safflower, cornflower – double yum), two of our favorite teas.   The silver bag on the left is the Genmaicha and the one on the right is the White Coconut Creme.

We bet you can’t guess the weight of each!

Have your guess ready?  The silver bag (Genmaicha) is 2 pounds of tea, while the black bag on the right is only a single pound.  Here’s a shot of just a tenth of an ounce of each: 

Now we bet you can guess which is which!  Yep, that’s right: the one on the left is the Coconut Creme while the one on the right is the Genmaicha.

It truly is amazing how widely teas and tisanes can vary in weight and size.  These aren’t even the most extreme examples, and it makes answering that seemingly simple “how much will this make” quite difficult (you should come in and see our Gunpowder Green tea-  each leaf gets hand-rolled into tiny little pellets – giving it a small size but a heavy weight!).

This also means that tea weight is not equivalent to coffee weight (we once had someone want 8 ounces of a tea – after starting to dish this out into the biggest bag we could find, they realized that 8oz of tea is quite a large amount and quickly changed to 2 ounces).  Normally, we sell our larger sizes in 2 or 4-ounce quantity, which generally lasts even an avid tea drinker quite a while, but, as we said, it will very greatly on what kind you get!