Here are some tips to making sure you are steeping your favourite tea the right way. It will make all the difference in the world! As a general rule the standard quantity is 1 teaspoon per 8 ounce cup.
All tea that which comes from the camellia sinensis plant has some form of caffeine and tannins. Learning to steep them correctly will take advantage of this and give you the best cup of tea.
Black tea has the most amount of caffeine. It has been oxidized the longest and requires boiling water to bring out the flavour notes of the leaf. We recommend a steeping time of 3-5 minutes.
Green tea has minimal caffeine and requires a more gentle touch. The water should be no more than 180-190°F with a steeping time of 2 minutes. For green tea, remember that the water should be poured into the pot or cup first to allow for cooling, followed by the tea. (Not the other way around.) This will ensure that the leaf does not turn bitter or too tannic. A longer steeping time can be managed if the water temperature is reduced to 160°F. Then you are able to draw more health benefits from the leaf, while at the same time holding back on the bitter taste.
White tea is the most delicate of all tea. It has not been processed at all; the leaf is simply plucked and dried. There is caffeine is white tea, even though the flavour is very light and delicate. When you steep white tea, the water should be at a temperature of approximately 160°F. A longer steep is required for white tea and we recommend around 10 minutes to extract the flavour and health benefits.
Pu-Erh is an aged green tea which has the least caffeine of all categories of tea. To steep Pu-Erh, one can use boiling water with a steeping time of approximately 3-5 minutes. Pu-Erh is known for its wonderful digestive properties and woodsy flavour.
A side note on caffeine in tea: it is important to understand that although the tea leaf contains caffeine, it also contains an amino acid called L-Theanine, which counters the caffeine and provides a sense of calm. L-Theanine is what makes the caffeine in tea so much different than that in coffee. The caffeine in tea has a stimulating effect, but along with it, you get a calming sensation too!
Herbal/fruit tisanes is a broad category of herbs (including rooibos) and fruit we steep for an alternative to drinking tea, as it typically does not contain caffeine. The same general rule of thumb applies to the quantity, that being 1 teaspoon per cup. Also, we recommend using boiling water to bring out the goodness of the herb or fruit. As for the timing, we recommend a minimum of 5-10 minutes.
You can also refer to our Tea Education page for additional information on steeping the perfect up of tea.