Lately I’ve run into the same questions about tea and/or tea products, so we shall try to give some answers for those of you that really want to try tea, you just aren’t sure if you are doing it correctly.
First let me say if you are loving the way you do tea, then keep on doing it. For those of you who asked to have your questions answered, here we go!
How many servings are in an ounce of tea?
Typically, one ounce will make 10-15 6-ounce cups of tea, depending on how strong you like it.
The volume of an ounce of dry tea leaves can vary quite a bit, though. Some teas are light and fluffy, while others are dense. The photo below shows one ounce of various teas in comparison with a quarter. (Tea names clockwise from upper left are: Egyptian Chamomile, Imperial Silver Needles, Earl Grey White Tip and Temple of Heaven Gunpowder.)
In comparison to a quarter in size.
How big is a teacup? A tea cup is considered to be 6 fluid ounces, like a coffee cup. So when we say to use 1 tsp. of leaves per cup, if your cup is 8 ounces, you may need to use a bit more leaves to get a full strength cup.
How much tea do I use to make a pot?
Depends on your pot. To measure your pot, fill it almost full with water (leave enough room for an infuser with tea leaves in it) and pour the contents into a large measuring cup. Divide the number of ounces by 6. This will tell you how many cups your pot holds. Use one teaspoon of leaves per cup. Some like to throw in an extra teaspoon “for the pot.” Try it both ways and see what you think. It’s personal preference. Note: some teas are very dense, like Gunpowder Green, while some are very light and fluffy, like Imperial Silver Needles. The proper amount to use per cup will vary from tea to tea and with your own taste.
What do I put the tea leaves in when I brew it?
You may use an infuser, such as a tea ball or brew basket, to hold the leaves or put them loose in the pot, then pour through a strainer.
How long do I steep (or brew) the tea?
This can vary significantly from tea to tea, but there are rules of thumb. In general a black tea needs to brew 3-5 minutes for best flavor. They will often get bitter if you let them brew more than 6 or 7 minutes. Green teas often need only 1 minute, but 2-3 minutes is not unusual. Oolongs typically need 2-3 minutes. Herbals need 5-10 minutes, and they generally don’t get bitter, so you can let them brew as long as you like. In general, finely cut teas, whether black, green, or herbal, require shorter brewing times than large leaf teas.
Can I microwave my tea?
I wish you wouldn’t. But I know that a lot of otherwise good people use their microwave either to boil the water or to reheat their tea, and that may be OK if you can’t taste any difference and if you know when the water is done (or if you have no choice of equipment). Don’t over boil it or it will taste flat. Don’t under-heat it or you won’t get the full flavor of your tea. If you find yourself reheating your tea all the time, then you need a tea cozy to keep your tea hot. It will taste much better than reheated. (Or just toss it and make a fresh cup. Tea is very affordable.) If you are drinking green, oolong, or white teas, please use a tea kettle instead so you can see when the water is ready (steaming, not boiling). Please, please, don’t put your tea leaves in the microwave!! The freshly boiled water should be poured over the leaves for a proper infusion instead of putting it all together and then heating it. If you’re going to all the trouble to buy good tea, why treat it so cruelly?
I hope that answers some questions for you.