If you’ve never tried loose tea, you may be surprised to find that it’s nearly as easy to brew as bagged tea. With loose tea, you have larger, more intact pieces of herbs than can be used in tea bags, and this can impact the flavour. Some prefer the flavour of loose tea and the ritual of working with the tea directly. Many find the process of handling loose tea soothing and comforting, with the delicious fragrance of the tea more readily available. You may also find it easier to control the strength of the tea since you select the precise amount used.
Keep reading to learn how to brew the perfect cup of loose tea, including alternative methods if you don’t have an infuser, wish to use a French press or prefer to enjoy your loose tea cold.
Try our most popular loose tea blends, English Breakfast and Earl Grey:
How to Make Loose Tea
Brewing loose tea is easy! First, gather your items — you’ll need the loose leaf tea of your choice, a tea kettle, and your favourite mug. You’ll also need something to strain or infuse your tea, such as a tea infuser. If you don’t have an infuser, keep reading below to learn how to brew your loose tea without one.
Heat Your Water
Fill the kettle with fresh cold water and begin heating. Different loose teas require different brewing temperatures due to the influence on the tea’s flavour and caffeine content. For example, black and rooibos tea is best steeped at about 212°F (100°C), green and herbal tea is better at around 175-180°F (79-82°C), and oolong or white should steep at about 195°F (90°C). To make this easier without a thermometer, you can steep black and rooibos teas immediately with boiling water, wait 3 minutes after boiling for green and herbal and wait 5-7 minutes before brewing oolong tea.
Measure Your Loose Tea Leaves
The amount of loose tea you’ll use depends on how strong you like your tea. A good rule of thumb for beginners is about one teaspoon of tea for every eight ounces of water. As you become more accustomed to brewing loose tea, you can experiment with different amounts to discover your preferred strength. Teas that are fluffier, like camomile flowers, can be used in greater quantities than something more dense, like black tea. One of the fun things about tea is that you can make it how you prefer – there are no hard and fast rules.
Steep Your Tea
You can pour the hot water over the tea leaves to help ensure that each leaf is saturated, which brews a more flavourful tea, or you can add your herbs into a pot or kettle of boiling water, careful to stir well to make sure the tea absorbs the water fully and doesn’t float on top. The length of time you should steep the loose tea varies from blend to blend, so be sure to check the instructions. For example, Twinings English Breakfast Loose Tea and Earl Grey Loose Tea should steep for 3-5 minutes. If your tea has aromatic components like peppermint, camomile, or lemon verbena, you’ll want to make sure to steep it covered to retain as much as the natural and delicate essential oils in the tea as possible.
Remove and Enjoy
Removing the tea leaves is important, so the tea doesn’t over steep and change its strength and flavour, especially when it comes to black tea.
How to Brew Loose Leaf Tea Without an Infuser
If you don’t have an infuser, don’t worry — you don’t have to buy one to enjoy a great cup of loose tea. Instead, place the tea leaves directly into a pot or cup to steep. When your tea has finished steeping, filter the leaves out using a small mesh strainer, coffee filter or colander. As mentioned above, removing the leaves is important, especially when using loose black tea, so the tea doesn’t change strength and flavour. If you are going to brew hot tea, you can pour this into a tea kettle, and if you intend to enjoy it chilled, you can pour it into a glass jar with a lid to refrigerate to enjoy immediately after cooling.
Tea balls can work if they are large, but many of the smallest versions aren’t recommended because they often don’t allow the tea leaves to fully expand as they steep. This can result in a weaker and less flavourful cup of loose tea.
You can also use a French press to brew loose tea, but we recommend dedicating your press to tea only so it doesn’t take on the flavour of coffee grounds. If you need to use your press for coffee, clean it very thoroughly, especially the metal components like the plunger, where coffee alkaloids tend to stick. To use a French press to brew loose tea, add your desired tea leaves to the carafe and pour hot water over them. Steep for the recommended time, press down on the plunger to separate the tea from the liquid, pour and enjoy. Be sure to empty and clean your French press soon after enjoying your tea to make clean-up as easy as possible. The tea you remove can be a great contribution to your compost!
How To Make Loose Leaf Tea Iced
To brew a pitcher of loose iced tea, follow the above methods to first brew the tea hot and then allow it to cool. Next, pour it into a refrigerator-safe container and chill it until it’s cold. You can also cold brew your loose tea in a pitcher of cold water overnight — if you choose this method, it’s best to let the tea leaves steep directly in the water without an infuser, then strain them out the next day. It is recommended to consume within eight hours of brewing completion.
If you want to enjoy a single glass of cold loose tea, steep the tea in a smaller amount of hot water (like five ounces instead of eight), then pour over ice into a heat-resistant glass and enjoy.
How To Store Loose Leaf Tea
To ensure the longest shelf life possible, store your loose leaf tea in an opaque, airtight container and keep it in a cool, dark place. You can also use a glass jar or sealed plastic bag, as long as it stays in a dark place away from the light. Twinings loose tea tins are perfect for storing your tea, protecting the leaves from exposure to air, heat, light, and moisture. Typically, loose tea will last in the pantry for 6-12 months. We recommend drinking any tea within a year of purchase.
Try Refreshing Twinings Loose Tea
Take the time each day to do something good for yourself and try Twinings loose tea. It’s a simple and easy way to take a moment for yourself and indulge in something that tastes delicious and has a long history of helping to support good health.
With our Master Blenders’ and Expert Herbalists’ combined 250 years of experience, Twinings teas incorporate fine, high-quality ingredients that have been trusted for centuries. Check out our range of loose leaf teas — each is carefully crafted to offer blends that taste great and do you good.