Making a perfect pot of tea is all in the details. Learn the proper way to make tea with my step-by-step instructions.

Pouring tea into a cup with a strainer.

A Proper Cup of Tea

As a certified Tea Sommelier, I’ve learned that when it comes to making a proper cup of tea, it’s all in the details.

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All you need to do to make a cup of tea is hot water and tea. But if you want to make a proper cup of tea, there are a couple of extra steps you should take. It’ll elevate your tea experience and make your tea taste better!

What You’ll Need

  • Loose teaWhen it’s just tea and water, I always choose loose tea over tea sachets or tea bags. (See why.)
  • Filtered waterBetter water makes better tea.
  • Teapot with infuserUse a teapot with a large infuser. It makes it easier for the tea leaves to unfurl and steep.
  • Electric kettle with temperature settingA must for all tea drinkers. Not all tea should be brewed in boiling hot water and with this kettle, you can change the water temperature.

Steps to Make Tea

6 photos showing steps to make tea.

Here’s a quick overview of the steps to make tea properly. For full instructions to make black tea, scroll down to see the recipe.

  1. Boil water.Different types of tea require different water temperature to brew. Check the tea packaging to see the recommended water temperature.
  2. Warm up teapot.This step is a detail that takes your tea to the next level and almost no one does it. But they should. Take some of the boiled water and fill half the teapot and give it a few swirls then throw out the water. We’re warming the teapot so that when the hot water for tea goes in, the water temperature won’t drop too much.
  3. Put tea into teapot and add hot water.
  4. Cover teapot and steep tea.Set the timer on your phone to steep it to the correct amount of time. The steep time is different for each kind of tea so check the tea package to see what is recommended. Usually it’s no more than 5 minutes.
  5. Strain tea solids and pour hot tea into tea cups.

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If you want to have another cup, pour more hot water into the teapot (using the same tea leaves) and set the timer again. For the second steep, add 1-2 more minutes.

Tea Sommelier’s Tip: Don’t leave tea leaves sitting in water after the steep time since it makes the tea really bitter. To avoid this, use a tea infuser inside a teapot so that the tea leaves are separated from the water after the first pour or make just enough tea and pour out every last drop so there isn’t any water sitting in the teapot.

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Notes & Tips

  • Use Filtered waterClean, filtered water won’t add any other taste to your tea.
  • Set the correct water temperatureWater temperature is a little tricky. Some tea require just boiled water while other teas are a little more sensitive to hot water (especially green tea) so you’ll need to make sure the water temperature is correct. An electric kettle with temperature setting is key to making a proper cup.
  • Steep for the correct amount of timeOversteeping tea leads to a bitter cup. This is the time to use the timer on your smartphone. Follow the steep time recommendations on the tea package, but roughly it is: black tea for 4-5 minutes, green and oolong for 3 minutes, and white tea for 4 minutes. The only tea that should steep for longer than 5 minutes is herbal tea.
  • Use loose teaTea in tea bags are the leftover broken bits, or “tea dust,” collected after tea has been processed. That doesn’t sound too appealing does it? Good quality tea is a rolled whole tea leaf. As the tea steeps, it will unfurl in the water and you should be able to see the entire leaf.
  • Warm the teapotAn important step to making sure the tea brews properly in hot water.

Questions You May Have

A cup and saucer with tea.

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