Making the switch from easy, convenient, portable tea bags to flavorful, nuanced loose leaf tea can be daunting, even if you are aware of the quality disparity between most teabags and whole-leaf tea. Furthermore, one of the most common questions that tea enthusiasts seem to have, is how much loose tea they should you use when preparing a cup. It’s a question that everyone finds themselves facing at some point as they stand there by the kettle, bag of tea in one hand, infuser in the other. If you’re making a whole tea pot for several people, that adds an extra potential layer of confusion, too. Therefore, this blog will be dedicated to helping you clarify this issue.
Making a cup of tea can be considered as a scientific process, since too much tea in your infuser can mean the tea is crowded and unable to diffuse into the water properly, resulting in a weak brew. On the other hand, too many leaves in the teapot can result in a strong and bitter tea.
So, how much loose tea do you use? The age old rule has been, “one teaspoon for each cup and one for the pot.” This answer seems pretty straightforward, if you have just one small cup you would only need one teaspoon of tea in the infuser. If you are making a pot of tea for a group of five people you would need six teaspoons into your tea pot. Although, generally this answer is great and makes a pretty good cup of tea, there are numerous other factors that you need to take into consideration when making a cuppa that can change this rule.
The first item of consideration is the type of tea that you are using. The type of tea you’re using might change the amount of loose leaf tea per cup you need to use. Teas with different infusions, such as Basilur’s Citrus tea are generally lighter in flavor and can be bulkier in volume when compared to pure black loose tea such as Basilur’s Leaf of Ceylon range. This means that to get the same depth of flavor as you would from one teaspoon of black tea, you will need to add more than one teaspoon for other types of tea. If the tea leaves are very fine, you should be cautious of adding more than a teaspoon of tea as you may find it doesn’t infuse very well and can become gritty at the bottom of your cup. Furthermore, there is a difference in brewing instructions when it comes to black and green tea. With black tea, it is recommended to brew your tea with water that is at a 100 degrees Celsius, just once. However, with green tea, we recommend brewing the tea at 80 degrees Celsius for optimum results, and you can use the same tea leaves for up to 3 brews!
Secondly, the volume or amount of water your cup holds will change how much tea you will need in your infuser. The traditional answer, which uses teaspoons, was created back in a time when most people drank tea from a tea cup. However most of us drink a mug of tea, and therefore you will need to use a bit more than a teaspoon of tea to ensure your flavor isn’t too watered down. For a 12-ounce cup with a black tea, you would need around 1 to 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of tea as a general rule. For herbal and green teas, use 1-2 teaspoons depending on your depth of flavor preference.
Thirdly, the amount of loose tea you use will depend on whether you are making hot or iced tea. If you’re making iced tea, you will usually need to double the amount of tea you place in your water, as tea doesn’t usually infuse as well into cold water. The tea you select will also determine the depth of flavor your iced tea has. Stronger teas like Basilur’s Leaf of Ceylon range, and White Moon teas tend to give the best flavor.
There it is, a mini guide to help you brew the finest Ceylon loose leaf tea. However, always keep in mind that drinking tea is a very personal process, and taste profiles change from person to person, so feel free to experiment with different volumes of leaf tea and different combinations till you find the sweet spot!