How to Steep Tea: Tea Bags & Loose Leaf

mullien tea
  • Green Tea:
    • Tea Bags: Slow Simmer (160 to 180 ° Fahrenheit) for 1-3 minutes.
    • Loose Leaf: 1 tsp per 6oz-8oz. Slow Simmer (160 to 180 ° Fahrenheit) for 2-4 minutes.
  • Black Tea:
    • Tea Bag: Full Boil (207-212 ° Fahrenheit) for 3-5 minutes.
    • Loose Leaf: 1 tsp per 6oz-8oz. Full Boil (207-212° Fahrenheit) for 3-5 minutes.
  • White Tea:
    • Tea Bags: Slow Simmer (160 to169 °Fahrenheit) for 1-2 minutes.
    • Loose Leaf: 1 tsp per 6oz-8oz. Slow Simmer (160 to169 °Fahrenheit) for 2-3 minutes.
  • Oolong Tea:
    • Tea Bags: Gentle Boil (190 to 194 ° Fahrenheit) for 2-3 minutes for tea bags
    • Loose Leaf: 1 tsp per 6oz-8oz. Gentle Boil (190 to 194 ° Fahrenheit) for 2-3 minutes.
  • Rooibos Tea:
    • Tea Bags: Full Boil (207-212 ° Fahrenheit) for 3-5 minutes for tea bags and
    • Loose Leaf: 1 tsp per 6oz-8oz. Full Boil( 207-212 ° Fahrenheit) for 3-5 minutes.
  • Herbal Tea:
    • Tea Bag: Full Boil (207-212 ° Fahrenheit) 5-7 minutes.
    • Loose Leaf: 1 tsp per 6oz-8oz. Full Boil( 207-212 ° Fahrenheit) for 5-7 minutes.

Tea is the second most consumed beverage on the globe, just below water. It’s a worldwide beverage consumed for its health benefits and calming energy. But did you know there’s a way to maximize the number of health benefits? If you’ve been wondering how to steep tea and level up your tea game, keep on reading.

Traditional Tea and Herbal Tea

Tea lovers prefer this beverage for the promises of a variety of health benefits. However, improper steeping or low water quality can really decrease the number of health benefits tea has to offer.

Traditional tea, green, black, oolong, and white, are from the tea plant called Camellia sinensis. The difference happens when the leaves undergo oxidation. This results in varying flavor, aroma, and even caffeine levels.

What about herbal tea?

Herbal tea is not considered a true tea since they’re made from roots, leaves, stems, and flowers of various plants. These are teas like chamomile, hibiscus, and ginger. The majority of herbal teas don’t contain caffeine making them a preferred choice when you want to wind down.

Water Quality Matters

For a drink that’s 99% water, the quality of this main ingredient matters, and there are a few reasons why.

In the U.S. alone, tap water is full of, “contaminants linked to cancer, brain damage, and other serious health harms” according to the Environmental Working Group. Using contaminated water will bring more harm than good to you and your tea.

It is highly recommended to use fresh and filtered water for health benefits and to achieve the best flavor and aroma.

Now that we’ve discussed the kind of water to use, let’s move on to steeping.


How to Steep Tea

For years researchers have been studying the art of tea and steeping times. They took the question “how to steep tea?” under a closer look.

Also, in a study from J Food Sci Technol, researchers found oolong tea to respond the best to a cold steeping method. Other teas like black and green tea, did not benefit from a cold steep.

To bring out the most antioxidants for oolong tea, cold steep the tea for 12 hours.

Other Factors Affecting Your Tea

If you are truly seeking to optimize your tea drinking experience, there are a few other factors to consider. Keep in mind that your first priority should be steeping time and water quality.


How and where you store tea can affect the overall flavor and aroma. This will leave you with a less than sub-par cuppa.

First, store your tea in an airtight container. If your tea is packaged in a cardboard box, transfer it into a mason jar or another container. Also, store your tea away from direct sunlight to avoid further oxidation.

Lastly, check the expiration date on the tea box-but most teas begin to lose their taste and aroma after six months.

Try Loose Leaf Instead of Tea Bags

True tea connoisseurs prefer loose leaf tea over tea bags for taste, health benefits, and environmental reasons.

The best amount of loose leaf tea to use depends on whether you’re using fresh or dried tea leaves. For fresh tea leaves, use 1 tbsp to every 6 to 8 oz of water. For dried tea leaves, use 1 tsp to every 6 to 8 oz of water.

Most other tea companies use tea bags too small for the tea leaves. Plus, most contain plastic!

Researchers found microplastics like polyester and nylon particles, in the very tea we drink. Since you’re unknowingly placing plastic tea bags into boiling water, the plastic particles release into your drink.

Tea bags compress their leaves making them unable to fully expand. Without the room for expansion, you miss out on the tea’s full flavor and aroma. But there are some tea bags made from cotton and offer plenty of room.


Enhancing your tea drinking experience begins with fresh filtered water and proper steeping. The tea’s overall flavor, aroma, and amount of health benefits can vary without these steps.