1. Clean your tea utensils and mug
Always use clean mugs and infusers. Sometimes the shape or material makes it difficult to clean the holes properly. Choose infusers that can be washed using a dishwasher. Stainless steel infusers can sometimes have a residue from previous uses. Some glass infusers have only tiny slits that may be difficult to clean as well.
2. Choose the right water
The choice of water will always impact the flavor of your tea. Avoid using distilled water or hard tap water. Distilled water may give a cup with a flat taste, and hard water can ruin delicate teas. Fresh spring and bottled spring water are the best choices.
3. Bring water to a boil
Always use freshly boiled water. Bring water to a boil in your kettle and avoid microwaving it. If you are using a regular kettle, let the water cool down to the desired temperature. If you are using a kettle with temperature options, set the right temperature for the tea type you are brewing. It’s always best to use water from either an electric or a stove-top kettle. Always pay attention to the water temperature. If it’s too hot, it will ruin your tea and make it taste bitter. If it’s too cold, tea leaves won’t steep properly and you will get a weak infusion.
4. Preheat your mug or a teapot
Always preheat your mug, but don’t preheat the infuser. Preheating the mug will help retain the temperature while steeping.
5. Put the tea leaves into your infuser
Tea ball, spoon or silicone infusers are usually big enough for one or two teaspoons of tea leaves. They are suitable for larger broken black tea leaves, many green teas, many herbal teas and fruity teas. Use them to steep a single cup of tea. Always close them carefully. Use larger infusers such as infusing baskets or mug infusers for ball-shaped tea leaves such as Ti Kwan Yin, white teas or long unbroken tea leaves that need space to expand. Also, use them if you need to make a whole teapot or a pitcher of tea and are using a larger amount of tea leaves. Never use wet spoon to scoop out the tea leaves from a container.
6. Place your infuser into a mug or a teapot
Place your tea infuser into an empty, preheated mug or a teapot. Take the time to smell the leaves. Tea leaves will always have a more intense scent in a preheated teapot or a mug. Add hot water. If you are using a basket infuser or a ball style infuser, cover them with a saucer.
7. Let it steep
Steeping time is very important when making a perfect cup of tea. Let the tea steep for 1-5 minutes, depending on the type. Steep green tea for 1-3 minutes, herbal teas for 3-5 minutes, black teas for 2-5 minutes and oolong teas for 1-5 minutes. If you don’t like your tea to be too strong, try removing the infuser after a minute or two and taste the tea. If it’s too weak, continue steeping for another minute or two.
8. Enjoy and re-steep
Once your tea is ready, take out the infuser and let it rest on a saucer. You can re-use many tea leaves at least one more time. To re-steep, follow the same steps. You don’t need to preheat your mug again and steep the leaves for a minute or two longer. Enjoy your tea while it’s still hot.