Today we’ll be talking about a much-discussed topic in tea drinking: How much loose tea per cup? It’s a question that everyone finds themself 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.
It seems making a cup of tea has a real art to it. 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 and going through your leaves a lot faster. Too many leaves in the teapot can result in a strong and bitter tea that no one feels like sipping on. Added to that, different teas may naturally be stronger. Hopefully, today’s post will give you some clarification!
The Traditional Answer
“One teaspoon for each cup and one for the pot.” This answer seems pretty straightforward. If I have just one small cup I would only need one teaspoon of tea in my infuser. If I’m making a pot of tea for a group of three people I would need four teaspoons into my tea pot. Seems simple enough.
Generally, this answer is a great one. It’s easy to remember and generally makes a pretty good cup of tea. However, there might be different factors to take into consideration when making your cuppa that change this rule slightly.
What Type of Tea are You Using?
The type of tea you’re using might change the amount of loose leaf tea per cup you need to use. Herbal teas as opposed to black teas are generally lighter in flavor and can be bulkier in volume. 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 of herbal tea. Perhaps another whole teaspoon or half teaspoon depending on how strong you like your 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.
What Size Is Your Cup?
The volume or amount of water your cup holds will change how much tea you will need in your infuser. I believe the traditional answer, which uses teaspoons, was created in a time when most people drank tea from a tea cup. If you’re someone (like me) who prefers a mug of tea, 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 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. Always check what the suggested serving is on the packet, then you can vary from there.
Are You 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 black, oolong, or some green teas tend to give the best flavor. Be wary of herbal teas as these can have mixed results and be tricky to get right.
When In Doubt...
If you’re in doubt of how much tea you should use in your cup, you can always refer to the packet. Plum Deluxe places instructions for optimal brewing on the label of each of our tea brews to take the guesswork out of making your favorite cup of tea.