It can be difficult to figure out just how much loose leaf tea you need in your cup. There are many factors to consider, from cup size to water amount. You also want to make sure you are accurate so your tea isn’t too strong or too weak. It can get frustrating to have to remake tea or go through with a bitter cup because you didn’t get the ratio correct on the first try.
If you ask a tea lover how much loose leaf tea to use, the general consensus will be one teaspoon for each cup. While this can be easier to remember, it isn’t always the best route to take when brewing tea. Like most things, one size doesn’t fit all and there are many things to think about when it comes to having the perfectly proportioned loose tea to water ratio.
Check out the factors to be aware of below.
The general sizes of mugs and teacups are 8 oz, 12 oz, 16 oz, and 20 oz. The general rule is, for every 8 ounces of water, to use about 2-3 grams (1-2 teaspoons) of loose leaf tea.
8 oz cup, 1-2 tsp
12 oz cup, 2-3 tsp
16 oz cup, 3-4 tsp
20 oz cup, 4-5 tsp
Types of Tea
The type of tea will also factor into how many teaspoons to ounces you will use. Herbal teas are usually lighter in flavor and bigger in volume, while black teas are stronger in flavor and tend to be more fine.
In cases of herbal tea, it is recommended to add one additional teaspoon to bring out the flavors. If you want a stronger herbal tea, an extra teaspoon on top of that is advised.
For black teas, it is recommended that you follow the ounces-to-teaspoons ratio as-is, without adding an extra teaspoon. If you like your black tea bitter, then you can add that extra scoop. If you like it weaker, then take away one teaspoon.
Hot or Iced Tea?
Yes, the final temperature of your tea matters in how much loose leaf tea you use. Iced tea generally requires you to double the amount of loose leaf tea since it will take longer for the leaves to infuse in cold water. Hot water will follow the rules according to cup size due to tea easily infusing in warm water.
Brew Time and Temp
All different types of teas have a brewing time and temperature; it is important not to over- or under-steep it. The more delicate the leaves you have, such as white and green teas, the more easily damaged they can get from the higher temperatures. This is what turns them bitter and why brewing times and temperatures are so important.
The following explains brew temperature and times for specific teas.
Black Tea: 212 Degrees Fahrenheit, 3-5 minutes
White Tea: 175 Degrees Fahrenheit, 1-2 minutes
Green Tea: 170 Degrees Fahrenheit, 1-2 minutes
Oolong Tea: 180 Degrees Fahrenheit, 3-4 minutes
It can be hard at first to have a proportioned loose tea to water ratio, but with a little experimentation – and practice – anyone can master it. It may take a few tries, but everyone gets there eventually. Every tea is different and requires its own set of directions, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t get it right on the first try.