Steeping is a crucial part of tea making and doing it properly will ensure a great tasting result.
It’s important to know what is meant by ‘steeping tea’ - to understand the process and see why there are so many different factors to consider when making the perfect cup.
Spoiler alert – steeping is made super easy using a BRU Maker!
Alchemy at work
When water is first added to tea leaves, the leaves absorb some of the liquid which sets the steeping process in motion. The water then absorbs the various compounds in the leaves, creating the brew. This continues due to a mechanism known as diffusion. Essentially the compounds in the tea move from an area of higher concentration (the leaves) to an area of lower concentration (water). The movement will carry on until equilibrium is released or when the leaves and water are separated.
Timing is everything
Waiting the right amount of time is key to achieving maximum flavor.
Although it may be very tempting to rush through the steeping process, if you let the tea brew for long enough you allow it to release it’s delicious flavors properly. It also means that you are able to get the greatest health benefits - like antioxidants, amino acids and caffeine.
This is because the nutrients and flavors in tea aren’t released into the water right away - they are secreted at different rates. You do need to get the balance right though - steeping tea for longer will result in a more nutritious brew, but it could also be too bitter to enjoy. An exception is herbal tea, you can generally steep it for longer without it getting as bitter as green teas will get for example.
To achieve your perfect brew you need to care about the steeping time for the variety of tea that you’re brewing. It’s easy to use our specific timing recommendations for each of our BRU teas, but generally speaking you can follow the guide below:
Green Tea: 1 – 3 Minutes
White Tea: 1 – 3 Minutes
Black Tea: 3 – 5 Minutes
Oolong Tea: 2 – 3 Minutes
Herbal Tea: 4 – 5 Minutes
Yellow Tea: 1 – 2 minutes
Pu-erh Tea: 2 – 5 minutes
Rooibos: 5 – 6 minutes
Some like it hot
There is no one ideal temperature for tea. Some teas just like it hotter than others. Black and herbal teas seem to require the most heat to reach their peak flavor, however, fragrant and delicate white teas benefit from a cooler brew.
Taking care to get the water temperature right for each different type of tea is another key factor to making a great tasting cup.
BRU provides you with specific temperature recommendations for each of our teas but you can use the more general temperature guide below, in conjunction with the above time timing chart, as a great way to ensure you achieve your perfect steep:
Green Tea: 70 – 85 °
White Tea: 70 – 80 °
Black Tea: 85 – 100 °
Oolong Tea: 70 – 80 °
Herbal Tea: 85 – 100 °
Yellow Tea: 70 – 85 °
Pu-erh Tea: 85 – 100 °
Rooibos: 90 – 100 °
And the best part is that with your BRU Maker the steeping process is made super easy and efficient – think about it once, save your preferred water temperature and timing settings, then make your perfect cup of tea again and again!