How to Make Tea
Globally, people drink around 2 billion cups of tea every morning. Tea is one of the most popular drinks on the planet, but what makes the perfect cup of tea? In this guide, we’ll provide detailed information about how to make tea, exploring different methods and offering handy tips to help you hone your skills.
Tea is one of the oldest and most popular drinks in the world. People have been drinking tea for centuries and it is estimated that we produce 3 billion tons of tea for human consumption every year. There is a lot of debate and discussion about how to make tea and everyone will have their own take on the perfect formula based on their preferences, the tools they use, the tea they select and the methods they have learned growing up. In this informative guide, we’ll take a closer look at how to make tea using tea bags, how to enjoy a cup of tea without tea bags and even how to make your own tea bags.
How to make tea with a tea bag
Making tea with a tea bag is one of the most common ways to make tea. Traditionally, people used loose leaf tea to make pots of tea, but over the course of time, tea bags were invented for greater convenience. History tells us that the tea bag as we know it was invented by accident. In 1908, Thomas Sullivan, a tea merchant based in New York, started sending out samples of his tea in small fabric bags. The bags were intended to provide customers with a taste of the tea, but unwittingly, Mr Sullivan became the pioneer of a new way of making tea. Rather than emptying the contents of the bag, as Sullivan had expected, customers placed the bag inside the hot water, paving the way for tea bags.
Today, there is a dazzling array of tea bags available and making a cup or a pot of tea has never been easier. When making tea with tea bags, there is a very simple step by step process to follow.
Choose your tea bag
The first job to cross off the list is choosing your tea bag. Once you have decided which type of tea you’d like, you can move on to step 2.
Choose your vessel
Your tea bag is ready and waiting and it’s time to select your tea-making vessel. If you’re making a pot of tea, get your cups ready. If you’re making tea for yourself, choose a mug or cup. Always make sure that your cups are clean before adding your tea bag.
Place the tea bag in your pot or cup
Once you’ve decided which tea bag and cup or pot you’d like to use, place the tea bag inside. If you’re brewing a pot of tea, rather than a cup, you’ll need to add more than one tea bag.
Fill the kettle
The next step is to fill the kettle. Run the water for a few seconds before you start filling the container and ensure the water is cold. Running the water before adding it to your kettle allows it to aerate, which is beneficial for flavor.
Boil the kettle
Boil your kettle and then leave it to rest for around 2 minutes. Experts recommend using water that has rested rather than freshly-boiled water to prevent scalding. Tea is fragile and fragrant and using boiling water can take away some of the more subtle, delicate flavors. Once your kettle has sat for 2-3 minutes, pour your water into the pot, mug or cup and leave to infuse. When boiling water to make tea, always try to use fresh water, rather than reboiling water that is left in your kettle.
Let your tea brew
If you’re a tea enthusiast, this may be the most important stage for you. Everyone has different preferences and some people like their tea stronger and bolder than others. Leave the tea for the recommended brewing time unless you like your tea weaker, in which case, remove the tea bag slightly earlier. Using different types of tea will also impact brewing time. Some varieties need longer to release their flavor.
Remove the tea bag
There’s a lot of talk among tea drinkers about whether or not you should take your tea bag out. Most people will remove their tea bag once the tea has brewed. Guides usually recommend taking the tea bag out after steeping, but this is a matter of personal preference. If you prefer to leave the tea bag in, you don’t have to make changes if you’re happy with the end product.
Customize your cup
To finish before serving, add milk, sugar, sweetener or honey. At this point, you can customize your cup of tea however you wish. Some people like their tea black, others love a splash of milk. Some prefer milky tea, others like to add a teaspoon of sugar or a dash of honey. Make your decisions based on your preferences and what you fancy at the time.
This is the best part! Relax, sit back, sip and enjoy!
Can you leave tea bags in tea?
When it comes to discussing how to make tea, there are many different ideas and recommendations. Many of us grow up drinking tea and we inherit techniques and preferences based on what our parents do or what we’ve seen our grandparents doing. Traveling and visiting tea rooms or cafes can also influence our opinions and experimenting can prompt us to explore different methods and tea-making practices.
There is no definitive answer to many questions related to making tea because often, people make decisions based on their individual tastes. Most guides will recommend taking tea bags out of a mug or cup once the tea has finished brewing, but some people might prefer to leave the bag in. Purists may say that leaving the tea bag in could make the tea too powerful and bitter, but some consumers might prefer this taste.
If you enjoy drinking tea and you’re unsure whether or not to remove the tea bag after steeping your tea, try both options and see which you prefer. It’s more common to take tea bags out, usually after around 2-5 minutes of brewing.
How many tea bags should you put in your tea?
This is another interesting question and one that will spark debate among tea merchants, vendors and aficionados. Tea bags are usually designed for individual use and a single tea bag will provide the flavor hit required for one cup of tea. If you love strong tea, and you don’t want your tea to be bitter, you may prefer to use two tea bags per mug to intensify the flavor instead of leaving the tea bag in the cup.
If you are making a pot of tea for friends or family, it’s a good idea to work on the basis of one tea bag per person. If you don’t like your tea too strong, and you prefer a weaker cup, you can use fewer tea bags. If, on the other hand, you prefer stronger tea, you can add an extra bag for good measure. The type of tea you use will also impact how many tea bags you use. Some varieties are punchier and more powerful than others.
How to make tea without a tea bag
Most of us reach for a tea bag, a cup and the kettle when we fancy a cup of tea in the morning or a refreshing, soothing hot drink at the end of a busy day. Tea bags make brewing quick and easy, but using tea bags is not the only way to make tea. If you get to the cupboard to find that your tea bag supplies have run dry, there are alternatives.
Long before we started using tea bags, we utilized loose leaf tea to quench our thirst. Loose leaf tea usually comes in large bags or containers and it is famed for its pure, intense flavor. There are many advantages to using loose leaf tea. Although it might be slightly messier and more time-consuming than dipping tea bags in your pot, you can generate a lot of tea from a small serving, you can reduce waste by swapping tea bags for loose tea and you can explore a whole host of different types and flavors of tea.
If you’re trying loose tea for the first time, or you’re unsure how to make a cup or a pot of tea without a tea bag, here are some simple instructions to follow:
Choose your tea
There is a vast selection of loose leaf teas available. Pick your favorite or try something different if you fancy a change.
Measure out your tea
Once you’ve decided which type of tea to use, measure out your tea leaves, using the instructions on the packaging. Typically, it’s best to add one teaspoon of tea (approximately 2g) per person.
Fill the kettle and boil
Run the water, fill the kettle and boil. Leave for 2-3 minutes and then pour the hot water into the pot.
Leave to infuse
It takes longer for loose tea to infuse than tea bags, so take your time at this point. Let the tea brew and release flavor before pouring out the golden nectar into your cups. Ideally, you should leave the tea for at least 3-5 minutes. If you’ve chosen a weaker blend, you may need to wait a little longer.
If you drink tea with milk, add a splash or a healthy glug to your cup, depending on your personal preferences. You could also add sugar, sweetener or a teaspoon of honey.
One of the best things about using a pot to make loose leaf tea is the option to refill and enjoy several servings. If you remove the water after the first brew and refill, you can get 2-3 cups per person from a pot for two.
What to use to make tea when you don’t have tea bags
Many of us are used to putting tea bags in a cup and rustling up a perfect blend in a matter of minutes, but making tea doesn’t always involve using tea bags. Tea bags are a relatively new development in the world of making tea and long before they came about, people enjoyed sipping hot tea without the option to buy ready-packed tea bags. The most popular alternative to tea bags is loose tea, also known as loose leaf tea.
Loose leaf tea is dried tea, which is harvested from large tea leaves. Loose leaf tea is usually high-quality and it is known for its flavor and fragrance. Most people store loose leaf in a tea canister or sealed containers to preserve freshness. Loose tea offers an alternative to tea bags. Tea bags are made from paper or plastic-based materials and filled with very fine dustings of tea. Loose leaf tea is more coarse and the leaves are much bigger.
If you’re using loose leaf tea, rather than tea bags, you’ll need:
- A pot
- A kettle or access to a stove
- A strainer
To make your cup of tea:
- Place the tea inside a clean pot, measuring out a suitable serving size per person. Most products will provide instructions. As a general guide, you can add 1 teaspoon of tea per person.
- Boil the kettle using fresh, cold water.
- Leave the water to cool slightly for around 2 minutes before adding the water to the pot
- Let your tea infuse. Loose leaves need space and time to release their flavor so resist the temptation to pour too soon. For black tea, allow 3-6 minutes depending on how strong you like your tea.
- Use a strainer to pour the perfect cup without adding the tea leaves to your mug.
- Drain excess water away and reboil the kettle if you fancy another cup.
What can I use to make a tea bag?
Making your own tea bags can provide a solution if you’ve run out and you prefer to use tea bags, rather than loose tea, but it’s also a means of enjoying the best of both worlds. Tea bags are easy to use and they offer a simple, swift way to make a cup of tea. Loose leaf tea is usually better quality. By making your own tea bags, you can enjoy the benefits of loose leaf tea and tea bags. Making up tea bags will take longer than buying them, but it will save you money and you can also create a bulk batch, which will keep you going for several days or weeks.
If you’d like to make your own tea bags, you can choose from two methods. The first is to buy ready-made bags and then fill them yourself. The second involves making and filling the DIY tea bags.
1. Using ready-made tea bags: it is possible to buy ready-made tea bags in large quantities online. Once you have your bags ready, you can add your loose leaf tea. It’s beneficial to choose bigger bags so that you can use larger, high-quality tea leaves and ensure they have enough space to move and infuse fully. When filling your tea bags, allow 1 teaspoon of tea per cup. If you prefer to use mugs, rather than cups, allow 2 teaspoons per bag.
2. Making your own tea bags: if you’re keen to go all-out and make your own tea bags, you can utilize coffee filter bags for a simple DIY option. Before you start, make sure you have all the equipment you need. In addition to coffee filters and tea, you will need some string, a stapler, scissors and paper.
To make your tea bags, take the coffee filter in your hands and flatten it out. Use the scissors to cut a small piece on each side to create a rectangular shape. Measure 1 teaspoon of loose leaf tea per cup and place the tea in the center of the filter. Fold the filter lengthwise, ensuring the tea is enveloped. The long sides of the rectangle should be folded back towards the center. Once you have done this, make small folds to close the bag. There should be a total of three folds.
Once folding is complete, turn the bag so that the tea is positioned in the center and the folded seam runs down the middle. Fold the filter in half and then cut the top to form a traditional tea bag shape. Fold the two edges at the top of the bag to form a point, add a short length of string and staple it to the top of the filter. This will seal the bag as well as providing a string to remove it easily after brewing.
The final step is to make a tab. Take a small 2-inch piece of paper and fold it in half. Place the end of the string inside the paper and then staple it to make your tea bag tab.
How to make tea without a kettle
When we want a cup of tea, we usually grab a cup, fill up the kettle, turn it on and wait a few minutes for the water to boil. This is a quick, hassle-free way to make a cup of tea, but what happens if you don’t have a kettle or your kettle has decided to throw in the towel? The good news is that you don’t have to sacrifice your morning brew if your kettle isn’t playing ball or you’re staying somewhere that doesn’t have a kettle. There are other ways to make a cup of tea.
Using your stove to make tea
One of the simplest and most accessible ways to make a cup of tea without a kettle is boiling water on a stove. Most people who don’t have a kettle will have access to a stove. If you have a stove, you can run the water, add it to a pan and then place the pan on the hob. As the temperature increases, the water will start to boil. Once the water is boiling, remove the pan from the stove and allow it to cool slightly. After 2-3 minutes, pour the water from the pan into your teapot or cup carefully. Use a small pan to reduce the risk of spillages. Allow your tea to infuse and then remove the bag and add milk.
Making tea in the microwave
If you don’t have time to wait for the stove to heat up and boil a pan of water, the microwave is a great alternative. If you’re in a rush to get out of the door, but you’re dying for a cup of tea, you can heat the water in the microwave. Use a suitable vessel and take care not to burn yourself when you take the cup or mug out of the microwave. Fill a cup, set the timer and then add your tea bag once you have removed the cup. Once you have poured the water, leave the tea to brew for a few minutes and then add milk if you take milk with your tea or drink it black.
Using a coffee maker
If you’re a fan of both tea and coffee or you happen to live with a coffee drinker, you can use a coffee maker to make a cup of tea. If you don’t have a kettle or a microwave, or you don’t have the time to boil a pan of water, using a coffee maker offers a quick and simple means to quench your thirst. If you do choose this method, leave the filter empty, rather than adding ground coffee, and fill the water container. Switch the machine on. This will heat the water, providing you with the liquid you need to make your tea. Pour the water onto your tea bag or into a pot, wait for the tea to brew and then enjoy.
Making the perfect cup of tea for you
One of the most important rules to remember when making tea is to adapt the process to cater to your preferences and requirements. Everyone has different ideas about what constitutes the perfect cup of tea. There are several factors to consider when exploring how to make tea, including:
- The type of tea: there are myriad types of tea available. From black tea to herbal teas and green tea, it’s essential to understand that brewing guidelines vary. When you buy tea, take a moment to read the instructions so that you know how to prepare your tea and how long to leave the tea bag or loose leaves to infuse. Some types of tea are much stronger than others and you might find that you use trial and error to find the perfect brewing time.
- Adding milk: there are two main issues to discuss when it comes to adding milk to tea. The first is whether or not to add milk to tea. The second is when to add your milk. The question of adding milk is purely a matter of personal preference. Some people like to drink their tea black, some enjoy a splash of milk and others love milky tea. The second point is all about when to add milk to tea. There is a lot of discussion about whether it’s right to pour milk into the cup before or after the water. Most people put the milk in at the end, but if you prefer to add the milk first, there’s nothing wrong with making your tea in this way.
- Adding sugar: some people have their tea black, some drink black tea with sugar, some have white tea with no sugar and others add milk and sugar. There is no right or wrong formula and you can customize your tea as you wish. If you have a sweet tooth, you can add sugar, sweetener or even a drop of honey to your tea. It’s uncommon to add sugar to herbal and green tea.
- The strength of your tea: if you’re a tea enthusiast, or you use social media on a regular basis, you may have come across color charts related to the perfect cup of tea. Tea can range from off-white to dark brown depending on the strength of the brew and the amount of milk you add. When making tea, you should decide how long to leave the tea bag in and how much milk to add based on how you like to drink your tea. Experts may recommend strong tea with a dash of milk, but if you prefer weaker tea with lots of milk, this doesn’t mean that you’re making your tea wrong.
How to make tea: good practice guidelines
Whether you can’t survive the morning without a cup of tea or you’re relatively new to the world of tea drinking, there are some very simple and effective tips to get the most out of every cup. Here are some suggestions to help you make delicious cups of tea every time:
- Experiment with different types of tea: there is a huge range of teas available and it’s wonderful to be able to experiment and be open-minded. If you tend to stick to the same varieties or you buy the same tea bags every time you go to the store, why not explore other options? There is a broad spectrum of tastes and flavors ripe for exploration. From black and green tea to herbal and fruit teas, calming chamomile herbal tea and classics like Earl Grey and Darjeeling, there’s something for every tea lover.
- Use the instructions as a guide: usually, when you buy tea bags or loose leaf teas, there will be instructions on the box or canister to help you prepare your tea. This includes advice about brewing time and quantities per person. You don’t have to follow the guidelines to the letter, but they can be useful, especially if you’re trying a new brand or type of tea.
- Use fresh water and clean pots and cups: when you’re making tea, always aim to use clean pots and cups and fresh, cold water. This will help to maximize flavor and purity.
- Give your tea time to flourish: many of us lead hectic lives and we rush around in the mornings trying to cross off an impossibly long to-do list before work or the school run. If you’re making a cup of tea, try to allow time for your tea to infuse and the magic to happen.
- Buy the best quality tea you can afford: not all tea products are created equal. For the best cups of tea, look for high-quality products.
Perfect cups of tea with Red Rose Tea
Red Rose Tea offers an array of products packed with the finest ingredients. For over 100 years, the Red Rose Tea team has trawled the world, looking for the tastiest tea leaves on the planet. Using ingredients from Africa, India and Sri Lanka, Red Rose Tea has something for everyone. From rich, decadent black teas to fresh, fragrant fruit teas, delicious herbal teas and comforting mellow blends, there’s a tea for every occasion. With a selection of options, including convenient tea bags and single-cup servings, decaf black tea and flavor-packed bundles, it’s possible to explore new and exciting flavors as well as enjoying traditional, treasured brews. You can find out more about our range here.
There is a huge amount of debate about how to make tea. Whether you’re using tea bags or loose leaf tea, it’s beneficial to follow instructions to buy high-quality tea and let your tea brew and steep to release maximum flavor, but it’s also crucial to understand the importance of personal preferences. There are lots of ways to make tea, there are myriad types of tea available and people like to customize their cups of tea in different ways. Take the tips in this guide on board and modify and adapt the rules and recommendations to create pots or cups of tea that are perfect for you.
Louise Cote said:
I liked your section on “How to make tea without a kettle”. When my kitchen was redone, I had an “insta-hot” installed. Hot, 180° water is available all the time at my house, perfect for my Red Rose tea.