Your Guide to the Perfect Cuppa

Because Tea Really Should Come with An Instruction Manual

More often than not, we find that incorrect preparation is at the heart of most bitter or seemingly undrinkable teas. Factors such as temperature and steep time can have a large impact on the flavor and bitterness of your tea. At the London Tea Merchant we include careful notes and instructions with each tea so that every tea drinker, regardless of their experience, can achieve an excellent cuppa.

Tea 101

This section is coming soon with our updated website! For now, here are answers to some common questions:

How do I make loose leaf tea?

While it is more involved than using tea bags, you can get a better flavor. Plus there's just something relaxing about the process. Think of it like the difference between making coffee using a Keurig versus a Chemex.

Using an infuser is the easiest way to make tea, but if you don't have an infuser there are several other ways to go about it. The simplest way (though it uses more dishes) is to steep the tea in one mug, then pour that mug into another mug using a sieve/colander to catch the tea leaves. You can also forgo the infuser and use your teeth to strain the leaves – just like granddad used to do!

How much loose leaf tea do I use?

Start with 1 tsp of tea, then add 1 tsp per 8oz (cup) of water, rounding to the nearest half teaspoon if needed. For example, if you have a 12oz mug then you'll want to use 2.5 tsp of tea.

What temperature water do I use?

It depends on the tea. Generally speaking, black and herbal teas use boiling water, oolong and pu'er teas use 195ºF water, white tea uses 185ºF water, and green tea uses 170ºF.

If you don't have a temperature controlled kettle (and most people don't), then we recommend boiling water and adding cool water a little bit at a time, stirring it then using a cooking thermometer to take the temperature.

How long do I steep tea for?

That, too, depends on the tea. A good rule of thumb is that black and white teas are steeped for 4 minutes, oolong and pu'er teas for 3 minutes, green teas for 2 minutes, and herbal teas for 5 minutes.

How long does loose tea stay good for?

As long as you keep it in a sealed container and store it in a cool, dry, and dark place (like your cupboard), then tea can stay good for at least 18 months. We've had tea that's almost 3 years old and it still tastes good!

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