Learn the Difference Between Steeping and Brewing Tea

learn the difference between steeping and brewing tea
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Preparing tea is like a walk in the park. Boiling water and pouring the same over the teabag is certainly not a herculean task. However, if you intend to prepare a delicious and perfect cup of tea, you need to learn the art. 

You need to begin by heating the pure water to the boiling after which it should be poured over the selected tea. Now, you need to allow it to steep until the flavor reaches the delicious height. The procedure may vary, depending on whether you are planning to prepare white, black, green or herbal tea.

Both steeping and brewing contribute to being the indispensable part of the same process. Brewing refers to the process of preparing tea whereas steeping is known to be the process, involved in the same. In order to brew the cup of tea in a perfect manner, you need to steep loose tea bags or tea leaves in the fresh water which is heated in the right manner. 

Different kinds of teas are known to steep in the various times. As you gain an understanding of this, you will be able to make a major difference. In order to prepare the perfect delicious cup of coffee, it is a prerequisite to understanding the difference between brewing and steeping tea.

If you want to master the art of preparing a perfect cup of tea, it is a prerequisite to understand the difference between brewing and stepping tea.

Brewing the tea

As mentioned above, brewing tea refers to the procedure for preparing tea. For brewing the tea in a perfect manner, you require few things. The perfect brewing of tea is primarily dependent on top quality of water, fresh tea leaves, and the right steeping times. In order to brew a cup of tea, you require a tsp of lose leaf tea for every 6-8 ounces of hot water. 

However, the exceptions to the rule are oolong, yellow, white, and herbal teas which in general need 2 tsp of tea. You need to make use of filtered, spring, or fresh water and heat the same to the rolling boil. In case you select the delicate leaf tea, like the green or white tea, you should be pouring the tea prior to boiling in order to ensure that the leaves do not get over processed.

Related Article: Brewing Tea: 5 Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Steeping the tea

Steeping refers to the 2nd phase of brewing and steeping tea. It is known to all that stepping can make or break the preparation of the tea. Steeping starts as the heated water is poured on the infuser, tea bag, tea pot, or tea strainer. The ultimate objective is infusing the water in the tea. Over steeping may lead to bitterness.

Tea is prepared from various types of substances. However, each one has a unique chemical composition and they react to water in a different way. Owing to this, the temperature and time required for steeping the tea is going to differ. In case tea is steeped for a longer period of time, it may get overpowered or bitter. However, steeping for a shorter period of time may lead to the loose of few of the active ingredients or the flavor.

Water is regarded as the most common liquid for the steeping of the tea leaves. You can also steep the tea in milk. You however need to keep in mind that milk has a stronger taste. Hence, you will require brewing the strong cup for eliminating the flavor and viscosity of milk.

Steps for steeping the tea

It is possible to steep loose tea, oolong tea. Steeping the tea is really simple and you can do the same in the teapot, tea infuser, or in the mug along with the tea bag. Various kinds of tea should be steeped for unique amount of time.

The steeping tea for some varieties of tea is one to two minutes whereas for others, it is the time duration of ten to twenty minutes. On the other hand, steeping of other varieties of tea, may require longer duration of time. In case you intend to prepare the perfect cup of tea, it is essential to know the ideal time for the steeping of the leaves.

Green tea

For the steeping of green tea, you need to boil the water and let it cool for the time session of one to two minutes before the starting of the steeping procedure. You need to steep the green tea bags for the duration of one to three minutes whereas the time session of two to four minutes are ideal for the brewing of green loose leaf tea.

Loose Tea

Loose leaf tea is steeped for a longer duration of time, as compared to the concentrated tea bag. As the tea bags have the crushed leaves before hand, they will be releasing active ingredients more readily. In few of the varieties of tea, varieties of tea bag and loose leaf can be steeped for the same duration of time.

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea can be steeped in the boiling water. However, for both tea bag and loose leaf types, you should allow the steeping to continue for the time duration of five minutes.

White tea

This wide variety of tea needs to be steeped in the water, before the boiling. The tea bags of the white tea are known to brew in no time. It takes the time session of thirty to sixty seconds for the full bodied and tasty brew. On the other hand, the loose leaf varieties need almost two to three minutes for the complete steep.

Oolong tea

In case you are looking forward to brew the oolong tea, you should be using the boiling water on the leaves immediately. For the oolong tea bags, you require steeping the tea for the time duration of three to five minutes. On the other hand, for the steeping of loose leaf varieties for the ideal cup, you need to steep for the time duration of five to seven minutes.

Black tea

For the preparation of black tea, you should allow the water to boil and pour it on the tea leaves immediately. Whether you are using the loose leaves of the tea bag, it is essential to steep the tea for the time duration of three to five minutes. However, the time required for the steeping process, is dependent on how strong you want the tea to be.

Here are the temperatures for steeping the tea

  • 185 Degree F for white tea
  • 203 degree F for herbal teas
  • 203 degree F for oolong tea
  • 160 degree F for green tea
  • 203 degree for black tea

Steps to brew the tea

The way in which a tea is brewed makes the right difference in the taste. Brewed tea is essentially 99% of water. Hence, the water you begin with plays an indispensable role in enhancing the final taste of the brewed tea.

In case the water has any sort of impurities, there will be no difference in the taste of the tea, regardless of how strong it is. You need to keep in mind that you should begin the tea experience with clean and fresh water. Bottled spring or filtered water is considered to be the best option in this aspect. It is recommended to avoid mineral, distilled or tap water.

Related Article: How to Brew Large Amounts of Tea

Consider temperature, type and time

Prior to pouring the hot water over the tea, you should give a consideration to the kind of tea, you are going to brew. Various kinds of tea have unique brewing temperature as well as steeping time. If you gain success in steeping and brewing at the right temperature in the perfect steeping time, you will be able to get the best flavor from the tea. You need to consider the following three T’s in order to prepare the perfect cup of tea.


In order to brew the tea, the temperature should be in the range of 160-212 degrees, which is dependent on the kind of tea. In case your electric kettle does not allow you to control the temperature, you need to keep in mind that at the sea level, the simmering of water is accomplished at 190 degree. 

However, water boils at 212 degrees. So it is possible to guess the temperate of water by paying an attention to the bubbles. You need to keep in mind that the boiling temperature drops at a degree for each hundred feet rise in the attitude. Hence, you require adjusting from the sea level, you are located.


The type of tea you are going to brew should be taken into consideration for the preparation of the perfect tea. For instance, green tea leaves are more fresh and delicate, as compared to black tea leaves. Hence, it is possible to steep them at a reduced temperature.


In case you steep the tea for a lesser duration of time, the tea is going to be watery and weak. In case the tea is over steeped, you can experience bitterness in taste.

The difference between brewing and steeping tea can be remembered at ease. It is essential to gain information about various kinds of tea as well as the steeping time.

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Mary L

When you discover something you love you want to share it with the world, that’s only natural. My passion had become my way of life, and I am finally able to share a cup of the good stuff with the ones I love. Proof that dreams really do come true when you can share your favorite brew.

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