How to Make Loose Leaf Tea – Ultimate Brewing Guide

If you're new to tea, you may be wondering, why loose leaf? Why should I make the switch from bagged tea? And perhaps you're thinking, isn't brewing loose leaf tea complicated? 

Loose leaf tea is just what it sounds like –– full-leaf loose tea. No confining single-serve tea bags means you can see and taste the ingredients, plus get the full health benefits. It's that simple.

Loose leaf tea may seem complicated or intimidating but never fear. We're here to break it down for you and make you a pro.  

How Much Loose Leaf Tea Per Cup? 

When you're choosing a tea to brew, you'll need to know how much tea per cup. It's safe to assume 1.5 teaspoons of loose leaf tea per 8-ounces of water as a general rule. The only exception to that is matcha, which uses 1 teaspoon per 8-ounces of water. See! You're practically a loose leaf expert already. 

To unlock the flavor, health benefits, and more, be sure you steep your tea at the right temperature for the specified amount of time. This handy chart will help you brew the perfect mug every time.  


steps to brew loose leaf tea

Brew temperature and time by tea type: 

Green–– 175° F for 1-3 minutes Herbal–– 208° F for 5-7 minutes

White–– 175° F for 3-5 minutes Rooibos–– 208° F for 5-7 minutes

Black–– 195° F for 3-5 minutes Maté –– 208° F for 5-7 minutes

Oolong–– 195° F for 3-5 minutes Fruit–– 208° F for 5-7 minutes


How to Make Loose Leaf Iced Tea

Are you looking for an easy, refreshing way to cool down on a hot day? Look no further than an ice-cold glass of loose leaf iced tea. In just a few steps, you can enjoy your favorite blend over ice. Every Tiesta Tea blend can be enjoyed over ice –– from your energy-boosting black teas and slimming green teas to spicy chai teas and fruity herbal teas

Step One: Measure Your Tea  

When brewing iced tea, use double the amount of tea you'd use for hot tea since you'll be diluting it with ice. For one glass of iced tea, simply scoop 3 teaspoons of your favorite loose leaf tea into your steeping method of choice. There are many options for brewing accessories, including our Brewbasket, Brewmaster, biodegradable tea filters, or stainless-steel tea ball. 

Step Two: Pour in Hot Water  

Whether you're brewing in a mug with a filter, Brewbasket, or tea ball or directly in the Brewmaster, choosing the right temperature of hot water is crucial. Whether you're after a mug of hot tea or glass of iced tea, always make sure you brew your tea at the right temperature. If you use too hot of water, you risk burning the leaves. Too cold of water will give you a bland brew. 

Step Three: Steep Your Blend 

The length of time you let your tea steep is just as critical as the temperature of water you use. Steep it too long, and you'll end up with a bitter tea. Don't steep it long enough, and you'll miss out on flavor, caffeine, and micronutrients.   

Be sure to set a timer, or you're bound to forget to take out the leaves.  

loose leaf tea steeping times
Step Four: Strain, Ice, Enjoy!

Once your timer goes off, take the tea blend out of the hot water and immediately pour over a glass filled with ice. If you're adding lemon, honey, or any other sweetener, now's the time. Then, bottoms up! Cheers to a glass of refreshing iced tea whenever you need it. 

How to Make Loose Leaf Tea Without a Strainer

Whether you're new to the loose leaf tea life or an old pro, there may come a day when you find yourself without a strainer or infuser. Maybe you've run out of tea filters and haven't yet gotten a tea ball or Brewmaster –– never fear, there are other ways to brew loose tea. 

Skip the Strainer 

You can technically forego a strainer or infuser and just drop your tea leaves in your hot water and steep. Warning! You'll likely end up swallowing a few tea leaves or have them brush against your lips while you're sipping. If this isn't your cup of tea (if you know what we mean), then this probably isn't the best method for you. 

Get Crafty 

Yep, you can totally DIY a tea bag with a coffee filter or a cheesecloth. When using a coffee filter, unbleached is always your best bet to preserve the taste of the tea. If you are using cheesecloth, simply cut it in a 3" x 3" square. With either option, load your tea in, twist at the top (or use a string) and steep away! 

Raid the Cabinets

If all else fails, let your cabinets be your guide. Even if you don't have other methods of brewing tea, you likely have an actual strainer or sieve lying around, or a slotted spoon can also do the trick. Just filter the tea through the sieve or scoop it out of the water with the slotted spoon and enjoy!

How to Make Loose Leaf Tea Without a Teapot 

Picture this: the tea craving strikes, and you find yourself without a teapot. No need to panic ­­–– we've been there. There are a few ways to get your loose leaf tea on even without a teapot or kettle. 


Yep, it's totally possible to brew up a cuppa in the good ol' microwave. Simply fill a microwave-safe mug with water and pop it in the microwave. Heat it for a few minutes, checking halfway through. Before you know it, you'll be enjoying a mug of your favorite blend and forget about that teapot entirely. 

Coffee Maker

It sounds crazy, we know. But you can brew loose leaf tea in your coffee maker, even if it's not designed for tea. Use an unbleached coffee filter and make sure your coffee machine is thoroughly cleaned. 

French Press 

That fancy coffee machine you have? Yep, it's basically a tea infuser. Easy peasy. 


When all else fails, boil some water in a saucepan on the stove. And no worries if you don't have a thermometer. Use the boil-and-wait method. For 208° F, let the boiling water sit for about 1-3 minutes. For 195°F, let it sit for 7-8 minutes. For 175° F, let the boiling water sit for about 10 minutes. 

How to Make Loose Leaf Tea Blends 

Did you know you can make your own blend of tea? It's simple with loose leaf tea. You can combine your favorite blends, punch up a non-caffeinated tea with some maté or black tea, and more. The possibilities are endless.  

Maybe you're in the mood for a caffeine kick but also feeling like some fruit tea is in order –– just mix some maté into your Maui Mango

Other favorites include: 

-   Fireberry + Ginger Sweet Peach

-   Strawberry Lemonade + Matcha

-   Blueberry Wild Child + Lemonade

-   Lemon Ginger Turmeric + Blueberry Wild Child

-   Royal Breakfast + Black Thai Tropical

It's so easy to mix and match blends to find your own favorite combination with loose leaf tea. You can even mix in fresh fruit, mint, or whatever suits your fancy. 


Ready to Try Loose Leaf? 

At Tiesta Tea, we travel around the globe to source the best quality ingredients to produce the best cup of tea. We believe in making loose leaf tea that’s accessible and affordable, without sacrificing quality. Ready to Live Loose with us? Check out all of our teas here. And yes, we have something for everyone from the tea connoisseur to the novice. That means traditional Japanese green tea, organic black tea, organic green tea from India, and oolong from China. Fruits, flowers, and spices come from the USA, Asia, and beyond.

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