How to Make the Perfect cup of Tea


A good cup of tea starts with good tasting water. If you don't like the taste of your drinking water you won't like the tea you make with it. It will pay you to invest in a filter or use bottled water.


Next, buy a good quality tea, bagged or loose leaf. With so many on the market it can be difficult to choose, but don't be put off. If you try a tea you don't like, try another. Just like trying wine or beer it takes time to find one that you really enjoy. If you're confused about which tea to try take a look at our guide to tea types from around the world.

If you choose to use loose leafed tea it's easiest to use a tea ball or other infuser which must be big enough to let the leaves expand during brewing (the time during which the tea releases its flavour into the water). At Desperate Tea Drinkers we encourage you to try as many different teas as possible to get a taste for what you enjoy.

Heating the water and the pot

Always use freshly drawn water, each time it is boiled it will lose oxygen and affect the taste of the tea.

Be sure to warm the pot by swirling a little hot water around the pot before putting in the tea and water.

How much tea do I use?

If you are trying a tea for the first time it is wise to follow the directions on the packet for the amount of tea to use and brewing time. The tea companies have spent many hours researching the best way to enjoy their teas. If there are no instructions the best formula to use is 1 teabag or one rounded teaspoon (2-2.5 grams) of loose tea per person.

Brewing time

If the instructions for brewing tea are not on the box the table below should help, but remember you can vary the times according to your taste:

Black tea

Full rolling boil 100°C (212°F)

Kenya2-3 minutes
Ceylon3 minutes
Darjeeling2-3 minutes
Assam3-4 minutes
Lapsang Souchong3-5 minutes

Green tea

Never use boiling water on green tea. If you don't have a temperature control on your kettle, allow the kettle to stand for about a minute to cool the water enough after boiling - 50-85°C (122-185°F). Most greens require 70-85°C (158-185°F), but Japanese greens require 50-60°C (122-140°F) and maybe even less for the higher quality green teas.

Jasmine2-3 minutes
Sencha1-2 minutes
Genmaicha3-4 minutes
Gunpowder3-4 minutes

Other teas

Puerh - rinse 3-5g (0.10-0.18oz) per person of tea with boiling water and steep in 100C (200F) water for 35 to 40 seconds and reduce the steeping time for each infusion (up to 10 times).

Oolong tea5-7 minutes
White tea3-10 minutes
(depending on the tea)

Both White and Oolong teas brew at 85-88°C (185-190°F). Use 2-3g (0.07-0.1oz) per person of tea.

Milk, first or last, and sugar?

Yes, there is a difference. Personally we add the milk first. Some teas are best enjoyed with no milk at all. As for sugar — again personal choice.

Please, please, please use a teapot or infuser and remove the tea as soon as it is brewed. Do not even attempt to make tea in a cup or mug without using an infuser, unless straining the liquid into another vessel.

Storing Tea

Tea should always be stored in an airtight container in a cool dry place. Never place tea next to anything with a strong flavour or scent.

Let's cut to the chase:

  1. Buy a good quality tea. Try single estate teas as well as blends.
  2. Use a teapot or infuser.
  3. Warm the teapot and drinking vessels before putting in the tea leaves.
  4. Make sure the water is freshly drawn and at approximately the right temperature before pouring it on the leaves.
  5. Brew for the recommended time, remove the leaves, and to keep your tea hot use a tea cozy.
  6. Pour, relax, enjoy.