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Tea 101

How to Measure Loose Leaf Tea for Brewing

Factors in brewing loose leaf tea

Loose leaf tea is tea how it was meant to be. When you steep loose tea (typically made from whole or partially broken tea leaves) the leaves are able to expand and unfurl as they interact with hot water. The result is a brewed tea that yields all of the subtle flavor nuances its grower and producer intended.

There are several factors that determine how great your brewed cup will be. Depending on the type of tea, the water temperature and steeping time will play important roles. (Learn more about the three Ts—type, temperature, and time— visit our How to Brew Tea page.)

Another important factor is the ratio of loose leaf tea to water. In other words, how much tea should we steep to yield the perfect brewed cup? Steeping too many tea leaves could yield a brewed tea that’s too strong, astringent, or even bitter. Steeping too few tea leaves could yield a weak tea that tastes more like hot water than a cup of tea. Either scenario is disappointing and a waste of potentially delicious tea.

Loose Leaf Peppermint

Knowing how much loose leaf tea to steep

Luckily, the tea industry created guidelines to make brewing the perfect cup of hot tea more achievable.

 A single serving of loose leaf tea is typically measured as 2 grams of loose tea per 8 ounces of hot water.

These guidelines were created to make professional cupping and tasting standards consistent across the board. But if you’re not a professional cupper and you’re simply brewing tea at home, you may be dealing with other variables. For example, you may not have a scale to weigh out your 2 grams of loose tea. Or the dainty teacups in Grandma’s collection only hold about 6 ounces of water, while your favorite cozy tea mug holds more like 12 ounces.

The industry standard measurements also don’t take into account personal tea drinking preferences. Maybe you like your tea on the strong, astringent side because you like to add milk and sugar. Or perhaps you like to sip teas that are mild and therefore like a brew that is a tad weak. Whatever your preference, these are simply guidelines to get you closer to your own perfect cup of tea.

Then there’s the fact that you have to weigh the tea. Don’t have a scale handy? No problem. Here are our quick tea measurement guides for Teatulia’s different tea types as well as variables, tips, and personal considerations that may apply more specifically to what you’re steeping.

Teatulia Loose Leaf HOT Tea Measuring Guide
Measuring different types of Teatulia tea by weight and volume to yield an 8 oz. cup of hot tea.

 Teatulia Tea Type

Weight per 8 oz. cup of hot tea

Volume per 8 oz. cup of hot tea

Black Tea

2 grams

1 tablespoon

Black Tea Blends (e.g. Earl Grey, Chai)

2 grams

1 tablespoon

Green Tea

2 grams

1 tablespoon

Green Tea Blends (e.g. Ginger Green)

2 grams

1 tablespoon

White Tea

2 grams

1 tablespoon

Oolong Tea

2 grams

1 tablespoon

Herbal Teas (e.g. Chamomile, Peppermint)

2 grams

1 tablespoon

Variables to consider

Our measuring guide is based on our own experience brewing Teatulia’s organic, whole leaf teas and herbs. Other types of teas that hail from different gardens and are processed differently may have other variables to consider when identifying a volume measurement close to the industry standard of 2 grams. 

Whole leaf tea size

Whole leaves that are large and haven’t been tightly rolled will be bulky and have more volume than tea leaves that were rolled into smaller shapes or even partially broken during processing. For example, you might use a heaping tablespoon of needle-like sencha green tea leaves versus just a scant teaspoon of pellet-rolled gunpowder green tea leaves.

Blended teas

Blended teas may have larger herb pieces that increase the tea’s volume. For example, a chai blend might have chunky cardamom pods or a floral blend might have whole rose buds. For these, you might use a heaping tablespoon to be sure and capture more of the intended herb flavor.

Other measuring tips

Brewing a pot of tea? Or want to adjust the tea brewing to meet your taste preferences? Then here are a few tips.

Measure-free tea brewing

Pyramid bags

We love our Teatulia whole leaf teas so much that we made them even more convenient for you to enjoy by packaging them in corn silk pyramid tea bags. If you don’t have the tools to brew a cup of loose leaf tea, pyramid bags bring the loose leaf experience to the convenience of a tea bag. The bags fit perfectly into a single teacup and they are tall and roomy, giving tea leaves plenty of space to move around within the bag and interact with the hot water for full flavor extraction. They can also be steeped multiple times, so you can get several cups of tea out of one pyramid tea bag just like you would with loose leaf tea. And each of our pyramid tea bags are filled with 2 grams of whole leaf tea…just enough for brewing the perfect 8-ounce cup. Nifty, huh?

Pyramid Bags

Portion packs for iced tea

If you want to brew a large batch of iced tea, check out our line of Teatulia teas available in pre-measured packs for perfectly brewed iced tea every time. Each of the following come in 1-ounce portion packs to brew 1 gallon of iced tea at a time. Your summer picnics just got a whole lot more refreshing!

Portion Packs

Have a hankering for iced tea?

The key to brewing iced tea is to make a strong brew that won’t get diluted by the ice. For a glass of Teatulia tea on ice, we recommend steeping twice as much tea as you would for a cup of hot tea. First, steep 4 grams (instead of 2 grams) of loose leaf Teatulia tea in 8 ounces of hot water. Next, pour the strong brew over a large glass full of ice to yield about 16 ounces of perfectly brewed iced tea.

Teatulia Loose Leaf ICED Tea Measuring Guide
Measuring different types of Teatulia tea by weight and volume to yield a single 16 oz. glass of iced tea.

Teatulia Tea Type

Weight per 8 oz. cup to yield 16 oz. iced tea

Volume per 8 oz. cup to yield 16 oz. iced tea

Black Tea

4 grams

2 tablespoons

Black Tea Blends (e.g. Tulsi Infusion, Neem Nectar)

4 grams

2 tablespoons

Green Tea

4 grams

2 tablespoons

Green Tea Blends (e.g. Ginger Green)

4 grams

2 tablespoons

White Tea

4 grams

2 tablespoons

Oolong Tea

4 grams

2 tablespoons

Herbal Teas (e.g. Lemongrass, Ginger)

4 grams

2 tablespoons

 

Learn more about how to brew tea.

Learn more about how tea is made.

Learn about loose leaf tea vs. tea bag tea.

Sources:
The Story of Drinking Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide by Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss