How to Make Tea

02.04.2018 |

Episode #9 of the course The science of tea by Lukasz J. Binkowski


Welcome to the ninth lesson of the course! Today, I’ll explain the right way to prepare a perfect cup of tea.

For most people, brewing is the only necessary stage before drinking tea. However, for many enthusiasts, the whole process, including the preparation of the utensils, choosing the tea, brewing, and drinking, is an important ceremony of the day that keeps them calm and helps them relax. I encourage you to try this as an approach (or maybe even a small philosophy). Find a time to take a break in your hectic life, and enjoy ten minutes or so of a calming, pleasant tea ceremony. Believe me, tea usually tastes better this way.


Choosing the Tea

It is crucial to decide what type of tea you are going to drink. This will simultaneously determine the brewing method and additional ingredients you may need.

Your choice depends on your individual preferences, diet, and even the time of day. Most people start their day with strong black tea (breakfast tea), but if you like green or white tea, go ahead.

Also, it is important to decide in what form you want to use the tea. The most common are leaf tea, granules, and tea bags. If you have limited facilities (for example, when you’re at work) or you’re short on time, tea bags are acceptable. However, the quality of such tea is usually lower than that of infusion brewed from high-quality leaves. So if possible, use leaves or granules.

In addition, we need water. When making a tea, only fresh water should be used. Water that has boiled a few times has a lower level of oxygen, which results in flattening of the taste.


Tea Cups and Teapots

Everything depends on the place, atmosphere, and preferences. Many people use glass tea cups and teapots, but you should remember that in Chinese, Japanese, and British traditions, only ceramic pots are used. While both glass and china should do, please avoid using plastic or polystyrene cups. Not only does the etiquette related to this wonderful beverage prohibit this, but such cups also destroy the taste of tea.

The Ritz Hotel in London is very famous for its tea ceremony, which includes crisp white tablecloths, napkins, fine china, and silver cutlery. If you are a tea fan, consider drinking afternoon tea there.



In general, you should use different temperatures for brewing different types of tea. Black tea should be made with very hot, almost boiling water, whereas green tea should be brewed with slightly cooler water. Orthodox tea enthusiasts may even use thermometers during the brewing process. The pot should be also warm. To achieve that, you may fill it with hot water and then leave it to stand for a while.

Regarding the proportions, under the general rule, for one pot, you should use one spoonful of tea per person, plus one additional spoonful of tea.

Pour the hot (but please remember not to boil it for too long, since it’ll lose oxygen) water into the pot. Then allow the tea to stew for three to six minutes (the time depends on the leaves—the bigger, the longer). And then, it’s ready: Enjoy a great cup of tea!



Since tea is very popular, the International Organization for Standardization has developed a method of brewing. You may want to review it, but you should remember that it’s a standardized protocol for the comparison of different teas rather than a recipe.

A similar protocol was developed by the Royal Society of Chemistry. It says that we should use loose-leaf tea and soft water, as well as a ceramic pot that should be warmed before brewing. Boiling water should be poured over the leaves, and the infusion should be stirred and left for three minutes. Black tea prepared in that way should be drunk at between 60°C and 65°C (140°F and 149°F).

Tomorrow, I’ll share with you more tips for drinking a good tea.

Until tomorrow,



Recommended book

The Tea Drinker’s Handbook by Francois-xavier Delmas,‎ Mathias Minet,‎ Christine Barbaste


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