Fiore Teapot and steeping cup with loose tea on breakfast table
Tea Preparation

The Ultimate Guide to Tea Preparation

5 MIN READ

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO TEA PREPARATION

For the uninitiated, it may seem as though there’s only one way to make tea: add hot water and wait. But for tea lovers who appreciate the flavor profile of a perfectly steeped cup, the details are everything. Read on for a primer on tea preparation, from an overview of tea varieties to step-by-step instructions, along with a guide to popular tea accessories and how to use them.

Tea can be organized into five varieties: black, green, white, herbal, or oolong. These distinctions are based on both the source and the process through which the leaves were dried, rolled, oxidized and otherwise prepared for consumption. All tea is made from the camellia sinensis plant except for herbal tea, which is technically called a "tisane" rather than a tea. White tea is made from young leaves, which are typically heated by steam, oxidized, and dried, while green tea is scalded before rolling and drying. Black tea is typically made from mature leaves, which are fermented or oxidized without steam before drying, and oolong tea goes through a similar process to black tea, but with less time for oxidation.

Many teas are blended with flowers, leaves, spices, roots, and other flavorings, opening up a beautiful range of notes and fragrances. As a result, the world of tea is wide and varied, with nearly infinite combinations to try. To bring out optimal flavor in your tea, it’s important to follow several key steps:

    1. 1. Use fresh, clean water – filtered or spring water is best

    1. 2. Heat it to the correct temperature

    1. 3. Steep the tea for a specific amount of time

    1. 4. Choose accompaniments that will enhance, not spoil, the taste


Woman grasping a porcelain cup of tea with a pyramid tea infuser on a tea tray to the side

HOW TO MAKE HOT TEA

Timing and temperature are the two key components of proper tea preparation, and they vary based on the tea type. Without the right combination, tea can become too bitter, strong, or weak. Its variety – black, green, white, herbal, or oolong – determines the water temperature and steeping time. Follow these instructions to bring out the nuance in every cup.

For black tea, steep in water at 208˚ F for three to five minutes.  Make herbal tea with 208-degree water as well, but steep it for five minutes or more to bring out the flavor. The next to tea types need some special care. For oolong tea, steep at 195˚F for five minutes or longer if you like a stronger taste, for white tea, use the same temperature but only steep for 2-3 minutes with these delicate leaves. Use even cooler water for green tea – specifically, 175˚ F - 185 ˚F, and only steep for two to three minutes, to keep it from becoming oversteeped and bitter.

Woman grasping a porcelain cup of tea with a pyramid tea infuser on a tea tray to the side

To make tea steeping even easier, electric kettles offer the ability to set your temperature for a range of needs for a precise and delicious steep every time.

STEEPING WITH AN PYRAMID TEA INFUSER

To steep tea using one of our pyramid tea infusers, all you need is your favorite teacup or mug. Each pyramid is andcrafted and designed to allow the loose leaf tea leaves to luxuriantly unfurl into each deliciously aromatic cup. Once you're steeped your tea to the desired taste, simply remove the pyramid by its leaf handle and enjoy.

Woman holding a glass cup steeping tea with a pyramid tea infuser

STEEPING LOOSE TEA

To steep loose tea, an infuser is necessary. You may use free-standing metal infuser that works in any sized cup or mug, or an infuser basket that sits inside the teapot kettle or teacup.

The Fiore and Terra teapots are designed for steeping loose tea for one or more easily. Each teapot includes a metal infuser basket to hold the loose tea leaves while they steep. When ready, just pour the steeped tea into your favorite teacup or mug and enjoy.



How to steep loose tea with a Fiore Teapot


If you wish to steep your tea by the cup, our KATI® and Fiore Steeping Cups steep loose tea right in your mug. The KATI Steeping Cup is a double-walled 12 ounce tumbler with lid and stainless steel infuser basket making tea by the cup easy. The double-walled structure keep the tea hot and the cup cool to the touch, available in a wide variety of patterns and colors. The Fiore Steeping Cup is 14 ounce mug with a handle, lid and stainless steel infusing basket. Fiores are available in four floral patterns and a Stone Blue color.

Fiore Steeping cups


Another option includes travel mugs made of a shatterproof material, including an easy-sip lid and splash guard designed for on the go sipping. The Carter Move Mug is an perfect example. This slim, double-walled, 12-ounce insulated travel mug is designed to amplify your senses and engineered to fit your travel needs. Simply steep your tea to the desired strength, snap in the splash guard for mess-free drinking on the go, and twist on the locking lid to eliminate mishaps. The tapered sipping lip delivers your beverage with ease while sitting comfortably on your mouth. The size of this mug works perfectly with pyramid tea infusers.

Steeping in a Carter Move travel mug with pyramid infuser

Travel mugs are made of shatterproof materials that fit easily in most cup holders.



HOW TO MAKE ICED TEA

In the United States, iced tea is one of the most refreshing ways to cool down on a hot day. It’s most often made with black tea, but can also be prepared from green, white or herbal tea if you’re in the mood for something less expected. Traditionally made in large batches and served from a pitcher with a generous amount of ice, it can be sweetened or unsweetened (simply called “sweet tea” and “unsweet tea” in the American south). For generations, this refreshing beverage has been synonymous with hospitality and summertime relaxation. The drink rose to prominence when it was served at the 1904 World’s Fair and word began to spread. It’s been one tall, cool glass after another ever since.

For generations, this refreshing beverage has been synonymous with hospitality and summertime relaxation. The drink rose to prominence when it was served at the 1904 World’s Fair and word began to spread. It’s been one tall, cool glass after another ever since.

Tea Over Ice pyramid tea infusers with steeped glasses of iced tea.

TEA OVER ICE

The Tea Over Ice® Pitcher Set is specially designed to steep 24-ounces of flash-chilled iced tea using our  Tea Over Ice Pyramid Infusers. Simply add ice to the lower pitcher, and one Tea Over Ice Pyramid Infuser to the smaller pitcher. Fill the top [itcher with hot water, stack onto the lower pitcher and steep for 5 minutes. When done steeping, pour the freshly-steeped tea concentrate over the ice in the lower pitcher and serve.

Our iced tea blends are available in 7 unique flavors, including Iced Blueberry Merlot (herbal tea), Iced Orange Papaya (black tea), Iced Blue Mint Nectar (herbal tea), Iced Raspberry Nectar, Iced Ceylon Gold (black tea), Iced White Ginger Pear (white tea), and Iced Green Mango Peach (green tea).

Tea Over Ice Pitcher Set

ICED TEA AND ACCESSORIES

Tea Over Ice Pitcher Set
Open box of the Tea Over Ice Sampler 5pk.
Open box of Raspberry Nectar Tea Over Ice 5pk.
Open box of Ceylon Gold Tea Over Ice 5pk.
Open box of Tea Over Ice Blueberry Merlot 5pk.
Open box of White Ginger Pear Tea Over Ice 5pk.
Open box of Green Mango Peach Tea Over Ice 5pk.
Open box of Orange Papaya Tea Over Ice 5pk.
Open box of Blue Mint Nectar Tea Over Ice 5pk

CLASSIC ICED TEA

To prepare classic iced tea, make a pot of hot tea the way you usually would, following the temperature and timing guidelines recommended above for the variety of tea you’re using. 

To make a full batch of classic iced tea, brew it using a 1:1 ratio of water to tea bags, pyramid infusers, or teaspoons full of loose-leaf tea. For example, to make eight cups of iced tea, use eight cups of water with eight teabags, or eight pyramid infusers, or either teaspoons of loose-leaf tea. For strong iced tea, add an extra serving or two of tea as you steep the batch. If you prefer it sweetened, add ¼ cup of sugar for each gallon of water and stir it vigorously until all the granules melt. Do this while it’s still hot or the sugar may take a while to dissolve.

Once the tea is brewed, let it cool briefly and pour it into a glass pitcher. Refrigerate it for at least four hours, and then serve it chilled over ice with a slice of citrus or sprig of fresh mint in each glass.

SUN TEA

Sun tea is a fun twist on the classic summer beverage, and it’s literally warmed by the sun. Since the tea won’t get anywhere near as hot as it would on a stove, it takes much longer to steep, but when it’s ready, you may serve it over ice immediately without refrigerating it first. To make sun tea, add eight pyramids tea infusers or teaspoons of loose leaf tea for each gallon of water in a glass pitcher. Cover it loosely and set it outdoors or on a windowsill under direct sunlight for two to four hours. For sweetness, you may wish to add simple syrup until you’ve reached the level you’re after.

Next, serve it over ice and garnish it with a traditional slice of lemon or however you choose.

Iced tea on adirondack chairs


COLD BREW TEA

To make iced tea without the sun or even a stove, consider cold brew tea. This method of preparation brews the batch over a period of hours in the refrigerator with no heat at all. To prepare cold brew tea, combine a little more than one part tea to one part water in a glass pitcher – i.e., if you’re making an eight-cup pitcher of tea, use ten tea bags, pyramid infusers, or teaspoons of loose tea. Let it sit together for at least four hours in the refrigerator so the batch can reach its full flavor. To sweeten the batch, add simple sugar to taste once the tea has fully infused. Serve over ice, garnished as you like.

Or, for an even easier option, try one of our newest Tea Forté innovations, Cold BrewLiven up your water with caffeine-free, organic herbal botanicals and hints of fruit. Unlike hot teas, all three Cold Brew blends are specially formulated to brew in cold water. Simply add one sachet to cold water, still or sparkling. Infuse for 7-10 minutes, longer for more flavor. When done, remove the sachet, add ice, and enjoy. Choose from three unique Cold Brew blends, Elderflower Rose, Pomegranate Vanilla, and Watermelon Mint. Each box contains 15 servings and all three blends are USDA Organic and Kosher Certified.

Cold Brew Teas

Cold Brew tea offers three unique blends for refreshing tea in minutes with no hot water needed.

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Box of Cold Brew Watermelon Mint with sachet
Cold Brew Elderflower Rose - 15 sachets
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Cold Brew Elderflower Rose

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Box of Cold Brew Pomegranate Vanilla with sachet

TEA PREPARATION ACCESSORIES

A world of helpful tools exist to assist you in preparing the perfect cup of tea. Whether you’re serving a group of people or enjoying tea for one, you can choose from a variety of accessories, each designed to bring out the best in your leaves of choice.

Tea Forte’s pyramid infuser offers a simple way to steep a beautiful and delicious cup on its own, and for those who wish to delve deeper and try different forms of teaware, some of the best tea accessories include the teapot, tea kettle, metal infuser, infuser mug, and French press.

Fiore Teapot pouring tea

The Fiore Teapot in Stone Blue steeps 24 ounces of loose leaf tea.



TEAPOTS & TEA KETTLES

For many of us, teapots and tea kettles evoke images of tradition and comfort, from royal tea parties to cozy mornings in the kitchen. These classic icons of tea preparation are easy to use but often confused with one another. The difference is simple: a teapot is used for brewing tea once water has been heated in a separate pot or pan, while a tea kettle is made specifically for boiling water for tea on a stove.

If you’re using a tea kettle, fill it with six ounces of water for each serving you wish to pour. Place the kettle on the stovetop and heat the water to the appropriate temperature for the variety of tea you’re preparing. Once it’s hot enough, pour it over the tea you’ve already placed in each cup and let steep for the ideal amount of time.

If you’re using a teapot, heat your water with a kitchen kettle, pour it into the teapot and close the lid. You may choose to steep the tea in the pot itself or simply use it for presentation, pouring the hot water into each cup for individual steeping.

Some teapots, like the Fiore Teapot or Terra Teapot have infusing baskets built into them, or you may wish to use a standalone infusing basket that fits into your teapot’s opening. In either case, scoop one teaspoon of loose-leaf tea into the infusing basket for each six-ounce serving, add hot water, close the lid, and let steep for the appropriate length of time depending on the variety of tea. Then, pour and enjoy.

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Fiore Stone Blue Teapot with lid
Fiore Sakura Teapot with infuser and lid on
Terra stoneware teapot and infuser with lid on, side view

TEA BALLS & METAL INFUSERS

Metal tea infusers -- the most common of which is the tea ball -- are some of the most elegant accessories for preparing tea. Typically made of stainless steel or aluminum, these infusers may be used to make a single cup or an entire pot.

To use one, scoop a teaspoon of loose leaf tea into the center for every six ounces of water you’ll be using. Then, for a tea ball, close it as you would a clamshell, and for the Tea Forté Stainless Loose Tea Infuser, replace the silicone base to seal the bottom of the pyramid. Place it inside your cup or teapot, slowly pour hot water over it, and steep to taste.

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Icon stainless loose tea infuser

INFUSER MUGS

Some mugs, like the KATI® Steeping Cup from Tea Forté, are made with a double-walled design that serves as a built-in infuser. This revolutionary teaware makes it easier than ever to prepare loose leaf tea, and especially for tisanes which can steep indefinitely without becoming bitter, it offers a quick way to prepare tea on the go.

Another steeping cup designed for loose tea is the Fiore Steeping Cup, available in 3 floral patterns and 1 solid blue color. Similar to the KATI Cup, the Fiore comes with an integrated loose tea infuser basket and lid, but unlike the KATI, the Fiores includes a handle for easy gripping

Hanami KATI Steeping Cup

Using a steeping cup or mug requires only four steps: scooping your loose tea into the infuser, pouring hot water into the cup, securing the lid, and letting it steep for the ideal amount of time, depending on your preferred tea variety. Essentially a teapot and cup all in one mug, the KATI & Fiore are favorites of many loose tea lovers.

RELATED ITEMS

Lotus design KATI® Steeping cup with infuser showing closeup of cup
Fiore Steeping Cup Wild Poppy with lid on.
Fiore Steeping Cup Verbene Blossom with lid on.

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