How to make the perfect cup of tea

rare tea

How Much?

This depends on how you like your tea but a good rule of thumb is:

A good teaspoon of tea and one cup of water per person.

Not Just Once

These rare teas are of such high quality that the same leaves can be infused several times. Each time you brew the tea different subtleties of the delicate flavours will be released.

It is essential that the tea leaves are not left to stew once they have been brewed to the desired strength.

Straining the tea completely between infusions will prevent the leaves from becoming bitter.

In China it is widely believed that the second or third brew of fine tea is the best.


The water is best freshly filtered and should not be re-boiled because this diminishes the oxygen content.

For good leaf tea the water should be below boiling.  This is because the amino acids (which produce the tea’s flavour) dissolve at lower temperatures than tannin. Tea made with water at 100°c will be more astringent and less sweet.

(Don’t try this with industrial tea-bags. The delicate, subtle flavours of leaf tea are not there – and it will just produce grey water).

Ideally stop the kettle before it reaches the rolling boil- when small bubbles form along the sides of the kettle. Alternatively the warm cup brewing method is an excellent way to cool the water (see below).

If you are a real stickler and want to get it exactly right white and green teas are best at about 70°c.

For black and oolong teas use water around 85°c.

For herbal infusions use 100°c water, and 90°c for Chamomile.

There are some excellent temperature controlled kettles available.


In the 8th Century the celebrated poet Lu Yu wrote that in order to enjoy a really delicious cup of tea a porcelain cup should be used, preferably beside a lily pond in the company of desirable women or gentlemen.

Tastes may differ but Lu Yu’s suggestion that tea is drunk from a porcelain cup is highly recommended. Just as a fine wine may not live up to its full potential when drunk from a mug, the same can be said of fine teas.

It is not recommended that you use a teaball strainer for any of our teas since the leaves and tips need room to expand. It is much more effective to use a tea pot and a strainer.

There are two easy methods to ensure perfect brewing:

   1. Two tea pots method. The first tea pot is used to brew the tea. Once the tea has steeped to perfection strain into a second warmed pot.  Several infusions can be added together.

Leaving the leaves in water after the optimal infusion time is like a cooking a steak to perfection and then leaving it in the frying pan. This is why our ancestors warmed the tea pot- it wasn’t the pot we brewed the tea in but the pot we served the tea from.

   2. Warm cup method. Pour freshly boiled water into the number of tea cups required. The water can then be returned to the teapot with the tea. In this way the water is measured precisely and none will be left in the pot once it has been brewed and poured.

Steeping Times

White Tea

White tea is the purest and most delicate of all teas. It needs longer brewing time than other teas. Please allow to steep for 1-3 minutes.

For a subsequent brewing less time is needed to steep whole leaf tea because the water will have already penetrated the leaf, allowing the flavour to be released. They can be brewed many times without becoming bitter.

Malawi Antlers can be infused over and over again.  We have made over 10 infusions from one teaspoon.

Green Tea

Green teas should be brewed for 1-2 minutes for the first brew.  If you are going to make iced tea or to sweeten the green tea with sugar you may want to let it steep a little longer to bring out the more robust tannic flavours.


In China Oolong is drunk from tiny cups and each sip savoured. The best results are achieved by making it in small quantities with a high leaf to water ratio and quick, 30 second infusions. The number of infusions depends on your own taste but oolong is often re-infused over six times revealing different subtleties of flavour each time.
Once brewed the aroma can be savoured for a moment before the taste.

Black Tea

For black tea the steeping times really differ with preference.  If you want to drink the tea on it’s own (without milk) 45 seconds-1 minute is ideal but if you want to build the strong tannic flavours you may want to leave it longer for 2-3 minutes.

Milk and sugar?

White and green teas are so delicate and naturally sweet that you won’t need to add sugar or milk.  With black tea anything goes. We only sell the best leaf teas – and they do not need anything but it’s entirely a matter of taste.

Courtsey of Rare Tea Company.

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