To Steep or not to Steep? That is the question!
“To Steep” something means “to soak” and that’s what we do when making tea. We take leaves, often dried, and add them to hot (or cold) water to soak and extract what’s in them into water. Steeping is reserved for tea. You wouldn’t hear someone say they are steeping coffee.
The difference between steeping and brewing is as easy as whether there is continual heat applied to the immersed tea leaves. Steeping involves the soaking of an item in a liquid, in this case, tea leaves in water, and that liquid can start out to be either cold or hot. Brewing involves the continual application of heat from an outside source, like a flame or burner. Brewing involves steeping, but steeping doesn’t involve brewing.
The process of Steeping your tea begins the moment you pour hot (or cold) water over tea leaves. The temperature and length of time are dependent upon the type of tea you are making.
Follow the steeping guidelines based on the tea type;
- White Tea: 170˚–175˚F (2–4 minutes)
- Green Tea:140˚–175˚F (:45–2 minutes)
- Yellow Tea:170˚–175˚F (2–3 minutes)
- Light Oolong Tea:165˚–175˚F (:30–1 minute)
- Dark Oolong Tea:180˚–185˚F (:45–2 minutes)
- Black Tea + Pu’erh: 200˚–205˚F (1–3 minutes)
- Rooibos + Herbals: 205˚–212˚F (3–5+ minutes)
So, whether you are on team “Brew” or team “Steep” raise your cup of tea and enjoy!