The Guide to Make the Perfect Cup of Tea

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How to Make the Perfect Cup of Tea -Temperatures, Steep Times & Benefits

When you curl up with a hot cup of tea at the end of the day, you’re actually taking part in an ancient ritual.

This ritual, known as “Cha Dao” or “the Way of Tea” in China and Japan, has persisted for thousands of years, playing an important role in the culture and health of ancient peoples across the world.

With modern science, we’ve now discovered the reasons why tea was so cherished by the ancients, and why each of us should continue the tradition of enjoying at least one cup a day.

Just to scratch the surface of tea’s benefits, research has shown that tea consumption is associated with a reduced risk from all types of ailments, from cardiovascular issues and diabetes to breast, liver, and skin cancers.

However, each variety of tea comes with its own unique set of benefits, as well as brewing instructions. In this guide, you’ll discover the unique benefits of the most popular teas, as well as how to brew them.

Tea Steeping Tools

Before we get into how to steep different tea varieties and their benefits, let’s run through a quick checklist of what you’ll need to steep tea.

  • Hot water (boiling to just boiling)
  • Tea kettle or stovetop pot
  • Tea infuser or strainer (if using loose leaf teas)
  • Matcha bowl, whisk, and scoop (for matcha tea)
  • Thermometer

General Steeping Instructions

If you plan on using tea bags for the majority of your tea making, you can skip this section and move on to the different tea benefits and steeping times below.

Otherwise, keeping reading if you’re using loose leaf varieties.


It’s best to use filtered or spring water for tea making, as you’ll end up with a fresher tasting tea. Also, know that some tea varieties require boiling water, while others steep best when the water is just short of boiling.

Check the list below to see what your variety requires. It’s best to use filtered or spring water for tea making, as you’ll end up with a fresher tasting tea.

When you’re ready, fill your tea kettle with cold water. Bring to either a rolling boil or just boiling. If you have a thermometer and know the optimal brewing temperature for your tea variety, it’s time to check and see if you’ve hit your number.

Optional: Many traditions state that it is necessary to warm your tea cups and pot before making your tea, as this allows for a more “even” steep. To do this, rinse your mugs and teapot with hot water before brewing.


In general, plan on using one teaspoon loose leaf tea or herbs or one tea bag per six- ounce cup. Place the leaves in an infuser or teapot and pour over your heated water. Steep for the recommended times below, and take care not to steep for too long (this could result in bitter tea).

The 15 Most Popular Teas: Benefits and Steeping Specifications

The first thing to know before you start steeping is that not all teas are the same.

Each has its own set of unique antioxidants, health benefits, and steeping method.

Below is a guide to steeping the most popular teas here in the West, along with the temperatures and times required to steep them for optimal benefit extraction and taste.

1. Green Tea

Green tea boasts so many benefits, they could easily fill a novel. Some of the best researched include green tea’s potent antioxidant and polyphenol content, which help fight free radicals that contribute to signs of aging.

It has also been shown in studies to prevent cancer, fight inflammation, and reduce obesity, while also acting as an antiviral.

Steeping Temperature and Time

  • Temperature: 167-175ºF
  • Time: 2-3 minutes

2. White Tea

White tea comes from the same plant, Camellia sinensis, as green and black teas. However, white tea goes through less drying and other processing methods, which results in a higher antioxidant content than even green tea.

White tea has been studied for its antitumor and anticancer effects, with studies showing that it can induce cancer cell death (apoptosis).

Steeping Temperature and Time

  • Temperature: 150-158ºF
  • Time: 1-3 minutes

3. Oolong Tea

Oolong tea is also produced from the Camellia sinensis plant, but dries under strong sun until its leaves brown and curl.

One of the interesting benefits of oolong is its ability to promote weight loss by improving lipid metabolism (resulting in as much as 3 kg of fat reduction in studies), while also providing an antioxidant boost similar to green tea.

Steeping Temperature and Time

  • Temperature: 175-185ºF
  • Time: 2-3 minutes

4. Black Tea

Black tea contains a similar level of antioxidants as green tea, which help prevent DNA damage and slow down the aging process.

Black tea is also excellent for maintaining skin health and preventing skin cancer, as studies have shown that people who consume hot black tea regularly have a significantly lower risk of skin cancer than non-tea drinkers.

Steeping Temperature and Time

  • Temperature: 200-210ºF
  • Time: 2-3 minutes

5. Rooibos Tea

Rooibos tea hails from a shrub native to South Africa, and when steeped, gives off a rich red color.

Research shows its antioxidants provide protection against cancer, inflammation, and viral infections, and also helps protect the liver from damage due to excess free radicals.

Steeping Temperature and Time

  • Temperature: 210ºF
  • Time: 5-7 minutes

6. Peppermint Tea

Peppermint tea is a powerhouse tea that improves digestion. Studies show that it has a relaxing effect on the gastrointestinal tract, which helps ease bloating, discomfort, and even inflammation due to conditions like inflammatory bowel disease.

Research has also found that peppermint, known for its strong, cool aroma, can enhance memory and increase alertness.

Steeping Temperature and Time

  • Temperature: 210ºF
  • Time: 5-8 minutes

7. Pu-erh Tea

Pu-erh (pronounced POO-air) tea is a fermented tea named after China’s Yunnan Province. You can think of pu-erh as a fine wine that has been aged, making it a cherished delicacy throughout the East.

Aside from its rich taste, pu-erh has been studied for its ability to reduce cholesterol, aid in weight loss, and promote cardiovascular health.

Steeping Temperature and Time

  • Temperature: 210ºF
  • Time: 3-4 minutes

Additional Instructions: Pu-erh tea can be steeped several times after the first steeping. Also, Chinese tradition requires that these leaves be rinsed for a few seconds with cold water before steeping.

8. Earl Grey Tea

Earl grey tea is black tea flavored with the oil from the rind of a bergamot orange. Along with the anticancer and anti-inflammatory benefits that black tea offers, bergamot oil has also been shown to improve mood and reduce anxiety. Bergamot essential oil has also shown to lessen pain in cancer patients.

Steeping Temperature and Time

  • Temperature: 200-210ºF
  • Time: 3-5 minutes

9. Sencha Tea

Sencha tea is green tea whose leaves grow in full sunlight and are harvested while they’re still young. They are then steamed immediately to prevent oxidation. By doing this, most of the antioxidants – namely catechins – are preserved, making sencha tea a potent anticancer beverage.

Green teas like senna are also associated with improved cardiovascular markers and improved glucose metabolism.

Steeping Temperature and Time

  • Temperature: 165ºF
  • Time: 1 minute

10. Darjeeling Tea

While most Darjeeling tea is marketed as “black” tea, it’s not as oxidized as full black tea. However, because it comes from the Camellia sinensis plant like green and black teas, many similar benefits are seen. These include anti-aging and anti-cancer effects, as well as the ability to inhibit bad bacteria like H.pylori.

The main difference you’ll notice with Darjeeling tea is that the taste is lighter and more floral than deeper, more robust black tea.

Steeping Temperature and Time

  • Temperature: 195-210ºF
  • Time: 3-5 minutes

11. Matcha Tea

If you’re looking for a tea rich in anti-aging antioxidants, look no further than matcha green tea.

Studies show that matcha contains roughly 137 times the amount of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) than regular green tea, making it an antioxidant powerhouse.

Benefits include antitumor activity, anti-inflammatory effects, anticancer effects, improved skin health, and weight loss.

Steeping Instructions

  • Temperature: 175ºF
  • Time: 1 minute

Additional Instructions

Matcha brewing is different from other tea steeping methods. To get the perfect cup of tea, follow the instructions below.

Step 1: Heat water to just short of boiling

Step 2: Add a few drops of hot water to your matcha (1 teaspoon) in your mug. Mix until a paste forms.

Step 3: Add more hot water (6 ounces) to your paste and whisk with your matcha whisk for a minute.

Step 4: Sip!

12. Assam Tea

Assam tea is a black tea hailing from India and the Camellia sinensis var. assamica plant. It contains a range of minerals and antioxidants that help prevent DNA damage.

Studies also show that it can help prevent diabetic neuropathy (damage to kidneys caused by diabetes).

Assam tea is also rich in theaflavins, which have been shown to reduce delayed onset muscle soreness to aid in recovery from workouts.

Steeping Temperature and Time

  • Temperature: 195-205ºF
  • Time: 2 minutes

13. Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea is an herbal tea made from the dried flowers of the Chamomilla recutita and Chamaemelum nobile plants. It is one of the most ancient herbs known to mankind, and its list of benefits is astounding.

Chamomile has been shown to reduce swelling as well as treat wounds, ulcers, eczema, gout, skin irritations, bruises, burns, canker sores, neuralgia, sciatica, rheumatic pain, and hemorrhoids. It is also a powerful relaxant, able to help treat insomnia and reduce anxiety.

Steeping Temperature and Time

  • Temperature: 200ºF
  • Time: 5 minutes

14. Tulsi Tea

Tulsi is an adaptogenic herb that plays a large role in the ancient Indian medicine system of Ayurveda. It helps the body adapt to stress in a way that reduces its negative effects, and also acts as an antimicrobial and can help heal wounds.

Studies show it can also help protect organs against chemical stress from pollutants and heavy metals and physical stress from prolonged physical exertion and exposure to cold and excessive noise.

Steeping Temperature and Time

  • Temperature: 200-210ºF
  • Time: 3-5 minutes

15. Yerba Mate

Yerba mate tea is made from the twigs and leaves of a plant in South America called Ilex paraguariensis. It is rich in several antioxidant compounds, like theobromine, that are also found in raw cacao.

These compounds act as stimulants that give you energy without the jitters (great if you’re looking for a natural coffee substitute), and can also help improve mental performance.

Yerba mate is also rich in minerals and contains seven out of the nine essential amino acids.

Steeping Temperature and Time

  • Temperature: 160-180ºF
  • Time: 4-5 minutes

Additional instructions: Traditionally, yerba mate is prepared and sipped from a gourd. If you can get your hands on one, you might want to dabble in ancient tradition and sip your yerba mate from it.

Watch this video –The Guide to Make the Perfect Cup of Tea

Written by Megan Patiry

Author Bio:

Megan is an inquisitive nutrition and wellness writer harboring an editorial love affair with the decadent and the nutritious. She is a dedicated researcher in all areas of ancestral health, a certified specialist in fitness nutrition, personal trainer, and professional almond milk latte addict.

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