I began enjoying hot tea many years ago at our local tea house. They have a wonderful selection of teas and they are always glad to answer questions about tea or recommend new teas! They even had tiny containers with samples you could smell prior to the pandemic. In early 2020, I invested in several items so that I could enjoy the same hot tea at home.
I will share my experience purchasing loose leaf teas, storage containers, an electric kettle (used to heat water), and the disposable tea bags I use to steep my tea along with cleaning tips. I hope this helps others who would like to begin brewing loose leaf hot tea at home.
Loose Leaf Teas
There are many different types of teas! You can buy loose leaf teas from local coffee shops and tea houses, or you can buy online. I prefer purchasing locally because I can try the tea first and because they can recommend steep time (e.g. 3 minutes) and temperature (e.g. 205*F). We typically purchase 3-4 ounces of tea and store each kind of loose leaf tea in a separate 12 ounce glass jar.
You could store your loose leaf tea in a resealable bag. We store 4 different types of tea in glass jars. They are heavy duty, seal great, and look very nice. Each jar can hold about 3-4 ounces of bulk tea, depending on the kind of tea.
Le Parfait Super Terrine Glass Jar w/ Rubber Seal and Glass Lid 350ml 12oz (Pack of 4) $39
I pour a teaspoon of loose leaf tea into a disposable bag and cinch the bag closed. I then place the bag into a 12-16 ounce mug and fill the mug with hot water. I will usually brew 2-3 cups of tea in a morning using the same bag and same leaves. If the tea calls for a steep time of 3 minutes at 205F, I will usually brew my 2nd or 3rd cup a little longer (e.g. 3-1/2 or 4 minutes) at the same temperature of 205F.
I purchase disposable bags in bulk (e.g. 500 bags for $12). The following bags have worked well for me. Many people seem to prefer unbleached bags. Read product reviews when trying to find decent bags. Some bags are very thin and tend to fall apart, especially if brewing the same bag multiple times. Some people prefer a reusable/washable filter instead of a bag.
500 Pack Tea Filter Bags (3.15 x 3.94 inch) $13
I heat water using a small electric kettle with an adjustable temperature. After I fill the kettle with cold tap water and adjust the temperature (e.g. 165F or 205F), this kettle takes about 3 minutes to heat the water.
Bonavita 1L Digital Variable Temperature Gooseneck Electric Kettle, Stainless Steel $129.99
Occasionally remove hard water buildup from kettle by heating a vinegar+water solution (e.g. 2 oz vinegar + 20 oz water) to 205F. Let heated vinegar/water solution sit for a few minutes, then pour solution down sink and rinse kettle. Good as new! :sparkles:
I sometimes pour the hot solution from the kettle into cups or mugs with stubborn stains and brush the cups/mugs clean with ease after a few minutes.
I leave COLD water running in the sink when I pour the HOT solution into the sink so that I don’t risk damaging our drain pipes. Probably not necessary, but better safe than sorry.
I hope you enjoyed learning about how I brew hot tea at home. Please comment below if you have specific questions or if you have any recommendations for me!