Start with fresh, cold, good tasting water.
The best tea is only as good as the water with which it is prepared. We recommend using filtered or bottled spring water with a natural mineral content that is neither too hard nor too soft. Distilled water is not recommended since water purified of its mineral content produces a flat tasting infusion. The freshness of the water is important as fresh water contains more oxygen, which enhances the taste of the tea. Never use hot tap water or water that has already boiled for a long time as this may result in a flat and dull tasting tea with little aroma. Another major consideration in the ideal water for tea is its mineral content. Total Dissolved Liquids, meaning mineral content, is abbreviated TDS. The TDS affects the way water infuses, inhibits, or distorts tea's flavor, color, and aroma. The ideal TDS is between 10 and 30 parts per million or PPM.
Measure the appropriate amount of dry leaves.
Ideally, 3 grams of dry leaves should be used for every 6 ounces of water. In the absence of a gram weight scale, we recommend starting with one rounded teaspoon of dry leaves for each 6-ounce cup. Since different teas have widely varying weights, it is important to adjust the amount of dry leaves accordingly. With lighter weight teas such as large, wiry, oolongs and whites, try 2 teaspoons per 6 ounce cup.
Select the right water temperature.
Black, Dark Oolong, Herbal
These are best prepared with water that has come to near boiling- just don't let the water boil too long.
Green, White, Green Oolong
These should not be prepared with boiling water as this will cook the leaf and ruin its flavor. Japan greens tend to taste best with water at 170-180 F. China green teas tend to taste best with water about 185 F. Generally, the finer the green tea, the lower the water temperature should be. To prepare green tea without using a thermometer: pour the water at the moment that bubbles begin to appear at the bottom of your kettle. Alternatively, you may bring the water to a boil and then add cold or let it cool for two to three minutes before pouring over green tea. Experience teaches best.
Steep for the proper length of time.
The time it takes for tea to steep depends on the size of leaf. The smaller the leaf, the faster the tea infuses. Until familiar with a particular tea, steep for a minute or two, then taste. Pay attention to the taste rather than the color. When the tea tastes right, serve or pour off all the liquid to avoid over-steeping. Most green, oolong, and white teas are good for multiple infusions. Just add fresh hot water to the pot and increase the steeping time slightly for each subsequent infusion. Repeat until the flavor starts to fade.