Infusing & Steeping ~ Fancy Words for Letting Your Leaves Sit for a Bit
Placing tea in an infuser (just a fancy word for strainer) is, by far, the easiest method for preparing bulk tea. You place the tea inside the strainer, close it, and place it into the water in your tea pot or cup. Once your tea has steeped for the sufficient amount of time, you simply remove it. Tea strainers can be purchased at most tea shops and online.
How long a tea is steeped (left in water to infuse) generally depends on what part of the plant you are using and the temperature of the water. There's a whole science and etiquette tea enthusiasts follow for steeping, as steeping for the correct amount of time ensures reaping the medicinal benefits of the tea and, at the same time, preventing bitterness.
Per cup, generally, Black (1/2 tsp), Green (1 tsp) and Floral teas (1 tsp) require 1-3 minutes to steep.
Oolong (1/2 tsp), Red (1/2 tsp), Rooibos (1 tsp) and Honeybush (1 tsp) require a little longer, at 3-5 minutes.
White tea (1 tsp) can take even a little longer at 7-9 minutes.
General Rules for Steeping
The lower the water temperature the longer the steeping time.
The hotter the water, the shorter the steeping time.
Any teas made with stems or roots will need to be cooked down first to extract their medicinal benefits before being made into a tea. This process is often called infusing while waiting for your tea to become 'ready' in hot water is more commonly referred to as steeping.