Brewing Chinese tea is not the same as brewing coffee from a coffee maker or an espresso machine.

Brewing Chinese is an art, a science; a simple change in temperature can affect the taste of these teas.

So you need to make sure that you have brewed it into perfection.

In order to achieve this, there are some important factors that you should know about.

Tea Quality

Although this is not a brewing parameters, it is considered as one of the contributing factor that makes up a good tea.

If you want a good cup of tea, you must ensure that the quality of the tea leaves are in good condition.

Quantity of Tea Leaves

There are different tea classes, therefore, ratio of tea to water will also be different.

If you need some guidance on the suggested quantity for each tea class you can refer to our brewing table which can be found here.

Take note that, too much tea leaves makes it bitter and lack of it make your cup of tea flavorless.

How to Brew Chinese Tea

If you are expecting to have the “the best way to brew method”, sorry but you won’t read it anywhere else, because there is none.

Though there are no best methods to brew, there are definitely “worst methods to brew”.

For instance, do not use Kung Fu brewing and a Yixing teapot if you want to brew a green tea.

For more proper methods of brewing for your type of tea, do visit our brewing methods page.

How Hot Should the Water Be?

To make a perfect coffee the water temperature should be between 91 degree (195 F) and 96 degrees (205 F).

And making a good cup of tea is no different. You need to know the exact water temperature to properly extract the flavor from the Chinese tea leaves and avoid killing the nutrients and freshness of the tea.

Different classes of teas have different water temperature needs.

For example: To make a good cup of green tea the water should be around 80 degrees (176F) and Oolong, flower and red tea’s boiling point should be around 100 degrees (212F).

If you don’t have an idea on what is the optimal water temperature for your tea, you can search it out in the internet.

How Long is the Brewing Time?

Next important factor to be aware of in preparing tea is brewing time.

A 15 seconds difference in brewing time could greatly affect your tea, it can turn a high grade tea into a tasteless cup of liquid, especially if the one you are serving is a tea enthusiast.

Though this is not applicable to all tea types, but it often happen on high grade ones.

Also, always keep in mind that to maintain the flavor and color of the tea, brewing time has to increase along with the number of infusions.

Tea Brewing Method Water : Dry tea (weight) Brewing Time & Remarks
Oolong kungfu gaiwan 4:1 1st round 60 sec. add 15, 25, 35 ... etc for infusions after, some drinkers would use up to 2:1 tea leaves, it's up to your own preference.
Iron Guan Yin kungfu gaiwan 4:1 1st round 10-20 sec. add 5 or 10 ... etc for infusions after, some drinkers would use up to 2:1 tea leaves, it's up to your own preference.
Lone Bush kungfu gaiwan 10:1 Hottest water possible. Needs high temperature to brew.1st round 30 sec. add 5 - 10 ... etc for infusions after.
Longevity Eyebrow porcelain glass gaiwan 30:1 This is a favorite dim sum restaurant tea in Hong Kong. Can be brewed in a bigger teapot and left standing for a longer period, like half an hour or so.
Jasmine porcelain glass gaiwan 70:1 Very casual tea. Whatever teapot, whatever cup, whatever brewing is fine.
Rose glass gaiwan 100:1 Remove stalk, crush bud before brewing. Again, whatever teapot, whatever cup, whatever brewing is fine.
Dragon Well glass gaiwan NOT kungfu 50:1 No boiling water. 180-190F is good. Do not use YiXing teapots for as high water temperature over brews DW. Use a regular glass. 120 seconds for 1st round, 240 for 2nd, 360 for 3rd. The taste drops off quickly after the 2nd round. Spring tea of Dragon is more forgiving on tea quantity and brewing time.
Dragon Ball glass gaiwan 35:1 It's another casual tea. Whatever teapot, whatever cup, whatever brewing is fine.
Fur Tip glass gaiwan 50:1 Please follow regular glass/ceramic brewing procedure.
Spring Snail glass gaiwan 50:1 Please follow regular glass/ceramic brewing procedure.
Tian Red glass kungfu 50:1 Heard that this red could be brewed the Kung Fu Cha way. But that could result in a very strong tea. It's up to your own experiment.
Lychee Red glass 70:1 Just a glass and a little bit of tea will do. 1-2 min. of brewing and it's all ready.
Tuo Not sure. If a YiXing teapot is not ok enough to extract the flavor, use a kettle. 50:1 Not very demand on brewing procedure. Just a casual bit of tea leaves and hot water will do. No stopwatch needed as you can leave it standing for a long time.
Pu'er porcelain glass gaiwanfor compressed tea version of Pu'er, kettle is the best but others are fine 70:1 This is another favorite dim sum restaurant tea. Can be brewed in a bigger teapot and left standing for a longer period if you don't mind it gets too dark. For Pu'er compressed tea, boil with a kettle.

NOTE: Because of the difference in tea quality and individual preference with flavor thickness, the above data should be taken as a general guideline only. Don’t forget to experiment.

Making Your Own Method

With the above mentioned parameters in mind, you may able to come up with your brewing method.

If you drink tea regularly you might come up with your own combination that will suit your taste or create a tea that will be liked by your family and guests.

The key thing is here, you should not be afraid to explore and do some experiments of your own, because as the saying goes: “Practice makes perfect”