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K S said

How much leaf do you use?

It is my opinion there is no right or wrong answer here as long as you are enjoying your cup. I am curious what you consider a normal amount of leaf to use to brew a cup of tea.

In the US, a normal teabag contains 2g of tea (abt 1 tsp). Some brands contain less. Stash for instance uses only 1.6g in most of their bags. I believe RoT uses even less – 1.3g. I am assuming all of these are intended to brew a 6-8oz cup of tea. Some work ok, others not so well.

I use a 12oz mug. Normally with loose leaf I use around 3 – 3 1/2g (1 1/2 – 2 tsp). I notice some instructions call for 7-8g for 8oz of water. That would mean using 10-12g (5-6tsp) for a 12oz mug. That is a big difference from what I use. So what is your usual amount and why?

Part II of this – I stopped using a 2” tea ball because I wanted to allow plenty of expansion room for the leaf. I am now wondering if there is any reality to this idea. Why? Well, if you are using a gaiwan it holds maybe 3oz of water. If you pack it half full of leaf, is the expansion room really greatly different than the space in a large tea ball? Not meaning to be controversial. Just trying to figure out if I am missing something.

23 Replies
K S said

If my calculations are correct a 2" tea ball holds 2.32oz

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ifjuly said

I use 1 1/2 teaspoons for about 7 oz of water, but I know it’s really down to individual preferences and all that. I prefer to use more leaf and less steep time with most ordinary/conventional tea to prevent bitterness but still got lots of flavor. Also, I keep in mind I don’t resteep much unless it’s really premium leaves (Verdant or Butiki-ish stuff), since I almost always drink black tea.

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Nicole said

I use a 10-12 oz cup at work and use a half tablespoon measure for the tea (which is about 1 1/2 teaspoons, I believe). At home I have a “loose tea measuring spoon” and I have found that I like the “1 strong cup” measure which I think is a shy 2 teaspoons.

http://www.amazon.com/hahaplace-Loose-Tea-Measuring-Spoon/dp/B004NGBAKG

K S said

Sounds like we use about the same amount. The spoon is cool. I’ve never seen one like it. Is it only for black tea? How does it work with white or really fluffy leaf?

Nicole said

I use it only for blacks or smaller greens, rolled up oolongs, etc. My fluffy teas I use the finger pinch method. :)

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Lala said

I generally use 1 tsp for blacks, whites, and greens and 1.5 tsp for rooibos and herbals (usually for between 8-10 oz). A lot of times I tend to eyeball things as well, especially if the tea is quite fluffy.

I generally use a tea strainer or infuser cup. But I will still on occasion use a tea ball (or some version of it – I have a tea stick I like to use). I think that depending on what kind of tea you are using that the tea balls work just fine. Maybe for a unique oolong that needs to unfurl, I wouldn’t use it. But I use my tea ball with just about any other kind of tea, and for the most part do not find it makes a hug difference in the taste.

I agree with your argument about the tea ball and gaiwan being very similar.

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Rachel J said

I usually brew 12 oz at a time, and for that amount of water, I’d use 1 1/2 tsp of tea if the leaf is very compact. For “fluffier” tea, I adjust upwards kind of just by feel. With my fluffiest tea (Butiki Taiwanese Wild Mountain Black and others like it) I use a heaping tablespoon, so that’s over double what I’d use of a really compact tea. For other teas I eyeball it based on my perception of the leaf size. A golden Yunnan with big leaves, for example, would be somewhere in between… about 2 heaping teaspoons.

For a while I was thinking of getting a scale, so I could use a consistent weight, but every affordable scale I could find had a lot of comments questioning its accuracy. When you are only measuring 3-5 grams at a time, accuracy would be pretty important. So, I decided the scale wouldn’t be worth the expense. I’ve been doing well with my system.

Also, I’ve found getting the temperature consistent to be much more important for the end result than getting the exact same amount of leaf each time.

Lala said

I used a scale for a bit just to be more specific. But then I found I always adjusted the tea to taste to anyway. I find the teaspoon method/eyeballing works just as good and I adjust from there. It was interesting though, just to taste the teas as recommended by the tea companies.

looseTman said

Sillyvicen recommended the My Weigh Durascale D2 in this thread: http://steepster.com/discuss/4498-need-scale-advice. It is cost-effective & also appears to have good reviews: http://www.oldwillknottscales.com/my-weigh-durascale-d2-300.html?gclid=CNG_37nApbYCFVGf4Aodxy0A5g

Rachel J said

Uh-oh… Now I may have to buy a scale after all. That one looks great.

looseTman said

Yea, that’s what I’ve been thinking too. I hope you like it. If not, we can blame Sillyvicen! ;-)

This scale appears to be a better choice than the one from Upton Tea Importers: http://www.uptontea.com/shopcart/information/INFOscaleUse.asp
– Lifetime/30 year worldwide warranty (Upton: 1 yr, limited warranty)
– Capacity: Grams 300 (Upton: 200 g)
– Resolution: 0.01 g (Upton: 0.05g)
– $24.90 (Upton: $32)

looseTman said

Did you decide to order one?

Rachel J said

Nah… I think I’ll stick to using my spoons and eye. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my tea lately, so no reason to go complicating things. Let me know if you get it!

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I use anywhere from an 8oz-16oz mug.
I use 3 of the perfect teaspoons per mug. It’s a flavour thing, I used to hate tea because I found it tasted like hot water. I just needed more leaves.
Some herbals I use more leaf, ors teas that have larger chunks.

I have found some teas that require less leaves to make a good cup, but I always start with 3 teaspoons.

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forsythia said

I put a heaping teaspoon (a real spoon, not measuring spoon) of loose tea into my 2 -3 cup teapot then pour the hot water in and steep up to 4min. depending upon the tea and at what strength I like to drink it.

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cteresa said

It´s an interesting question – I try to pay attention to how much tea is in teabags for example. Really british brands, like PG Tips add 2.75 g per teabag which is amazing to me. Twinings british teabags are filled with 2 g for the export markets, but not sure their different british teabags (black box, no string, detachable in the middle) are not filled with more – though I prefer the export ones, the lady grey seems zestier and prince of wales is export only. Mariage Freres fills well their mousseline teabags and so does Kusmi I think. But some teas come with only 1.5 – for example this argentinean inti zen brand and a few others.

I don´t weight – my scales have a 1 g precision, ridiculous to try to use it to measure 2 or 3 grams. I do not like to measure by volume either because of course it will not work with all sorts of different shaped teas (like pasta. A cup of orzo will be much more pasta than a cup of rigatoni). I eye it and experiment – the human eye is a surprisingly good instrument. Sometimes guidance is useful, I got this wonderful moutain oolong from LaFleurBleue. The pearls of tea are absolutely tiny – she told me to use 7 for a cup and so I did, though it seemed very little. She was totally right those tiny tiny pearls unfurled to huge double leaves and were good for 6 or 7 steeps.

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looseTman said

FWIW: Per Upton Tea Importers, "… industry standard of 2¼ grams per 6-ounce cup.”

However, the typical American serving-size keeps increasing. At Barnes & Nobel, their smallest cup of Harney & Son’s tea is 12-oz.

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K S said

A 6-ounce cup makes me laugh, well actually it makes me grumpy. I am American through and through. The Dixie cup I use when taking my morning medicine is 5-ounces. I down that it one swallow. 8-ounces is my minimum. It takes a 10-12 ounce mug to make me happy. That’s 2 standard cups or 4 Chinese cups.

It doesn’t help any that all the kettles are way too big at like 1.7 liters (57 ounces). It is hard enough to use fresh water each time for a mug. The oversized kettles make as much sense as 10 hot dogs in a pack but buns in packages of 8. In a fantasy world someone would make a stainless steel inexpensively priced variable temperature 12-ounce kettle. I did say it was a fantasy. I’d even settle for one that was not variable temp.

Back on track, I find a 2g bag of Twinings makes a suitably strong American mug (12oz) of tea. They have never felt undersized to me. I guess that may explain why I don’t feel it necessary to use as much loose leaf.

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