Making Lighter White, Green, Oolong and Black Teas

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Cup of Gunpowder Tea

For lighter teas, these are made almost the opposite way to black teas. Here, we are after a less bitter and more flavoursome brew, one where the weaker flavours are able to come through without being overawed by the more dominant bitter taste from the tannins. Alternatively, you can follow a Chinese tea ceremony, which works well for white teas, green teas and oolongs.

This is how to make a white teas[1], green teas[2], oolongs[3] and lighter black teas, e.g. Darjeeling or Keemun[4]:

  1. Ceramic, china or cast-iron teapots are the best for making finer teas.
  2. Do not warm the tea pot or mug as we want a lower temperature than for black teas.
  3. Fill the kettle with more freshly-drawn cold water. When boiled, pour into the teapot or mug.
  4. Leave to cool down for 1 - 2 minutes. At this stage, the water should have cooled down to around 80oC (175oF).
  5. Add the tea leaves to the warm water:
    1. For a 1,136 ml or traditional quart-sized tea pot, add 4 level teaspoons or 10 g (⅓ oz) of loose leaf tea to the pot; this is 1 scant teaspoon per mug, where a quart-sized tea pot does 5 mugs. For a 225 ml mug (i.e. 1 cup), add a scant teaspoon or 2 g to the tea infuser.
  6. For the tea, tea leaves are by far the best, rather than tea bags. Filter paper tea bags will not infuse well at the lower temperatures used here, but the mesh-style pyramids or pillow pouches are okay. Orthodox teas should be used.
  7. Infuse for 3 – 5 minutes. A quick brew never gets the full flavour from the tea leaves. This part depends a lot on the type of tea leaves you are using as well as your own preferences. At the end of the brew, the temperature of the infusion should be around 60 – 65oC (140 – 150oF),
  8. Start to drink. Do not leave until the tea becomes too cold, with a lower temperature limit of 50oC (122oF).

Associated Pages


  1. About Food (2014) How to brew white tea, New York, NY, USA. [1]
  2. The Fragrant leaf (undated) Green Tea Brewing Tips, Albuquerque, NM, USA. [2]
  3. The Kitchn (undated) How to brew oolong tea, New York, NY, USA. [3]
  4. Teavivre (undated) Guide to brew Keemun Black Tea, Xiamen, Fujian, China. [4]