by Emeric Harney May 22, 2018 4 min read 17 Comments
We offer the highest quality tea leaves you can steep and select only hand-picked, full-leaf teas from the finest tea gardens and estates. Like fine wines, styles of tea also vary by each tea estate and garden, depending on geography, climate, and farming practices, which is part of what makes tea so interesting - its extraordinary variety. Discover the distinctly different types of tea we offer below and follow the brewing instructions to learn how to make the perfect pot of your favorite tea or a variety of tea that’s totally new to you.
How to Brew White Tea
White teas are among the rarest teas in the world and perhaps the purest form of tea. Delicate and exceptionally refined, they are tea buds and very young leaves picked before they open and dried in the shade. White teas are grown all over the world, however, the best come from Fujian province in China and Sri Lanka in South Asia. Some White teas we recommend are ourChinese Silver Needle,Ceylon Vintage Silver Tips, andWinter White Earl Grey.
White teas should be brewed for 3 minutes in 175°F water. To achieve the perfect strength, remove the tea, tea bag, or sachet once your timer is up. To learn more about all things white tea, checkout our White Tea 101 page.
How to Brew Green Teas
Transplanted to Japan many centuries ago, Green teas are originally from China and are the most ancient of teas. Green tea production methods vary, but the focus is always to fix the green color. Thus, green teas are not oxidized. Although this tea has been around for centuries, it is more popular than ever before. Great Green teas we suggest you try are ourJapanese Sencha,Lung Chung, andTropical Green teas.
To brew, heat your water to 175° F and steep for 3 minutes. For best results, use a timer so your tea is not too strong. SomeJapanese Green teas also taste delicious in cooler temperatures, of 140ºF or even cold brewed. One of our Japanese brokers actually brews their Gyokuro triple strength and pours it over ice immediately, which seems to enhance the umami quality of this delicious shade-grown tea. Have fun and experiment!
How to Brew Matcha Tea
Matcha is a vital, powdered green tea that is packed with antioxidants. Made from the leaves of premium green tea, it is delicious and energizing. Originally used for the Japanese Tea Ceremony, our customers have come to love its vegetal taste, unique preparation style, and our flavorful fruit-flavored Matchas. Enjoy a ceremony of your own with some of our favorite Matcha teas -Matcha Senjunomukashi,Very Berry Matcha, andWhite Peach Matcha.
Matcha teas should be made in160°F to 170°F water and whisked until frothy. Please note that our flavored matcha teas do not require whisking, but rather are infused like other teas. For more information on how to make Matcha, watch this short video or checkout our Matcha 101 page.
How to Brew Oolong Tea
Partially oxidized, Oolong teas are in between green and black. These teas are light in body with fragrant flavors of peaches or tropical flowers. They likely first appeared 300 years ago in China’s coastal Fujian province. Later they were transplanted to the island off China called Taiwan. If you’re new to Oolong teas, we recommend trying ourTi Quan Yin,Fanciest Formosa Oolong, orMilky Oolong varieties.
Lighter oxidized Oolong teas should be brewed in 175°F water and darker oxidized Oolongs should be brewed in 212°F water. Both types of Oolong teas should be steeped for 3 to 4 minutes. Once the steeping time is reached, remove tea, tea bag or sachet to achieve the perfect strength. If you’re brewing an unflavored, rolled oolong (like ourLi Shan), you might consider a 30-second rinse with 175ºF water, then emptying that water before performing the longer infusion.
How to Brew Black Teas
Black teas range from mellow teas from China to full-bodied teas from Assam, India. Black teas are withered, rolled, fully oxidized, and fired in an oven. This process creates warm toasty flavors. In the best teas, complex flavors develop that are reminiscent of honey, malt, and cocoa. Oftentimes, Black teas are where novice tea drinkers begin their tea education. Not sure where to start? OurEnglish Breakfast,Scottish Morn, andIrish Breakfast teas are Harney classics.
Black teas should be brewed in 212°F water for 5 minutes. Once the steeping time is reached, remove tea. If desired, serve your black tea with milk and sugar. For more Black tea brewing tips and tricks, check outthis post.
How to Brew Darjeeling Teas
We source our Darjeeling teas from varying estates from year to year, depending on which producers offer the highest quality tea. Darjeeling teas offer tropical notes and a light body, without too much briskness. The Darjeeling harvest runs from February to November and yields several Flushes along the way, with the first flush being the best. Darjeeling fans will love ourDarjeeling,Glenburn First Flush Tea, andTemi Sikkim tea.
Darjeeling teas should be brewed for 3-4 minutes to achieve perfect strength. First Flush Darjeelings should be brewed at temperatures of 175ºF, and Second Flush and Darjeeling Blends should be brewed at 212ºF.
How to Brew Herbal Teas
Whether you call them infusions, tisanes, or “teas”, these exclusive brews and blends are made from bark, flowers, leaves, and seeds. Soothing or stimulating, herbals have a long tradition in many cultures and are fun to explore in ours. If you’re new to Herbal teas or want to try something new, we recommend you sip on ourStrawberry Kiwi Fruit Tea,Yellow & Blue Tea, orOrganic Rooibos varieties.
Herbal teas should be brewed in 212°F water for 5 minutes. Once the steeping time is reached, remove tea, tea bag or sachet to achieve the perfect strength.
Follow the steeping instructions for each type of tea, as each has their own required time and temperature, and you will have no problem making the perfect pot every time. Visit some of our favorite posts below for more delicious tea recipes and to learn more about our company:
February 07, 2022
What are the instructions for brewing Paris tea, I didn’t have it in the bag.
August 18, 2021
I really enjoyed your interview with Dr. Li. What stores in the U.S.A. carry your teas? Can you order directly? Thank you.
June 21, 2021
Love your black current. Picked up a tin at Barnes And Noble book store.
June 26, 2020
Our Daughter and Son-in-law took us to breakfast/brunch at a new coffee shop call “1922” located in Painesville, Ohio. My Husband, Harvey ordered a cup of green tea. It was delicious! I kept the tag and googled the product. Ordered the Earl Gray Supreme sachets in the tin. Wonder tasting tea. Harvey isn’t a normal tea drinker, but I am hoping this experience will have him drinking it a bit more often. I like the article on how to brew the different types of teas. I’ve had store brands and name brands but nothing as good as yours. Thank you for sharing the information.
May 19, 2020
I LOVE Harney & Sons!!! I do have one question about the hemp moringa…do you brew that with a diffuser or just straight in the cup? Or does it matter
March 03, 2020
Just want to start out by saying I love your teas! I am a fan of so many flavors already and can not wait to try more. Just one question, how many ounces of water do you recommend for a typical cup of tea or per tea bag? My normal size cup that I use is between 12-16 ounces.
January 28, 2020
I was introduced to Harney and Sons years ago while dining at a restaurant called Panevino. Since then, this is my FAVORITE tea brand. Of course, Hot Cinnamon Spice is my tea of choice. I just read your article on brewing and I must say, I need help. I know nothing about temps. I boil my water in my All-Clad stainless steel teapot and then I pour the water over a teabag. Is this not right? And if it isn’t, how do I measure the temperature? Also, I like my tea strong with lemon and Agave, so for lighter teas like Jasmine and Chamomile, I steep them longer. am I doing the right thing? Right now, in my cupboard, I have Hot Cinnamon Spice, Ginger, English Breakfast and Jasmine. I absolutely LOVE your teas, so please school me on how to get the best out of my teas with the right brewing and steeping time. Hopefully, what I am doing is OK, but if not, please advise otherwise.. I also read to never press or squeeze your teabags. Is that correct or does it matter?
October 12, 2019
I agree, please have a small chart showing brew times for each tea? It’s never on the tea bag and I forget. Also which teas leaves can you brew more than once? Black teas? I always forget because I tend not to drink hot tea in the summer! Thank you!
September 06, 2019
I would like a small chart to keep by my teas that tell the times to brew the different teas etc.
someone has mentioned that already in the comments and I think it’s a good idea.
I love your teas!
August 01, 2019
Right up front, I never really liked tea at all… until a friend had a Harney & Sons box of assorted teas sent to me as a gift. After trying only half my wife and I went out immediately to get a tea kettle just for these teas. Now… I’m completely hooked… and this article has been extremely helpful!
June 10, 2019
I would love a little chart that I can stick in my tea cabinet to show the temps and times of each type of tea. Anyone know of a link where the temps and times are laid out in an easy reference chart?
June 03, 2019
This was very helpful. If a person is going to buy and use high quality tea, it should be prepared in a manner which provides a high quality beverage. Now I have a dilemma of sorts. I live at an elevation of just over 4,000 ft. The boiling temperature of water decreases roughly 0.5 degrees with each 500 ft increase in elevation. Therefor my water boils at a temp between 203 and 204 degrees. My brew water, is never going to attain the recommended 212 degrees recommended for black teas and Darjeelings.
January 09, 2019
Very interesting and informative. For the individual above, who commented on getting the right temp, I recommend looking for the Breville water machine that allows you to set the temperature of water. Handy piece of equipment.
January 09, 2019
To new tea brewers: Do NOT use a drip coffee maker to make tea because they’re specifically designed to brew coffee. Using them for tea makes a lousy cup. I know this because I’ve tried it!
August 18, 2018
I am always surprised at the short steeping times on some teas but since i use to always drink herbal teas this has been very informative. Now i know why my German friend is always timing her steeping time and the fact that her teas served are always soooo wonderful. getting the temperature of the water is not easy I will be trying to see what each type of brewer delivers what temperature of water. Electric kettles are probably the closest to 212 and drip method coffee pots a lower temperature, I can use alternate brewing methods this way to get the right water temperature. Thanks for all the info!
May 29, 2018
Very informative…. tending to tea correctly is a great meditative exercise. Thank you.
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by Emeric Harney March 16, 2023 6 min read
Enjoy getting to know Tsuyoshi Sugimoto, the owner and president of Shohokuenchten tea company in Kyoto, Japan, and a longtime colleague and friend of the Harneys.
by Mike Harney March 14, 2023 5 min read
by Emeric Harney March 02, 2023 3 min read 1 Comment
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January 25, 2023
And then there are the Puerhs.