1. Preheat a teapot by pouring boiling water into it, raising the temperature of the pot to 180°F (82°C).
2. Discard the water. In a teapot holding up to 6 cups (1.5 liters), add 1 teaspoon (5g) of loose tea for each cup of tea you're brewing. For pots that hold up to 12 cups (3 liters), add an extra teaspoon of tea for the pot.
3. Pour fresh boiling water over the tea or tea bag. This super-saturates the tea, allowing the perfect extraction of the flavor.
4. For black tea, the water temperature should be 210°F (99°C), just under the boiling point. Let the tea steep for a full 5 minutes. Herb teas also require near boiling water and should be steeped for 5 minutes. For green tea, use water below the boiling point the temperature should be about 180° to 185°F (82 to 85°C). Steep for 3 minutes.
5. Pour the tea through a strainer into the cups.
Note: These are general guidelines. If your tea container has brewing instructions I would follow those as they are probably ideal for that specific tea.
There's a favorite saying in the tea world: Water is the mother of tea.
Before you start your tea kettle, know that the chlorine and other chemicals in ordinary tap water will unfavorably affect the taste of these teas. Always use filtered water when tasting teas, unless you are fortunate enough to live near a spring; spring water is ideal.
Different teas require different temperatures to fully release their flavors; generally speaking, the darker the tea, the hotter the water needed. Water boils at 212° Fahrenheit, but that heat will scorch white and green teas. Their more delicate flavors best emerge between 160 and 190° Fahrenheit. Most of the finest black teas taste best brewed at only 205° Fahrenheit or so. You can buy electric water-dispensing pots, machines that heat water to precise temperatures. These machines are not necessary; just insert an instant-read thermometer into the spout of your kettle to gauge your water temperature before pouring the water over the leaves. Sometimes I give a range rather than a precise temperature; as with brewing time, the exact temperature can vary with each batch of tea. Experiment to see what works best.
Different teas brew best for different lengths of time; the darker the tea, the longer the brewing time. My brewing times (see above) are offered as guidelines only, as every tea is different; My box of Lung Ching may need three minutes, while yours may need only two. Observing both the tea liquor and body will help you gauge whether you have brewed your tea for the correct amount of time.