How to make a perfect brew

  • Use a good quality teabag or loose leaf tea.
  • Store tea in a cool, dry place and avoid placing it next to strongly flavoured or perfumed foods.
  • A perfect brewAlways use freshly drawn water when preparing tea (or a herbal infusion); the hot water "energises" the leaf and extracts all the character the tea.
  • In some parts of the country the tap water is hard or soft and this can affect the taste of the tea, consider using a water filter.
  • The water temperature for black tea should be 90 to 98oC and for green tea around 80oC. Always read the instructions on pack.
  • In order to draw the best flavour out of the tea the water must contain oxygen, this is reduced if the water is boiled more than once and you waste energy! Only boil the amount you need.
  • Measure the tea carefully; use 1 tea bag or 1 rounded teaspoon of loose tea for each cup to be served.
  • Allow the tea to brew for the recommended time before pouring (see instructions on pack and the table below).
  • Brewing tea from a bag in a mug? Milk in last is best.
  • We suggest you remove the bag after brewing, before adding the milk, but at the end of the day it is all down to personal preference. Enjoy!

Recommended Brewing Times

Name of Tea Country Type Brewing Time With or without Milk
Gunpowder China Green 3 to 4 mins without
Jasmine China Green flavoured with jasmine flowers 2 to 3 mins without
Oolong China / Taiwan Oolong 3 to 5 mins without
Lapsang Souchong China / Taiwan Black 4 to 5 mins without
Sencha Japan Green 2 to 2.5 mins without
Genmaicha Japan Green flavoured with popped rice & corn 3 to 4 mins without
Darjeeling India Black 3 to 4 mins without
Assam India Black 3 to 4 mins with / without
Ceylon Uva Sri Lanka Black 3 mins with / without
Ceylon Dimbula Sri Lanka Black 3 to 4 mins with / without
Kenya Kenya Black 3 to 4 mins with
Earl Grey Various Black 3 to 4 mins with / without


How to dispose of teabags

The vast majority of teabags in the UK are made from natural plant fibres. It is true to say that some of these teabags contain a very small amount of plastic, this enables their edges to be heat sealed and stops them falling apart in hot water. If you include the tea, typically about 1% of a tea bag’s total weight is plastic (around 0.04g) - 95% is tea and the rest is natural plant fibres, which are biodegradable.

If used for sealing, the plastic used was typically made of polypropylene (PP) or nylon, but increasingly, polylactic acid (PLA) is used. PLA is a renewable and sustainable bio-based plastic derived from plants and is biodegradable. In fact, the whole industry is working hard to move over to PLA, which is a non-permanent and biodegradable.

‘Biodegradable’ differs from ‘garden-compostable’. Although a biodegradable tea bag will eventually break down in compost, it can take a long time. This is because the compost heap is usually not the right temperature or doesn’t have the right mix of microorganisms to do the job.

Some councils have industrial food waste systems (industrial composters) designed to allow the necessary micro-organisms needed to break down biodegradable materials, to thrive. If your local council collects food and/or garden waste, you can place a whole biodegradeable teabag in the appropriate bin for local council collection and composting.

Teabags with plastic seals should be placed in your general waste bin.

If you would like to put tea on your garden compost, we recommend that you can speed up the process by ripping open the bags before placing the spent tea leaves on your compost heap and disposing of the teabag paper separately in your bin.

See our info animation on teabag disposal here:

See also WRAP's recyclenow website for more information:

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