How To Make A Proper Pot of Afternoon Tea

Tea is the most popular beverage in the world. It’s savored by many diverse cultures in its’ many diverse forms. Afternoon tea is even more popular than coffee.

Yet most afternoon teas brewed are not done to perfection. Most times we do not think about perfect tea, when we make tea. Most times we just think “I want tea!”

Perfection is a state of mind, of course and subject to your personal palette. However, it pays to take tried-and-true steps to making your tea, if you want the best results.

Since there are many varieties of teas, we’re going to focus on regular black tea, The type that comes in a bag, not the loose-leaf variety. (But do note, the principals also apply very well to the many forms of teas including herbal teas). A single tea bag is generally sufficient for a standard (around 27-32 ounce) porcelain teapot.

How To Make A Proper Pot of Afternoon Tea


The water you choose for your tea is very important. Ideally, filtered tap water from a soft water source works best.

Mineral or carbonated water will taint the tea. Spring water cause oxidization, making the tea dark and heavy tasting. If spring water is the only option available, try filtering it first. You really don’t have to get fancy with the water, keep it as simple as possible. The key is to start with quality.

Making tea in the winter time? Lake water ice or large snow crystals, in large granular form are also good for making water for tea. Tea masters of Japan are said to prefer the snow granules to any other form of tea water.

Boiling Water

Bring the water to boil. Once the water has boiled, pour the water into the porcelain teakettle. Wait for the bubbles to dissipate to the air above. Even more importantly, wait for the water to cool sufficiently so that it will not singe the tea. Tea should not be boiled, but it should be steeped and it’s goodness allowed to permeate the water. Wait no more than 30 seconds before putting in the tea bag into the hot water.

Each tea has it’s optimum water temperature and steep time, use the chart below to help guide you:

Brew Caffeine Water Temperature Steep Time
Herbal (tisane) None 205° 5-6 minutes
Rooibos (tisane –nutty) None 205° 5-7 minutes
Moringa (tisane – sweet) None 195-200° 3-5 minutes
Mushroom (tisane – earthy) None 175-185° 4-6 minutes
Darjeeling Tea (bold) 40-70 mg 195-205° 3-5 minutes
Black Tea (bold) 40-60 mg 195-205° 3-5 minutes
Yerba Maté (tisane – bold) 35 mg 205° 3-5 minutes
Chai (tea/tisane – spicy) 30-55 mg 195-205° 3-5 minutes
Oolong Tea (medium) 30-50 mg 185-205° 3-5 minutes
Pu’erh Tea (intense) 30-40 mg 195-210° 3-4 minutes
Green Tea (fresh) 23-35 mg 175-185° 2-4 minutes
White Tea (mild) 10-15 mg 175-185° 2-3 minutes

Service, Or Taking Out The Tea Bag

The hot water will suffuse the tea bag and start to bleed a rich orange color. When the water is rich orange, it has reached it’s optimum perfection. Perfect tea is tasty but not overpowering.

Some people like their afternon tea to steep a little beyond the perfect orange color and optimal taste. That is the beauty of tea. People have their preferences. Beyond the optimal threshold, the tea becomes too powerful. Take out the tea bag, to preserve the integrity of the tea. Pour into your favorite porcelain mug and enjoy.

Beyond Perfection

The best tea is made out in the wilderness with firewood and a black teakettle. Try it on your next camping trip! The smoke infuses the water and gives that tea just that little more. Bring the water up to the boiling point. Remove immediately as it begins to simmer.

Enjoy, The Rare Cup Of Perfect Afternoon Tea

Pour tea into your favorite mug and enjoy. Part of the joy of drinking tea is sniffing the steam that rises from the mug. Tea doesn’t have to be just another cup it can be an experience to remember.

Need your Tea to-go?

While its most enjoyable to take a moment to savor your tea in a quiet moment, sometimes our busy schedules won’t allow. There’s no reason to skip afternoon tea time! Just make your tea ahead of time and use MyBevi to keep your brew warm while you’re on the go!


We’re mega-fans of the MyBevi 10oz Quatro Canteen for keeping our tea warm and ready for when we need it most! It’s the perfect size for afternoon tea. The Quatro Canteen has a unique body shape that fits well in your hand and a wide opening that easily allows for ice.

A double wall construction prevents condensation and helps keep your tea (or other beverage) at a controlled temperature (hot or cold) for a long time. We also love that the tapered body style fits into most vehicle cup holders and the bottom has a rubber non-slip base, which is great for use in an office environment. Plus, it’s quite attractive, and that truly makes for a perfect proper tea pour!

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Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an the author of "Getting Laid" and "Getting Baked". A sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky, when she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s making tea and writing about country living and artisan culture.
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