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How Long Should a Tea Bag Sit in Water – Here’s Your Answer

How Long Should a Tea Bag Sit in Water – Here’s Your Answer

Making the perfect cup of tea is a skill. Don’t just dunk the teabag into water and continue with the rush of the day. 

Taking time will produce a delicious cup of tea that will give you a feel-good vibe to face any challenges that the day throws at you. 

Let’s look at how long your tea bag should sit in the water to make the perfect cup of tea. 


How long should a tea bag sit in water? 

For the best results, a tea bag should be allowed to sit in water for three to five minutes. For a stronger cup of tea, soak two tea bags simultaneously, or soak one after the other for three minutes each. Soaking tea bags for too long results in a bitter taste from the tannins that get released. 


Let’s understand how a tea bag works

Tea bags are a convenient and fast way to make tea. 

Using loose tea leaves does require extra work. You will need a strainer to ensure that you don’t end up sipping leafy bits. 

A tea bag is made of a porous material that allows the flavor of the tea to seep out or diffuse into the water. Depending on the brand of tea, the bag may be made of non-woven material, unbleached hemp, or cellulose with a small amount of polymer for strength. 


Start with a clean teapot or mug and fresh water

Always ensure that your pot or mug is squeaky clean. Having leftover water from previous tea sessions will create a bitter taste. 

When using a pot, you can use two or three teabags as the amount of water will be more than in a single cup. For a single cup, use one or two tea bags depending on how strong you want the tea to be. 

After years of making tea with boiling water, I came across an article that advises that you allow the water to stand for a few minutes before pouring. 

This is because boiling water can burn the tea in the bag and result in less flavor being released. So, rest your boiling water for two to three minutes before pouring it over your tea bags. 

Also, try to use fresh water every time. Re-using water in the kettle and boiling it again means that less oxygen is in the water, making for a flatter cup of tea. 

Shake your bags before placing them into the pot or mug. This will separate the leafy bits and allow for airflow. Airflow will allow more flavor to diffuse into the water.


Use the three to five minute rule

Place your tea bags into the cup or pot and pour in your water. 

Allow the bags to steep for three to five minutes. For a stronger cup of tea, you can allow the bag to steep for an extra minute or two. 

If you want a very strong cup, rather use two teabags. You can soak them both simultaneously for three to five minutes. Or, you can soak them individually for three minutes each. 

If you leave a tea bag in water for too long, tannins get released which causes the tea to have a bitter taste. 

Once the bag is in the water, you do not need to move it around, simply allow it to soak at its own pace. 


Frequently asked questions about how long should a tea bag sit in water


Are pyramid bags more flavorful? 

Because of their shape, pyramid bags offer more circulation of water around the bag. This will result in more flavor diffusing into the water.


Why does tea get bitter if bags are soaked for a long time?

After soaking for five minutes, tea bags will start to release tannins. Tannins impart a bitter taste into the water which most people find unpleasant. 


Can I reuse a tea bag? 

Most commercial tea bags can be reused once or twice. After that, there will be very little flavor left in the bag.