The Tea&Sympathy range is predominantly specialty full-leaf tea. It offers a treasure trove of diverse and complex flavour profiles – the key to unlocking them is in the preparation.

Preparation is not an exact science though, and each tea behaves differently, so we recommend experimentation. Here are some essentials on how to prepare your teas to get you started.

The Vessel 

If you don’t have a special pot or steeping vessel don’t worry, but do keep the following in mind …

Full leaf tea needs room to expand and stretch as it steeps to release its flavour. Let your tea leaves steep freely in a pot (or cup) and strain.

Don’t use a

Larger, basket style infusers are fine. However, steer clear of teaballs. These are only suitable for finely chopped particles of leaf.  

Water temperatures

Water temperature is everything.

It is not the case that the hotter the water the more flavour you will extract from the tea. Some teas produce a superior end result at lower temperatures.

For black teas, generally, just-boiled water is ok. For everything else – whitesgreens and oolongs you will need to use water at various temperatures below boiling. These are provided on the website and on the label.

If you use water that is either boiling or too hot for a particular tea, it tends to result in either bitterness or blandness.

How to get the correct water temperature

  • Use a temperature controlled kettle or tea maker
  • Use a thermometer (if you can find a good reliable one – many seem to be a bit ‘hit and miss’)
  • Put some cool water to your pot before adding just-boiled water from the kettle. 
  • This will take some guess-work and experimentation but you will learn how to judge the amounts of cold water you need to get the best result.
  • Allow the water to cool down to the desired temperature after boiling.
  • Typically if you are using a well-insulated kettle it will take some time for the water to drop to 80 and 90 degrees C. Best to pour the water off into your pot and let it breathe. This method also takes some guess-work and experimentation but again, you will learn how to judge the time you need.
  • You can also judge water temperature by observing the bubbles and steam as it is heating. Watch this video to see how.


How much tea to use

The number of grams per 200ml of water is provided for each tea in the range, and on the labels we express in terms of teaspoons per cup.

As a rough rule of thumb, use a teaspoon of leaf per cup. Keep in mind that some teas (like the Yunnan White) are very bulky and benefit from a greater amount, whereas the ball-rolled teas (like the Green Pearls and many of the oolongs) are more compact and heavy. You will need only a thin teaspoon of these.

This is a guide only; be guided by your tastes and preference for more leaf or less leaf.

Brewing times

Sometimes we recommend a specific brewing time, one that we think produces the optimum result for that tea.

In other cases, we recommend a range – for example '3–3.5 minutes' –  this indicates that you will get good results anywhere in that range. Do keep an eye on the time as understeeping can result in a lack of flavour just as oversteeping can cause bitterness.


As most of our teas are unblended single-estate teas, they can vary from season to season. This means that the steeping parameters may also change – and this is why you may find new information on the website from time to time.

Many of the teas in the range, particularly the oolongs, but also many in the other categories can be steeped multiple times – so don’t waste your leaves after steeping only once.

If you would like any more information or advice, please contact us at

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