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The Agony of the Leaf: Open Vessel Steeping

The Agony of the Leaf: Open Vessel Steeping

The "agony of the leaf " is the term for the slow unfurling of a tea leaf in hot water. It is the process by which the leaf softens and begins to express its flavor, color and strength-- it’s essence-- into the water. It is beautiful and mesmerizing to watch.

While teabags offer convenience, they simply cannot offer the enchanting experience or depth of flavor of a loose-leaf tea that has been given the freedom to unfurl completely, unencumbered by strainers, baskets, tea balls or filter bags.


We call this Open Vessel Steeping: The act of simply placing leaves in an open pitcher or pot and adding hot water. When steeping is complete, the tea is poured from the teapot into a cup and enjoyed until it is time to add more water and reveal a new layer of flavor.  A long handled strainer can be placed on top of the cup to catch any renegade leaves. 


Loose Leaf Steeping Guide

  • Black Tea: 205° for 3-5 minutes
  • Oolong Tea: 185° - 205° degrees for 3-5 minutes
  • Green Tea: 180° - 185° for 1-3 minutes
  • White Tea: 175° - 185°  for 1-3 minutes
  • Botanical Tisanes: 185° - 205°  for 4-6 minutes