Ever wondered how poles apart steeping versus brewing tea are? As a tea lover, if you have never considered it before, I hope my blog will have you gripped as I explain how they contrast through 13 engaging facts.

I am a passionate tea blogger and run my own tea cafe in Kolkata city. I also want to make my own tea blends apart from brewing amazing topics centered around tea. 

Steeping versus brewing tea

Steeping Versus Brewing Tea- 13 Key Aspects To Consider For The Desired Texture

As a tea cafe owner and a blogger, I can say for a fact that tea is beyond just a beverage and has more shades to show to its takers. Now, while brew and steep are the two most important processes, have you wondered how they differ? Well, if the question has you pondering, read my blog further and learn about the 13 highlighting differences.

I have also made a table of contents so you can know the points that would be focused on.

Steeping Tea

Extracting flavors

Brewing Tea

The whole process

Steeping Tea


Brewing Tea


Steeping Tea


Brewing Tea


Steeping Tea


Brewing Tea


Steeping Tea

Highly Suggested

Brewing Tea

Not Preferred

Steeping Tea

Know the tea types, leaves in use, water type, etc

Brewing Tea

The correct temperature, tea leaves, etc

Steeping Tea


Brewing Tea

Tea making

Steeping Tea

To derive maximum flavors & nutrients, etc.

Brewing Tea

The desired texture & consistency, enhanced taste, etc.

Steeping Tea


Brewing Tea

User Dependent

Steeping Tea

kettles, teabags

Brewing Tea

Teapot, Gaiwan, French press, etc.

Steeping Tea


Brewing Tea

Yes though not advised

Steeping Tea

Depends on the time and tea leaves

Brewing Tea

Highly dependent on the steep time

Steeping Tea

Infusers, tea bags, etc.

Brewing Tea

Infusers, Gaiwan, saucepan, kettle, teapot, etc.

Now, that we have an idea of where we are heading from the above table, it is time to take each point and analyze each one in detail. I am surely intrigued to share my findings with you.

1. Steeping V/s Brewing Tea: The Difference In Their Meaning

Steeping and brewing are both essential processes without which our cup of tea will not taste the way we like it. However, they are poles apart and if you have never thought about how they are different then this point will clear the air. Let us see what they are in actuality.

Steeping is the process by which the hot liquid or in this case the water absorbs all the goodness of the tea leaves. You can include the aromatics, the color, etc.

Brewing on the other hand is the whole process that goes into making tea and which includes the steep time as well. In other words, right from boiling the water to adding the tea leaves and milk(optional) and then allowing it adequate time to brew or come to the desired consistency. This my friends is called brewing.

2. Steeping And Brewing Tea Both Have Different Time

If you have been thinking that both steeping and brewing don’t have any time consideration, then it is time to bust yet another practice. Let us see how they differ in terms of the time involved.

Steeping varies on a lot of factors but, the prime factor is the tea leaves used to make tea. Each tea leaves have their own temperature and ideal time that should be considered. I would recommend steeping tea for 3-15 minutes. Tisanes or herbal teas require 10-15 minutes of steep time. Wondering what tisane is? Read my blog about tea v/s tisane and get to know the differences through 31 comparable aspects. 

The brewing time is an important aspect that brings the desired color and consistency to a drink. I love to brew tea and which is something I learned at an early age. I have never timed it and being a milk tea person I add milk to the liquid when it has adorned a reddish tinge. I certainly suggest 1-4 minutes as the ideal brewing time. 

3. Steeping V/s Brewing Tea: Tea Bags Dependency

Teabags are cute little pouches that are filled with loose dried tea leaves and are a preferred way to make tea in most tea-drinking countries across the world. One just needs to dip them in hot water till the desired color is attained. Now, let us compare if steeping and brewing tea is dependent on teabags.

Since steeping is the process of involving flavors and aromas into the liquid we can say that it isn’t dependent on the usage of teabags. Teabags contain dust, fannings & broken leaves that results in a thin tasting liquid. Thus, we can say that steeping isn’t dependent on teabags.

We all know that teabags are used in most tea-drinking nations to brew their ideal cup and thus, we can say that this process is highly dependent on the usage of teabags. However, if you are using a herbal tea range, I suggest you opt for the tea leaves for a better infusion.

4. Comparing Steeping And Brewing Tea On The Basis Of Tea Leaves Dependency

The next point I would like to compare is if steeping and brewing tea can be carried out without tea leaves.

When we talk about steeping tea, a fragrant beverage is the first thing that comes to our minds and I am sure that tea leaves would be the last thing too. Now, since steeping involves extracting the maximum fragrance and flavor into the liquid be it any source, we can say that this method is not dependent on tea leaves.

On the other hand, brewing is highly dependent on tea leaves. You might be wondering how? The teabags too have tea leaves in them to an extent as they are mostly comprised of broken tea leaves that are further mixed with dust and fannings. Now, if you are wondering what fannings and dust are, read my blog about Darjeeling tea v/s Ceylon tea where I have mentioned them in detail.

5. Steeping V/s Brewing Tea: The Right Choice When A Cold Tea Is What You Desire

I hope by now you have a fair idea about how steeping and brewing tea vary and with the summer months approaching fast iced tea or cold tea will become a necessity in households. Let us see the process that is best suited for cold tea.

Being a tea-lover, I prefer making fresh iced tea and hate the packet version. When I am making the tea from scratch, I can add fresh seasonal fruits to my drink too. I make the tea a day before and let it steep in the fridge after the hot liquid has cooled down. I suggest steeping the liquid for 8-12 hours for a better tasting tea and further adding fruit syrups to it instead of regular sugar syrups. Thus, I would say that steeping is the better choice when iced tea is what you crave. 

Brewing is the end result and is directly dependent on the steep. However, tea experts would love to point out that this method is more suited for hot beverages and I couldn’t agree more. Over brewing or over boiling the tea leaves results in a bitter-tasting liquid that is often a result of steeping the leaves more than the required time. Brewing should never be carried out for more than 15 minutes and thus, it can be aptly said that brewing is best suited for hot tea. 

6. Steeping V/s Brewing Tea: Expert Advise To Follow

The next point I would like to talk about in steeping versus brewing tea is how they differ in terms of expert tips or professional advice.

When steeping tea, getting to know the tea leaves and their temperature is important. Not all tea leaves are the same and I would suggest experimenting with some brands before settling on your choice. Also, the timing is another thing to consider for steep depends a lot on the correct time.

Brewing too depends on the tea leaves, temperature, and careful timing so that the tea leaves aren’t over-boiled. Now, water plays an important role too and is the most neglected. You should always use filtered water that’s been kept at room temperature unless you want a lumpy or a cloudy tea. 

7. Steeping & Brewing Tea Are Known By Different Names

Let us now consider some names by which the two vital processes are also called.

Steeping is also called infusion, infusing, etc as it helps to extract maximum flavor and aroma into the liquid. Infusing literally means absorbing the goodness of the food item the liquid is mixed with. Hence, the names and I couldn’t agree more.

Brewing on the other hand unfortunately doesn’t have any alternate names by which it can be called as is evident from its name.

8. Comparing Steeping and Brewing Tea For The Benefits Offered

The benefits offered by any process form its crux and is a reason why it is popular. Let us then compare the benefits that both steeping and brewing are known for.

Steeping if done correctly gives a rich, aromatic, and flavorful tea that is blessed with antioxidants which in turn increases mental health, cures headaches, prevents insomnia, etc. In case you want to know some reasons why tea is popular, do read my blog about 27 practical reasons to love tea. 

Brewing too isn’t far behind and has its answers ready too. Some recognizable advantages are a rich-tasting tea that is aromatic too as it has all the goodness of the steeped liquid and at the same time, you get a full-bodied tea that tingles the taste-buds.

9. Comparing Steeping V/s Brewing Tea On The Basis Of Texture & Consistency

The most important aspect that differentiates steeping and brewing tea from the other are the texture and consistency.

A traditional cup of tea when steeped correctly gives a liquid that is blessed with aromatics and rich color. This is the texture and consistency one can expect from a steep done the right way.

Brewing on the other hand has a smooth consistency with a light texture that depends on how long you have steeped the tea as the longer the steep, the richer the color and robust tea. 

10. Steeping Versus Brewing Tea: Some Alternatives That Can Be Carried Out

Tea is a very giving drink and there’s no fixed method to make an ideal cup. So, why should it be dependent on traditional ways to carry out the steeping or brewing processes?

Most tea-drinking countries use kettles or tea bags to steep tea but, alternatives like tea infusers, insulated mugs or cups, etc are some amazing fill-ins when kettle or teabags aren’t handy.

Teapots are the preferred way to brew tea. Gaiwan, Coffee filters, saucepan, French Press, etc are some cool options. Now, imagine yourself at a place where there is no teapot. What will you do? Can you stay without your favorite beverage? If your answer is in the negative or the thought is nothing short of a nightmare, then my blog on how to brew tea without a teapot wherein 13 stupendous tricks have been mentioned should be bookmarked by you. 

11. Steeping V/s Brewing Tea: The Process That Can Be Repeated More Than Once

Let us now compare steeping and brewing tea based on whether they can be carried out more than once.

Steeping surely can be done as many times as you wish. However, it surely does depend on the tea leaves being used and I suggest 5-6 times at the maximum. Now, I wouldn’t recommend this for herbal tea as re-steeping will overboil the leaves and make for a bitter-tasting liquid. 

On the other hand, though many people would suggest that it is alright to brew tea more than once and use the same leaves once it has dried, I suggest otherwise. Excess brewing overboils the leaves and this will give you a foul-smelling liquid with a bitter taste. 

12. Comparing Steeping and Brewing Tea For Their Caffeine Content

Caffeine is a naturally occurring stimulant in coffee that helps stay awake and open those sleepy eyes. Tea too has caffeine though when we compare it with that of coffee misses the mark by quite an overwhelming line. Let us now, compare how steeping and brewing add to the caffeine level.

The caffeine level when steeping tea is directly related to the steep time and the tea leaves used. Tea contains caffeine and which varies depending on the tea type. 

Brewing on the other hand too isn’t caffeine-free. Tea leaves used and the steep time are the two major contributing factors that add to the caffeine level. Black tea has the highest caffeine level and if you want to switch to a caffeine-free tea, I suggest herbal tea or de-caff versions. 

13. Steeping V/s Brewing Tea: Utensils Required

The last point that I would like to talk about are the utensils required in brewing or steeping tea.

I love making tea and serving it to customers at my cafe. I highly rely on infusers and tea bags and suggest them as a no-hassle yet a quick way to aily insight make tea. 

Brewing on the other hand relies on teapots, kettles, and saucepans largely as they heat the water in a uniformed way and you get a robust tea with a smooth consistency. I love my tea brewed in a saucepan and highly suggest this utensil. 

This concludes my blog on steeping versus brewing tea and I hope you have a good idea of how they differ. Do bookmark this blog for future reference and visit my site for your daily dose of tea. Also, if you think you need to ask me something do drop them in the comment section below and I will be happy to answer them. 

Happy Sipping!