Boiling vs Steeping Tea: How to Make The Best Tasting Herbal Tea

Steeping tea leaves and boiling herbs are both common methods for making herbal teas. But how do you determine which is method to use for making the best tasting herbal tea?

In this artle we will help you decide. First let’s define the meaning of steeping tea, then we will see why you may choose to boil herbs for tea.

boiling vs steeping soursop leaf tea
Steeped vs. Boiled Soursop Tea

Finally, we’ll look at which herbal teas are suitable for steeping and which one are better suited for boiling and the benefits of both methods of making tea.

What Is Steeping Tea?

Steeping herbal tea means pouring hot water over the herbs and allowing them to infuse for a few minutes. 

Steeping tea is a more gentle process which can result in the tea having a smoother, more delicate flavor.

To steep tea simply place your tea herbs in a container, fill it up with hor water, cover the container, and let the herbs infuse.

Boiling Herbs For Tea

Boiling herbs to make tea involves bringing the water to a rolling boil and then adding the herbs.

The tea herbs are boiled for an average of ten minutes, then you lower the heat and let the tea simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes.

One advantage of boiling herbal tea is you can extract more flavor and nutrients from the herbs. The disadvantage is the tea can develop a bitter taste.

Best Steeping Herbs For Teas

Dried loose leaf herbs tend to be more suitable for steeping. A few example are different types of mint and herbs such as chamomile, rosemary and lavender.

Dried crushed Jamaica tea herbs such as Sorrel (Hibiscus tea), Soursop leaves, Guava leaf, Papaya leaves and Guinea hen are aslo great for steeping.

Boiling Herbal Teas

On the other hand, plant sections such as bark, roots, thick vines, and hard fresh leaves are better suited for boiling.

So if you are making tea with fresh herbs from your garden boilding the herbs may be the better option.

The length of time you boil herbs for tea will depend on the tea herbs you’re reusing and your personal preference.

Should You Cover While Steeping?

Do you need to cover tea while steeping? The answer is yes. Covering allows the oils and flavors of the herbs to stay in the container during the process. This ensures you get the full benefits from your herbal tea.

A good idea is to invest in a tea infuser with a lid (they come in different sizes and are farily inexpensive). This allows you to steep your tea without losing those wonderful benefits. Using a tea infuser will also save the trouble of having to strain your tea.

tea infuser with a lid
Tea Infuser With A Lid

In addition, you can use a saucer to cover your teacup or mug while steeping the tea.

Make Herbal Teas Taste Better

Excessive boiling or over steeping releases tannins that may make tea too strong taste or bitter. Here are a few tips to make your herbal tea taste better.

  1. Select premium quality herbs for making tea.
  2. Opt for crushed leaves over teabags when possible.
  3. Don’t over-steep. Five to ten minutes is enough for steeping most herbs.
  4. Add complementary spices such as lemon, ginger to improve the taste.
  5. Use natural sweeteners like raw honey or agave syrup to improve the taste.

Steeping Jamaican Herbal Teas

This is a short list of Jamaican bush teas you can steep and enjoy in few minutes. Of course, the steeping time varies depending on the herb used. You can view more teas here.

Jamaican Loose Leaf Teas

  1. Jamaican Sorrel (Hibiscus) tea
  2. Soursop leaves tea (crushed)
  3. Guava leaf tea
  4. Jamaican Peppermint tea
  5. Guinea hen weed tea

Steeping Time vs Boiling

  • Steep 3-5 mins Boil 3 mins
  • Steep-15 mins Boil 7-10 ins
  • Steep- 10 mins Boil 7-8 mins
  • Steep 3-5 mins Boil – never
  • Steep 15 mins Boil 10 mins


So, is it better to steep or boil tea? The method you choose depends on the type of herbs you’re using to make tea. While steeping allows you to enjoy you herbal tea faster, boiling ensures you to get the maximum benefits of the herbs.

You should also keep in mind that not all tea herbs are suitable for steeping. Dried crush leaves are better for steeping, but hard sections of tea herbs like barks and roots make the perfect herbal tea when they are boiled.

Of course you can adjust the times to suit your preference.

Disclaimer: This site is for informational purposes only. Therefore, nothing stated here should be viewed as medical advise. Please talk with your professional healthcare provider about matters relating to your health.

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