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Guide on How Long to Steep Chamomile Tea

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Posted:

August 10, 2021

When making your favorite cup of tea, do you typically take note of how long the packaging indicates you should steep it? Many people do not, however, knowing and following the recommended steep time can greatly improve the quality and health benefits of Chamomile tea.

Chamomile lovers, in particular, may wonder about the ideal steep time required to produce a soothing cup of their tea of choice. While it’s generally advised that chamomile tea steep for 5–7 minutes, other factors go into steeping the perfect cup. To understand the secrets of chamomile tea-steeping, take a look below at our comprehensive guide.

How Is Chamomile Tea Prepared?

Chamomile tea is a tea made from the heads of Chamomile flowers. This makes it an herbal tea rather than a “true” tea because it’s not derived from the same type of plant as green or black tea. However, just like true teas, chamomile tea can come in various forms, from individually bagged to loose leaf. Chamomile tea can also be served hot or cold, depending on your preference.

The form your chamomile tea takes, as well as your temperature preference, makes all the difference when it comes to proper preparation.

How Long Do You Steep Chamomile Tea?

While it’s generally recommended that chamomile tea is steeped for about 5 minutes, other sources note that you can steep chamomile for as long as 15 minutes.[1]

Why the variation?

Because chamomile is an herbal tea, it doesn’t necessarily behave the same way a true tea might. This means there’s some flexibility within the recommended steep time.

Why Do Steep Times Matter?

The amount of time a tea steeps can significantly affect its taste, particularly when it comes to true teas, such as black teas and green teas. If tea isn’t steeped long enough, it may taste weak and lack flavor. If over-steeped, a tea may taste bitter. This bitterness is often linked to chemical compounds within the tea called tannins.[2]

However, these tannins don’t present themselves as strongly in chamomile, meaning a longer steep time won’t result in the same type of bitterness. Plus, because chamomile is naturally milder, it requires a longer steep time to produce a stronger flavor profile.

Preparation Methods: Bagged vs. Loose Leaf

In addition to timing, how you steep your chamomile tea will depend on the form it’s in. Let’s take a closer look below.

Bagged Teas

The method of steeping that makes the most sense with bagged teas is the pour-over method. This refers to when a tea bag sits in your cup, and water that’s been heated on a stove or in an electric kettle is poured over it. Then, the tea bag sits in the water as the tea steeps.

Loose Leaf Teas

Loose leaf chamomile tea can be prepared using two different methods: the kettle and pot method or the strainer method.

The Kettle and Pot Method

Did you know that there’s a difference between a tea kettle and a teapot? A tea kettle is a device used to heat water, while a teapot is what the water is poured into after it’s been heated. Often, teapots will have an internal infuser you can place loose leaf tea into so that it doesn’t float around the inside of the pot (and make its way into your cup when you pour it).

To use this method, heat your water in your tea kettle, then pour it into your teapot along with your tea. Once your chamomile is finished steeping, you can pour yourself a cozy cup.

Strainer Method

Another way to steep your loose leaf tea is to use a strainer—a device similar to an infuser, which allows loose tea to steep in water without floating around. In fact, strainers may also be referred to as infusers. Although they’re commonly made of stainless steel, strainers can also be made of other materials, including:

  • Silicone
  • Plastic
  • Glass
  • Bamboo

Strainers also come with varying hole sizes. Those with larger holes work better for chamomile teas that are coarser in nature, while those with smaller holes work well with chamomile tea that’s been finely ground.

The most popular types of strainers include:

  • Basket – Basket strainers look exactly as they sound—like a basket. These strainers are supported by the rim of your cup and may or may not have a lid.
  • Cylinder – Cylinder strainers are usually slim and come with a lid. Depending on the shape, a cylinder strainer may also be referred to as a basket strainer.
  • Egg – The egg infuser is shaped like a sphere with a latch that lets you place your tea inside and secure it while steeping. These types of infusers are often attached to either a chain or a stick.
  • Novelty – Novelty infusers can come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They may resemble animals, human characters, or inanimate objects. To steep your tea, novelty infusers may partially float in the water, grip the rim of your cup, or sit at the bottom of your cup.

Serving Temperature

When tea is mentioned, some people think of a hot cup on a chilly evening, while others envision an icy glass on a warm afternoon. Whatever your preference, take a look at how to enjoy the floral sweetness of freshly-steeped chamomile.

Hot Chamomile

Chamomile is typically consumed as a warm beverage due to its status as a soothing and relaxing drink. For a hot cup, you can choose to steep your chamomile for 5–7 minutes using the pour-over method, the kettle and pot method, or the strainer method. No matter which you choose, remember to use a heat-resistant cup or mug, such as one made of ceramic or glass, to enjoy your first sip.

Alternatively, you can use hot chamomile as an ingredient in a tea-inspired dessert recipe.

Iced Chamomile

Iced tea makes up between 75–80% percent of tea consumed in the United States.[3] If you’re making a single serving of this refreshing beverage, you can prepare it the same way you would a cup of hot tea, allowing the tea to steep in warm water. Once your steeped tea is cool, you can pour it over ice.

For multiple servings, use one teaspoon of tea for each cup of tea you plan to make. Heat the desired amount of water, add your tea, and let it steep for a longer period of time, usually about 30 minutes. Once your tea is steeped and cooled, you can add ice and serve.

General Tips for Making Tea

While there aren’t too many steps involved in making a cup of tea, there are a few tips you can keep in mind to help ensure your tea’s quality.

  • Water to tea ratio – A general rule of thumb for making tea is to use one teaspoon of tea for each cup you plan to make. Because the amount of tea in a chamomile tea bag can vary depending on where it’s from, it’s always wise to read the recommended water amounts listed on the packaging.
  • Water quality – Using fresh, filtered water that’s free of impurities will help you achieve the best tasting cup of tea every time.
  • Tea quality – Herbal teas don’t exactly expire, but they can lose their potency if they’ve been stored for a significant amount of time. Our teas typically have a shelf-life of 2 years.

What Can I Add to My Chamomile Tea?

Chamomile has a fruity, floral scent and taste. In fact, its name originates from the Greek for “ground apple” because it was thought to have a smell similar to apples.[4] It can also have notes of honey to it, and once steeped, has a light, honey-like color.

While the flavor of chamomile is often pleasing enough on its own, you can highlight its smooth side or pair it with additional flavors to make the taste more strong or tart.

Some ingredients you can use to enhance or change the flavor of your chamomile tea include:

  • Milk, cream, or milk alternatives
  • Honey, agave nectar, or other natural sweeteners
  • Slices of fresh apple
  • Other types of tea, such as black or hibiscus
  • Lemon or lime juice
  • Lavender
  • A combination of any of the above

As mentioned earlier, chamomile tea has a milder flavor than black tea or green tea, so you can really experiment with it, such as a chamomile tea latte. Reference all of our chamomile tea recipes to mix it up.

Ideal Time to Drink Chamomile Tea

Does chamomile tea have caffeine?  The answer is no and the truth is you can enjoy chamomile tea any time of the day. But if you are having trouble sleeping, then try brewing a cup of chamomile tea before going to bed. If you’re wondering, “Does chamomile tea help you sleep ?” The answer is yes because it contains apigenin, which is a flavonoid known to relieve insomnia.* Aside from its sedative properties, you can also drink chamomile tea when you’re having an upset stomach, the flu, or menstrual cramps.*

Give Yourself A Premium Chamomile Experience with The Republic of Tea

Now that you know the recommended amount of time to steep your chamomile tea, along with a myriad of ways to prepare it, you’re ready to properly steep and thoroughly enjoy your next refreshing cup.

Need to stock your chamomile shelves?

The Republic of Tea offers a premier selection of delicious chamomile teas, both loose leaf and bagged, so you can choose the form that you find sweetest. We also carry a number of specialty items in our pantry that you can use to switch up the taste of versatile chamomile, such as our Pumpkin Spice Honey Cream or Organic Agave Nectar.

Steep your next tea-inspired adventure today by traveling to The Republic of Tea.

 

*The Site cannot and does not contain medical/health advice. The medical/health information is provided for general informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Accordingly, before taking any actions based upon such information, we encourage you to consult with the appropriate professionals. We do not provide any kind of medical/health advice. Information and statements about the products on this site have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

 

Sources:

 

Little Flower Hut. All About Chamomile. https://www.littleflowerhut.com.sg/flower-guide/all-about-chamomile-matricaria-recutita-history-meaning-facts-care-more/

Healthline. 5 Ways Chamomile Tea Benefits Your Health. healthline.com/nutrition/5-benefits-of-chamomile-tea

Kitchen Appliance Headquarters. Does Herbal Tea Expire? https://kitchenappliancehq.com/does-herbal-tea-expire/

Healthline. How to Steep Tea Like an Expert. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-steep-tea#true-vs-herbal-tea

Teasteeping. Why Does Tea Get Bitter? 5 Reasons for Bitter Tea and Fixes. https://teasteeping.com/why-does-tea-get-bitter/

Tea Association of the U.S.A. Tea Fact Sheet 2019-2020. http://www.teausa.com/teausa/images/Tea_Fact_Sheet_2019_-_2020._PCI_update_3.12.2020.pdf

Oh, How Civilized. Chamomile Tea: What It Is, Steps to Make it Properly, and Benefits.https://www.ohhowcivilized.com/chamomile-tea/

What is Apigenin? A Summary of Apigenin https://www.lifespan.io/news/a-summary-of-apigenin/ 

What are the benefits of chamomile tea? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320031#benefits-of-chamomile-tea

 

 

[1] Healthline. How to Steep Tea Like an Expert. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-steep-tea#true-vs-herbal-tea

[2] Teasteeping. Why Does Tea Get Bitter? 5 Reasons for Bitter Tea and Fixes. https://teasteeping.com/why-does-tea-get-bitter/

[3] Tea Association of the U.S.A. Tea Fact Sheet 2019-2020. http://www.teausa.com/teausa/images/Tea_Fact_Sheet_2019_-_2020._PCI_update_3.12.2020.pdf

[4] Little Flower Hut. All About Chamomile. https://www.littleflowerhut.com.sg/flower-guide/all-about-chamomile-matricaria-recutita-history-meaning-facts-care-more/

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