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devotea logo... Date Printed: 05-08-2021

Measuring Tea - Weigh or Scoop?

Have you ever bought an expensive loose Oolong tea, made it according to your usual procedure, and been disappointed by the cup of colored water that resulted? If you used a scoop to measure the tea, the result was predictable.

The problem occurs because a teaspoon of finely cut tea weighs much more than a teaspoon of whole leaf Oolong tea, and successful infusion requires a specific amount of tea by weight. The recommended starting point for any tea is 3 grams of tea for every 8 fluid ounces of water. (This is 13 - 14 grams of tea per liter of water.) Of course, that amount should be adjusted according to your preference for stronger or weaker tea.

As a general rule always adjust the amount of tea rather than the infusing time. All but a few teas get very bitter when the recommended time is exceeded.

What kind of scale is needed?

The scale needs to accurately measure grams. A scale that reads to 0.5 grams is a bare minimum. With this, a reading of 3 grams means you have somewhere between 2.75 and 3.25 grams. A scale that reads to 0.1 grams would be preferred. Very few typical kitchen scales, even electronic ones, can even get close to these levels of accuracy. This level of accuracy is found in scales designed for jewelers. Fortunately there are very suitable pocket scales in this market that are reasonably priced and work very well for weighing tea.

The scale should have a "tare" function. This allows you to zero the scale after a weight has been placed on the scale. For weighing tea, we want to place the infuser on the scale, zero the scale, and then weigh the tea as it is added. Most jeweler pocket scales will have this capability.

We should also be able to calibrate the scale on occasion. For this, the scale must be capable of user calibration, and it should include a calibration weight. These two features together are less common. Most scales can be calibrated, but many require the purchase of a calibration weight in addition to the scale, often from a separate company.

At we have a new pocket scale that meets all of these goals and is reasonably priced as well. Look for it under "t-sacs, infusers, tools >> Scoops and Scales" in the menu bar above.

When is a scoop okay?

Short answer - when it works! Once you know how many scoops of a particular tea give you the desired results, use the scoop alone if you want. When you are trying a new tea, or even a new package of your favorite, weigh it a few times until you get the number of scoops correct.