Maybe dipping a generic teabag into a cup of hot water was sufficient when you were in high school, but now that you’re getting a little older, it’s time to make tea like a real adult. It’s just one of those things you should know how to do before you turn 25. Here’s a handy how-to guide to help you make the most flavorful tea possible.

Buy the Right Materials

Buying high-quality tea bags is a no-brainer, but there are a few other options as well. The finest tea leaves usually come in loose leaf form, which means you’ll get total control over how much tea to use and how strong you’d like your cup to be.

So here are your options: You could go the route of buying a traditional tea pot. A dedicated pot has a small filter enclosure where you’ll place loose-leaf tea prior to pouring in a designated amount of hot water. You could also go the route of making your own tea bags with muslin cloth.

Either way, you’ll need the loose leaf variety of your choice, a pot with a built-in filter, or DIY bags. As an alternative, you can simply put your leaves into a cup, pour water on top, allow it to steep, and then strain the mixture through a muslin cloth.

Know Your Tea Types

Get familiar with the different types of tea at your disposal. Teas tend to fall into the following categories:

Steep It Properly

When you steep your tea, don’t, under *any* circumstances, simply leave the leaves in as you sip. Start by boiling cold water over the stove in a tea kettle, or at the very least, a pot (don’t just warm it up in the microwave). After the water is hot, pour it into your cup over the tea leaves. Then, allow it to steep for the proper amount of time — and be sure to use the right ratio of water to tea.

Consider Making Blends

Once you have the process down, you can consider mixing your tea leaves with other herbs and infusions to give your cuppa even more flavor.

For example, make a spicy chai blend by combining Darjeeling tea with cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and black pepper. For an herbal twist: Mix dried peppermint leaves with lavender buds, lemon peels, dried chamomile, and fresh ginger.

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