Today, there’s one appliance almost every tea drinker has – an electric kettle. Electric kettles became indispensable in almost every kitchen and making a cup of tea or coffee without one may sound like an impossible task. But what if you still want or need to make a cup of tea without an electric kettle? It’s easier than you think. Learn two different ways how to make tea on the stove.
Brewing tea on the stove is simple
Yes, brewing tea on the stove is simple. Long time ago when electric kettles were still not in common use, people were still drinking a lot of tea. How did they make it? Using a stove was one way. The other way, that’s still in use, was by boiling water in a cauldron. It was mostly reserved for different tea ceremonies.
Kitchen tools you need
You can make tea on the stove by either using a regular saucepan, a stovetop kettle, or a cezve, a small pot with a long handle used for making Turkish coffee. You will also need a strainer to strain the tea or an infuser or a teapot, and of course, your favorite mug.
1. Stovetop kettle
Stovetop kettles have been hugely popular before electric kettles became the norm. Today, with their retro look, they are becoming popular once again. Using a stovetop kettle is quite easy. Once the water is boiled, they will produce a whistling sound reminding you that you can now make your tea. However, don’t steep tea leaves in your stovetop kettle. Use them only for boiling the water, not for steeping. Instead, use a regular teapot or an infuser to steep loose leaves.
Best for: black tea or if you want the easiest way to boil the water
Tetsubin is a type of stovetop teapot/kettle commonly used in Japan. Traditional cast iron tetsubins were used for both boiling the water and sometimes for steeping loose leaf tea, but modern types are not suitable for using on the stove. Traditionally, they were heated over a charcoal fire. Modern enamel coated tetsubins are used in the same way you would use a regular teapot and they usually come with a removable stainless steel strainer. Unless you are absolutely sure your testubin is from pure cast-iron without an enamel coating, don’t use it for heating the water.
Best for: Proper way of making Japanese tea
You can use a regular saucepan for boiling water too. What makes saucepan great is that you can actually control the water temperature. How? By looking at the bubbles. Bubbles start forming in the water before it’s boiled. In the Chinese tea culture, stages of boiling water have a very descriptive name–“shrimp eye”, “crab eye”, “fish eye”, “rope of pearls” and “raging torment”.
Shrimp eyes are small little bubbles that first start forming on the bottom of the saucepan. That’s usually the perfect temperature for making green tea. You can recognize the next stage by slightly bigger bubbles, also at the bottom of the saucepan. That will be an ideal temperature for stronger green teas or second infusions of delicate green tea leaves. “Fish eyes” are visibly bigger bubbles. That water will be perfect for Darjeeling tea, many oolong teas and white tea. In the fourth stage you will see bubbles becoming bigger and floating to the surface until they reach the last stage – boiling water. That means the water has reached 212 °F. The last two stages are great for making black and herbal tea.
If you are using a kettle, never use the one that has rust, burned food residue, or strange scent. It could ruin the water and significantly influence the tea taste. However, you may use saucepans for both boiling the water and steeping tea leaves.
Cezve is a type of traditional Turkish and Eastern European pot for brewing finely ground coffee. Traditionally it was made from copper, but the modern cezve is often made from stainless steel or Teflon. They come in different sizes and are great to heat water for tea too. However, never use the same cezve for making coffee and boiling water for tea because you may end up with water smelling of coffee.
Best for: boiling water for any type of tea, boiling/brewing tea
How to Make Hot Tea on the Stove
To make hot tea on the stove using a simple saucepan:
- Choose a clean, small saucepan.
- Add just a little over 1 cup of water into a saucepan.
- Bring it to a boil or remove from fire once your water reached the right temperature for the tea type you want to make.
- Add tea leaves to a teapot or into a tea infuser. Alternatively, add tea bags.
- Pour the water over tea leaves.
- Wait 2-5 minutes, depending on the type of tea. Follow the recommendations for the best steeping time suggested on the tea packaging.
- Strain or remove the tea bag and serve.
How to Make Iced Tea on the Stove
If you want to make iced tea or sweet tea on the stove, we recommend making a stronger infusion.
- Choose a clean small saucepan.
- Add 1 cup of water into a saucepan.
- Bring it to a boil. If you are making black, rooibos or oolong tea, add double the amount of tea leaves. And let it simmer for 5 minutes over low fire. If you are making green iced tea, remove from heat and let it cool for a minute or two. Add double the amount of tea leaves and let it steep for 5 minutes. Strain into a shaker filled with ice. Add sweetener. Close and shake vigorously. Pour into a glass and add more ice if needed.
Check out this tea recipe for making the best homemade iced tea.