Keurig and Loose Leaf Tea Guide

Keurig and Loose Leaf Tea Guide: How to Brew?

Do you own a Keurig brewing machine and feel tempted to use it for brewing loose leaf tea? You may actually be able to get a great cup of tea with Keurig in no time, using only loose leaf tea and a reusable coffee filter.

How to brew loose leaf tea in a Keurig

It’s convenient, very easy to use, and brews coffee or tea in a matter of secondsKeurig and similar machines are the second most popular brewing systems in the world[1]. All you need to do is pop in a special coffee or tea pod, and in no time you will have a single serving of your favorite drink.

Alternatively, you may use it to brew loose leaf tea too. Although the original tea pods were created with the final flavor in mind, you may still get a good cup of tea if you choose the correct loose leaf tea leaves.

What is the best loose leaf tea for brewing in Keurig?

1.      Choose the right tea

Keurig brews coffee and tea at with the water temperature of around 192°F. This is suitable for most black teas, many green teas and oolong teas. Because Keurig doesn’t allow you to steep the tea, but rather just runs the hot water through the leaves, some tea types may be more appropriate.

2.      Choose broken tea leaves

Broken tea leaves will release more flavor than the full leaf. You will need a bit more time to steep a full leaf tea. For example, full leaf Assam tea will taste less intense than a broken Assam leaf. Moreover, it may have even three times less caffeine than the broken leaf.

Tip: Blue Lady Grey has larger leaves than Simple Earl Grey and will give a more delicate flavor.

3.      Avoid teas that require special temperatures

You may be able to  adjust the water temperature on some Keurig brewing machines, but those without that option will always brew tea at the same temperature. Avoid tea that could taste bitter if brewed with very hot water. For example, Japanese Gyokuro green tea of delicate premium Darjeeling black tea may become bitter if brewed incorrectly.

4.      Avoid teas with whole spices and fruits

Teas containing full uncrushed spices may not be the best option for Keurig brewing. They may need a bit extra time to release their flavors and you will end up with a very weak cup of tea. Alternative is choosing blends with crushed ingredients. For example, Chai tea with CTC tea leaves and crushed spices.

5.      Some finer teas may be a great choice too

Teas like raw pu’erh, high quality Silver Needle can actually be brewed using a very short 10-20 seconds steep with very hot water – exactly how Keurig will steep your tea. Even the Japanese sencha may be a good choice, as you will compensate the temperature with steeping time. All of them would be good for re-brewing too.

Which teas are not suitable for brewing in Keurig?

Any tea that requires extra attention and patience is not suitable for brewing in Keurig. Avoid really delicate teas and those that require re-steeping at different temperatures. Rooibos may cause problems too. To get a good cup of rooibos tea, you should steep the leaves for at least 5 minutes. Rolled oolong teas need more time to expand, so it’s better to avoid them too.

After you finish brewing, keep the tea leaves in a filter for a second or third brew. You can use them until they lose their flavor.

Fruit teas won’t give a nice cup either. They need much more time to release the flavor and usually contain bigger chunks of fruits.

Steps to brew tea in Keurig

To brew loose leaf tea in a Keurig you will need a re-usable K-cup mess filter. Make sure the machine is clean and there is no coffee scent or coffee residue anywhere in the machine.

  1. Fill the water filter and heat the water.
  2. You can preheat the cup first by running a brewing cycle with water only.
  3. Next, add about 1 heaped teaspoon of broken or CTC leaves, or 2 teaspoons of full leaf tea. If you are using a full leaf tea, chose the type with smaller leaves. 1-2 teaspoons of leaves will be enough for 8 oz cup.
  4. Place a cup in the machine and brew.

If your tea comes out too weak, add an extra spoon of leaves. Alternatively, you can wrap tea leaves in a clean cloth and crush them with a hand. You may even take out the K-cup filter and let it steep a bit longer directly in your mug.

If you want to enjoy the best benefits from both real or herbal teas, it’s better to brew them using a teapot instead. All teas – including white, green, oolong, black and herbal should be steeped at least for 1-3 minutes to get the best flavor and benefits.

Always make sure your brewing machine is clean before using it to brew tea. Coffee has a much more intense flavor and it will easily ruin any delicate tea. If you are using your Keurig for brewing coffee too, stronger black teas or more oxidised oolongs may be the best option.

Where to buy loose leaf tea

You can buy loose leaf tea in a supermarket, Asian grocery stores, traditional tea shops or online. The best loose leaf tea for Keurig would be regular every day tea, mostly black, including stronger and even flavored blends. Golden Mangalam, Organic Monk’s Blend, Acai Berry and Nuwara Eliya Estate tea all have broken leaves, unlike the Kenilworth Ceylon tea or Pettiagala Extra Long Leaf tea with beautiful unbroken leaves.


[1] https://www.statista.com/topics/2219/single-serve-coffee-market/