-soak (food or tea) in water or other liquid so as to extract its flavor or to soften it. (www.dictionary.com)
So here is a pet peeve and general words of wisdom all bundled together. Good things take time. Anything that describes itself as instant is a red flag. As Geri the Cleaner says in Toy Story 2 “You can’t rush art”. What I am trying to say here is, do not just dunk your tea bag into the cup of hot water and remove. Just leave it there for a few minutes. Because anything good in this beautiful planet of ours needs a few minutes. Let the extraction happen.
You want to know how much time? Excellent question. Let’s lay out some ground rules for that. But these are not absolute. It can vary based on water temperature, type of tea, & size of leaf. Green teas need steep time of 2 - 3 minute. Black teas are best with 3 - 5 minutes. Herbals can go for 4 - 5 minutes. Use your senses. Do you see color? Do you smell the aroma? Does it look ready?. [Word of caution: over steeping is a real thing. Don’t forget the tea bag in the cup. Remove it after it is ready. Otherwise your tea can get bitter] The more you drink and pay attention to the steep, you will find the correct steep times for you. But that requires paying attention.
The Chinese refer to the ceremony of preparing a cup of tea as gongfu (no, not the martial arts). Gongfu literally means “making tea with skill”. What skill could there be in placing tea leaves in hot water? The more you pay attention you will see there is much focus required. The right tea, cups, water, & time. None of that is instant. Take your time. Steep a hot one today.