Brewing the perfect cup of tea without a stovetop? It’s not impossible, we swear. In fact, it can be as easy as boiling water in a microwavable mug and plopping in a tea bag. Sure, sometimes you may feel up to putting a kettle on the stove and using a tea strainer. Sometimes your apartment doesn’t have a stovetop and you don’t have a choice. The good thing is that stove-less methods can make a mean cup of tea.

Text by Cameron Sullivan

Hanging teabag with black background.
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Tea Basics

If you don’t know how to brew tea, welcome. We’re glad you’re here to join us in our sweet addiction. And we mean all of us: tea is the second most popular drink in the world after water. What’s more, it’s almost as easy to make as a glass of water. The first step? Get some tea bags. Try this sampler pack: they have lots of varieties so you can find what you like. You may even want to try samplers containing varieties of the same kind of tea. We stock our shelves with fruit teas, green teas, herbal teas, and black teas. Is it a bit much? Maybe, but we always have the right blend when tea-spiration strikes. For a bit more about the brewing process itself, check out this Tea 101. Our best advice? Try everything to find out what you like. Everyone’s taste is different.

Loose leaf tea overspilling teacup.
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Name that Leaf

What’s the difference between green and black tea? What is Rooibos and is it really good for you? Who’s Earl Grey, anyway? If you’re feeling overwhelmed by tea terms and types, check out this list of teas and tea drinks. Ready to learn more about the terms of tea tasting (yes, like wine tasting; yes, it’s a thing)? This is an excellent guide.

Electric tea kettle, tea cups.
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The Tools of the Tea Trade

Now that you’ve determined your personal tea tastes, it’s time to tackle the tools of tea-making. If you’re looking for a simple way to boil water, try an electric kettle. Once it’s hot, all you have to do is pour and steep.

However, if you’re already sold on the tea experience and want to dive deep in, try this kit. It comes with a teapot and an infuser, so all you need is tea to start brewing like a pro. Or at least someone who drinks tea frequently.

Steaming hot tea in R2D2 mug.

The Microwave Method

We all know that cabinet space in apartments can be tight. If you don’t want to take up vital storage space with tea-making gear, there’s a simple solution: the microwave. It may be much-maligned, but the microwave method is tried and true (just don’t tell your British friends). Get a microwave-safe mug and fill it with water. Take a wooden stirrer or chopstick and put it in the water. Then, microwave the cup in short intervals, stirring occasionally. Once it looks like it’s boiling, start making your tea. We recommend this friendly dinosaur tea infuser, if you’re opting for loose leaf tea instead of bags.

Strain with No Pain

Sometimes you’ve got loose tea leaves but no loose tea strainer. You could just drink your tea straight and read the leaves, like they did in Harry Potter. If you don’t like leaves touching your lips, try using a slotted spoon or fork and steep the tea in one mug then drink it from another.