To Steep or To Brew?

Every time I see the word “brew” it immediately conjures up images of vats of lager and mounds of coffee beans waiting to be turned into heavy brown liquid, yet many tea companies refer to the process of making tea as “brewing”. This got me thinking… and I just spent the last hour doing google searches on the difference between steeping and brewing tea. This is what I gathered from the Free Online Dictionary…

Steep (

1. to soak or be soaked in a liquid in order to soften or cleanse
2. steeped in filled with: an industry steeped in tradition

Brew (

1. To make (ale or beer) from malt and hops by infusion, boiling, and fermentation.
2. To make (a beverage) by boiling, steeping, or mixing various ingredients: brew tea.
3. To concoct; devise: brew a plot to overthrow the government.
Did that make sense? Apparently to brew tea involves steeping but to steep tea doesn’t involve brewing. Interesting and confusing. So what is the correct way to make tea? Both seem to be the answer and I suppose it comes down to preference.  I will continue to steep my tea while others are welcome to brew theirs. For me it just comes down to the simple fact that I like the way “steeping tea” sounds as opposed to “brewing tea.” I’ll be steeping my morning tea (jade oolong) shortly, while some of you will choose to brew yours.
To Steep or To Brew?