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Black tea leaves or the camellia sinensis have immense health benefits because of their antioxidant properties. They reduce free radicals in the body and prevent chronic inflammation as a result. Additionally, black tea leaves also improve gut health, which is also called the second brain of the human body).
Black tea is quite popular in both the Eastern and Western hemispheres of the globe. Global consumers highly revere prominent black tea variants such as Earl Grey, English Breakfast, and Enticing Chai. Every region brews it differently, so there’s no single right way to do it.
However, I will share a few guidelines on how to brew black teato extract all the goodness and savor its taste to its fullest!
Use these devices and ingredients to brew a perfect black tea:
- Teapot: Preferably ceramic or cast iron
- Strainer or filter
- Measuring spoon or scale
- Thermometer (optional)
- Stirring spoon
- Black tea leaves: 2 – 3 grams
- Water: 6 ounces
- Optional add-ins: sugar fruit preservatives, honey, sliced lemon, milk
Perfecting the Use of Each Ingredient
Amount of Tea Leaves
Black tea is stronger than other tea variants like green tea. As a general thumb rule, for every six ounces of water, you can use two to three grams of black tea leaves. If you prefer a stronger tea, you can opt for the upper limit for that range.
You can also measure tea leaves by volume. Take one rounded teaspoon (or a kitchen scale) for smaller tea leaves. On the other hand, one to two teaspoons are enough for larger leaf sizes. Try and experiment to understand which version tastes better for you.
Type of Water
Black tea tastes equally great when brewed in spring water, filtered water, and tap water. However, avoid using distilled water, which makes the tea taste bland. We recommend fresh, cold water heated up to a rolling boil.
Leave the tap open and let the water run cold for a while. It is because tap water has less oxygen due to the prolonged duration of sitting in pipes. For the leaves to infuse effectively, you need proper oxygen levels.
A Note on Temperature
You should boil the water anywhere between 190° F to 212° F, which is the ideal temperature range for brewing black tea. For those who are very particular about an exact temperature, a thermometer will come in handy.
Too low a temperature and yot bringing out the tannins satisfactorily while too high a temperature will make it taste bitter.
Ideal Brewing Time
The brewing time differs with the type of tea leaves. Following are ideal brewing times for popular black tea variants mentioned earlier:
English Breakfast: 4 minutes
Earl Grey: 5 minutes
Darjeeling Chai: 3 minutes
Apart from Earl Grey, English Breakfast, and Darjeeling Tea, there are many other black tea variants, such as Chinese black tea, for which the temperature may vary.
How to Brew Black Tea
Now that we’ve figured out all the pre-requisites, let’s brew some black tea:
- Heat six ounces of water (filtered, spring, or fresh) in a ceramic kettle up to 190° F to 212° F (rolling boil).
- Place two to three grams of black tea leaves inside a cup or a teapot directly or by using an infuser.
- Pour the rolling boiled water over the leaves to “agitate” them.
- You need to keep the teapot cozy to retain the heat. So, cover it with a thick towel or place the lid over the teapot.
- Steep the tea for 3 – 5 minutes. Use a timer to measure the exact time!
- After brewing the black tea, filter the leaves using a strainer or just remove the infuser.
- You can use optional add-ins to make the tea taste more pleasant or sweeter.
Pro tip: Preheat the teapot before pouring the boiling water to enhance the taste of your black tea.
After 3 minutes of steeping the tea, you should take a sip every 30 seconds to check if it is set to your liking.
If you want to add milk, heat the black tea gradually and add an entire cup of milk.
Some of you may prefer adding sugar fruit preservatives, honey, sliced lemon, or milk in your black tea. Whether you add these ingredients at the beginning or towards the end, it depends on your taste.
Ideally, you can mix lemon with Earl Grey as it tastes the best with citrus flavors. On the other hand, black tea infused in milk is a common variant in the United Kingdom.
Remember not to use milk if you have already used lemon to avoid it getting curdled!
Make Tea Your Own
Ultimately, you’re brewing the tea for yourself, and your taste matters! So, feel free to experiment and find the right flavor for you. To achieve a stronger flavor, you can keep the leaves to water ratio higher.
Even though the maximum time recommended for steeping the tea is 5 minutes, you can increase the time to make it more caffeinated.
Moreover, if you are using sachets instead of tea leaves, you don’t have to “agitate” them. You can simply release the flavor by steeping the sachet.
Try not to squeeze the sachet to release bitter elements. Instead, you can just move it back and forth for stronger extraction!
Even though black tea is stronger than most other teas, it will not leave an unpleasant bitter taste if brewed correctly. That’s why it is important to consider brewing time, temperature, type of water, amount of tea leaves before beginning the process.
Ensure you have all the equipment and ingredients to bring out the desired taste.
Do you have more questions that may have been left unanswered by us? Visit our other articles to find out more about coffee and tea.