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Last Updated on April 20, 2021
How to Properly Brew Black Tea: Ultimate Guide
There’s nothing quite like having a nice cup of tea at the end of a long day. Sticking the kettle on the stove and then getting to sit back and relax while you enjoy your mug of tea in front of the television. It’s the perfect way to end a long hard day of work. But if you want to really enjoy your cup of tea, you need to know how to make it well.
Put in the effort one or two times at the start and you’ll be able to work out how you like it for all your future mugs. We will take you through the best way to brew a black tea both using a tea bag and using loose leaves, so you can be prepared either way. Plus we are going to give you some of our top tips, to help you achieve the best tea possible.
First though, let us take a quick glance at some of the amazing health benefits of drinking black tea, which can help to justify your decision to drink so much of this delicious warm drink.
Health Benefits of Black Tea
One of the beauties of black tea is that it contains less caffeine than coffee, while still containing more caffeine than other teas you can find on the market these days.
Containing caffeine isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. Drinking too much coffee can leave you feeling jittery, but the caffeine in your tea should be enough just to help stimulate you, and it can even help to improve your reactions, your mood, and your memory.
Black tea is full of antioxidants too, which are known to promote health. They can help to tackle high cholesterol and lower blood sugar levels, as well as reduce the risk of diabetes. Plus, flavonoids have been shown to reduce the risk of developing heart disease. It is one of the best teas for treating inflammation as well.
How to Brew Black Tea?: Overview
How do you brew a great mug of black tea? Will you be brewing a mug of black tea with a teabag, or will you be going for the slightly more complex option of loose leaf black tea? We’ll take you through both so that you are prepared for either eventuality.
Brewing Loose Leaf Black Tea
The main thing to consider when brewing loose leaf black tea is how much tea to use. The general idea is to use around 2 – 3 grams of tea per cup, or per person if you are going to brew it in a teapot.
The other thing that you need to remember is that the loose tea leaves need plenty of room to unfurl. For this reason, we would suggest that you use a tea basket, rather than a tea ball if you are going to be making individual mugs of tea. A tea basket is just a bit more open, and will give your tea leaves plenty of room to grow.
Having said that, both will work well in allowing your tea to brew, without you getting stuck with the leaves in your mug. If you are making tea in a teapot, then you can again use either a tea basket or a tea ball, or you can let them steep loose, as long as you strain them out while serving. Now we’ve been through the equipment.
The first step for brewing your tea is to boil water in a kettle, or just heat the water on the stove. However, you shouldn’t use boiling water. Yes, you need to boil water in the kettle, but you don’t want to use that boiling water. Either, bring it to the first boil, just when the first bubbles are starting to appear, or wait for the water to cool a little. You want the water to be 190º F to 210º F (85º C to 95º C for all our European friends).
Next, you should add the water to the mug or teapot, and then add the leaves in the tea basket, tea ball, or loose, as you prefer. Remember that as we mentioned before, you probably want 2 – 3 grams of tea per cup or person. That will give you plenty to get the full taste from them.
Once you have dropped in the tea leaves, it’s time to wait. Different people have different tastes but we would normally recommend that you wait 3 – 5 minutes. This time difference can produce very different results, depending on the type of tea. Therefore, we suggest that you do a bit of analysis on your first cup.
Give it a try after two and a half minutes. Then try it again every 30 seconds, through to five minutes. Keep a little record and see how you like it. From there, you’ll know how long you should brew it for. It’s best to carry this out for each type of tea that you try, so that you can get the perfect cup every time.
Brewing a Tea Bag of Black Tea
Now let’s take a look at how to brew black tea from a teabag. As with before, you should heat water in a kettle, but do not let it come to a strong boil. . Then choose your teabag. Some people like to reuse tea bags they have used before, so we suggest that you experiment with this for different types and see how the flavors hold up. It might work out perfectly for you.
Of course with a teabag, the quantity is easier to measure. One teabag per cup is plenty, and in a teapot, we would recommend one per person, plus one extra for the pot. Once the water is at the right temperature, pour it to the mug or teapot, and add the tea bag/s.
As with the loose tea leaves, we would suggest that three to five minutes is the right amount of time for your tea to be left brewing, and again, we suggest that you document it by trying it every thirty seconds to see which is your preferred taste.
You only need to do it once, but you might be surprised to find out what your preference is. Then your final choice is whether or not you add milk and/ or sugar. We recommend drinking it black, without any additions. If you haven’t tried it like that, then you should give it a go. It lets you get the full flavor and has additional health benefits.
Top Brewing Tips
Here are four top tips to keep in mind, to get a great cup of tea.
First, there is a common idea that if you want to make your tea stronger, you should leave the teabag in for longer. This is not how it works. Leaving the tea to stew for longer just makes it taste more bitter without getting more caffeine, antioxidants, or more flavors.. If you want to make your tea stronger, then you need to add more tea. Whether that would be more loose tea leaves or an extra bag of tea in the teapot is up to you.
If you prefer loose leaf tea, one teaspoon is enough for you to get rich flavors. The tea leaves need space to unfurl, so don’t overdo it by adding too many leaves.. The only exception to this is iced tea, which needs double the amount. This is because the cooler water doesn’t extract as much flavor.
Second, use a glazed teapot. It will prevent the flavor from gathering on the sides. Third, clean your tea immediately after use, and no we don’t mean stick it in the dishwasher. Tea stains and leaves its flavor behind. To be able to enjoy each new tea, you need to make sure that it is served in a clean teapot.
Finally, preheat the teapot before you brew your tea in it. This is an essential step to develop the perfect flavor, as it maintains the water temperature throughout the brewing process, rather than causing it to cool down.
Now that we’ve been through how to brew black tea, both with loose leaves and from a teabag, you can feel much more confident about what you need to do to brew an excellent cup of tea. If you follow our top tips as well, you can rest knowing that you will always be able to make that perfect cup of tea, without having to think about it, so you can just sit back, relax, and enjoy.
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