Table of Contents
- Does the type of tea matter for brewing?
- Boiling the perfect tea water
- Steeping black tea
- Clean up
How to Prepare Black Tea
The four major types of tea all come from one tea bush but the end products of these teas differ in taste and aroma. Typically, the secret to a good cup of tea lies in its preparation. It is not just a ritual that has to be followed, but, taking the time and doing it with passion brings out the best in every cup.
Black tea has a special preparation as does green, oolong, and white tea. Though there are tea bags available in the market that make everything simple and convenient to prepare, nothing still beats making tea from whole or loose leaves for the fuller flavor you get from its brew. And there’s nothing to worry about since black tea from loose leaves is fairly simple to prepare.
To prepare the perfect cup of black tea and bring out its best flavor, one would need black tea leaves, a teapot or kettle, cold water, and if you want –milk, lemon or honey.
Does the type of tea matter for brewing?
If you plan to use freshly dried leaves, pluck very young leaves and leaf buds. With a rolling pin, roll the leaves and crush them until you see that they have darkened and become red. Spread them out to dry for two to three days in a cool location. After which, put them in the oven and heat at 250F for 20 minutes. You now have tea leaves ready for brewing.
Boiling the perfect tea water
Get fresh cold water and bring it to a boil. If you are sourcing water from the tap, let it run for a few seconds to avoid a flat-tasting tea. Scientific explanation from the experts at Oregon State University says that tap water that is allowed to run for a few seconds brings in more oxygen in the water thereby giving a better flavor to the tea. Remember that cold water needs to boil. Do not create shortcuts by using water that’s already hot direct from the tap. The kind of water you use will make a big impact on the result of the tea flavor.
Get about a cup of the boiled water and pour it into your small teapot, which can be made of ceramic or glass, as long as it’s not metal, and cover it to warm the inside. Swirl the water and then empty the teapot.
Put in black tea leaves. Experiment with the quantity according to your tea strength preference. Usually, a ratio of 1 heaping teaspoon of loose tea for every 8 ounces of water is used.
Pour in a little amount of boiling water and remove immediately. This is one step called ‘rinsing of tea leaves’ that’s particularly for black tea only. After which, pour enough boiling water into the teapot to achieve your desired tea mixture.
Steeping black tea
Allow the tea leaves to brew in the water for 2 to 3 minutes. Avoid stirring while steeping the tea leaves. A shorter time period of infusing tea, especially for high-quality ones makes the best tea than steeping more than the recommended time frame. Leave it covered. If you really want a stronger flavored cup of black tea, leave it for up to 5 minutes. Don’t let it steep longer or you will create a tea with a very bitter taste.
Then, just like the rinsing of the teapot, rinse cups to be used with hot water. Get your teapot and pour into the cups your finished brewed tea using a strainer. You can now enjoy your tea!
If there is unused tea left, strain the tea leaves and cover it. Leaving the leaves in the pot for a long time will destroy the flavor of black tea.
If you choose to add milk and sweeteners, this must be done after the tea is strained and not inside the teapot with the leaves.
Some people prefer to make a second infusion using the same leaves in another pot. They even claim that the 2nd infusion is a lot better. High-quality black tea can be infused many times over.
These are the simple preparations for a wonder drink which you may even learn to enjoy more than your usual morning beverage! If you are looking for some great flavored black tea I would suggest my personal favorite