Have you been trying to make a decent cup of black tea, but no matter what you do, it just never tastes good? You’re not alone! It can be tough to find the perfect way to make tea, especially when everyone has their own specific preferences on what brewing method to use, what flavors to add, etc.
However, once you understand a few simple tips and tricks, you’ll realize that it’s actually super easy to make the perfect cup of tea that satisfies your taste buds. Whether you’re trying to make sweet tea, iced tea, English Breakfast, Earl Grey, or your basic black tea, this guide will make you into a tea connoisseur in no time! Keep reading to learn how to make black tea taste good.
What is Black Tea Made Of?
Black tea comes from the leaves of a bush called Camellia Sinensis, a large-leafed tea plant from the Assam district of India, where it grows in warm, tropical climates.
Some of the most popular types of black tea are Assam, Darjeeling, Ceylon, and Kenyan. The flavor of black tea is stronger than other teas and contains more caffeine than most teas as well.
Nutritional Facts of Black Tea
Black tea contains a variety of health benefits. It’s rich in antioxidants that help improve heart and gut health and lowers cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and inflammation.
By consuming these antioxidants, regular black tea drinkers will likely have a decreased risk of chronic disease, heart disease, cancer, and stroke, as well as improved focus, gut health, and immunity. It’s also excellent for lowering systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of black tea’s health benefits:
- Alkaloids (including caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine): Natural stimulant that is antibacterial and antiviral.
- Amino acids: Help break down food, grow and repair body tissue, build muscle, boost the immune system, and sustain a normal digestive system.
- Carbohydrates: Fuel your brain, heart muscles, kidneys, and central nervous system.
- Potassium: Maintains a normal level of fluid in our cells.
- Magnesium: Supports muscle, nerve function, and energy production.
- Phosphorus: Needed for your body to make protein for the growth, maintenance, and repair of cells and tissues.
- Proteins: Help build lean muscle, reduce muscle loss, maintain a healthy weight, curb hunger, and speedy recovery from injury.
- Chlorophyll: Boosts red blood cells, heals damaged skin, prevents cancer, stimulates weight loss, neutralizes toxins, and cuts inflammation.
- Flouride: Prevents tooth decay by strengthening enamel.
- Aluminum: Protects the body against infection and other free radicals.
How to Make Black Tea
Making black tea is super basic and simple. Just find a way to boil some water, steep your tea, and you’re golden! There are a few different ways to brew your black tea, and the method that may be common in your culture might be something completely different in another.
China, for instance, conducts a traditional Chinese tea ceremony called Gong fu cha. With this method, they brew concentrated amounts of loose-leaf tea in small vessels for a short period. Depending on the type of tea, the same leaves will be re-steeped up to ten times.
Travel West to the Americas and Europe, however, and you’ll find that tea is brewed in Western style. This method requires one big teapot for boiling the water that’ll then get poured into a cup with either a teabag or tea infuser. The tea then gets removed once it’s finished steeping.
Ultimately, how you make your tea depends on your personal preference. But here are some common (more Western) household methods that will brew you a perfect cup of black tea.
The stovetop is probably the most common, foolproof method for making tea. Simply boil a teapot or saucepan full of water. Once it boils, get your teabag or infuser full of loose-leaf tea and place it in your cup. Carefully pour the boiling water over the tea to help ‘agitate’ the leaves. Then, let the tea brew to its desired flavor and remove the tea leaves from the water. Enjoy!
Rather not use extra dishes? No problem! You can easily make your black tea in the microwave, although it may not brew as quickly. Just fill your microwave-safe tea cup with water and microwave it for 1 to 3 minutes until the water boils. Then, dunk your tea bag or tea infuser into the water and allow the tea to brew.
Electric Kettle (With Infuser)
Using an electric kettle is one of the most convenient tea brewing methods. Fill your kettle with water and bring it to a boil. Then add your loose tea to the infuser capsule. Let it steep, and remove the infuser when brewed to your desired taste. Pour your black tea into a cup and enjoy!
How to Make Black Tea Taste Good
Find Your Favorite Type of Black Tea
First and foremost, you need to figure out what kind of black tea you like. Tea comes in three forms: loose, in a sachet, or in a tea bag, and each has a different flavor profile. Many believe that loose tea has the best flavor as they are large and unfurl in the water to create a stronger tea flavor.
Tea sachets, also known as pyramid bags, are pre-packaged but still contain large tea leaves. The pyramid shape helps leave room for the leaves to open up and brew. Tea bags, on the other hand, have smaller pieces of ground-up tea and are considered by many the lowest in quality and flavor. But many swear by it, so it’s really up to your own tastes.
Use Filtered Water
Using filtered water is important when brewing tea because the taste of the water will drastically impact the taste of the tea. Tap water is more likely to have an off taste, thus giving your tea an off taste as well.
Heat Water to the Right Temperature
Believe it or not, different types of tea should brew at different temperatures. Black tea, for instance, should be brewed with boiling water as it is processed longer than green tea, which shouldn’t use boiling water. This way, all the flavor of the black tea can get properly extracted.
Preheat the Tea Cup and Kettle
This step is often overlooked but can really make a difference in the quality of your tea. Pouring a little hot water into whatever vessel you plan to brew your tea, whether a mug or a teapot, will keep your hot brewing water from instantly cooling in a cold mug once poured. This will help extract all the good flavors of your black tea.
Use the Correct Amount of Tea
Too little tea will brew a tea that tastes watered-down, but too much tea will make tea with a strong, bitter taste. Therefore, it’s important to ensure you use the correct amount of black tea. A good rule of thumb for tea bags is to use one bag per 8 ounces of water. As far as loose tea goes, approximately 1-2 teaspoons per 8 ounces will do!
Add Sweeteners While Steeping
Adding your favorite sweetener while your black tea is steeping will provide a bit of extra sweetness to compliment your tea’s flavor. The hot water will dissolve the sweetener nicely, whether it’s raw sugar, cane sugar, or an artificial sweetener.
Don’t Steep For Too Long
Steeping your tea for too long can create an unpleasant, bitter taste, and it’s probably the most common way to ruin a good cup of tea. Steep your tea for at least 3 minutes for the flavor and caffeine to extract, but wait no longer than 5 minutes before removing your tea.
Customize With Flavor
Probably my favorite part of tea — adding the milk, cream, and syrups! This is when you’re free to put in any additives that you find to make your black tea especially tasty. Whether that’s making your tea into a latte by adding steamed or frothed milk, adding honey or vanilla simple syrup, or—dare I say—pumpkin spice, the options are endless.
Try Different Flavors
Black tea comes in many different options, and they are not all created equal. If you don’t like your black tea, there are many ways to go about trying different ones.
You can try a different brand of black tea, or you can try an entirely different flavor. For instance, there is Darjeeling, Earl Grey, and Assam, as well as Scottish, English, or Irish breakfast tea, among others. All of these have different flavor profiles and different notes of sweetness and earthiness, and just because you don’t like one type doesn’t mean you won’t like them all. Try a couple of different ones and see what you like best.
Pair It with a Tasty Dessert
Sometimes tea just requires a tasty little treat. You may not like tea on its own, but if you have something to eat with it, like a scone or a cookie, you will probably like it a little bit more.
Having black tea with something tasty will bring out the flavors in the tea, and the tea will bring out the flavors in the baked good as well, making it a truly wonderful eating experience, and it might eventually lead you to like black tea on its own.
Drink It Iced
Perhaps you don’t like black tea because you don’t like its temperature. If that’s so, try iced black tea.
You can have iced tea on its own, or you can turn it into a cocktail or mix it with lemonade. You can add some sweetener or some sprigs of herbs. There are tons of different possibilities when you have iced tea instead of hot tea.
Add Some Milk and Sugar
If you do like to keep your tea hot, try adding some milk and sugar to it. Just as it does with coffee, adding milk and sugar sweetens up your tea and makes it a little bit richer.
Adding milk and sugar to your tea isn’t quite as popular in the United States as it is in other places around the world, but it is still a great way to improve your tea’s taste.
Add a Different Sweetener
Instead of using cow’s milk or heavy cream, use plant-based milk or a dairy-free creamer. And instead of using sugar as a sweetener, try honey, agave, or even maple syrup.
There are tons of other sweeteners that you can use, as well, and each one will make your black tea a little bit sweeter. It’ll also take on some new flavors, giving it depth and differentiation from before.
Add Some Spices
Don’t be afraid to add some spices to your black tea, as well. Cinnamon and nutmeg will go a long way in improving the taste of your black tea, as will more unconventional options like cumin or paprika.
Adding a little bit of spice will add to the tea’s flavor, but it’ll also pull out some of its natural flavors. It’s a simple way to make black tea taste better without using too many additives.
Make a Coffee Drink
If you still don’t like the flavor of black tea, even after you’ve properly steeped it, try turning it into a coffee drink. Coffee drinks can be made in dozens of different ways, and you can mix your tea with espresso to make different coffee drinks, such as a latte. All you need to do is mix the espresso and the black tea with some foamy milk, and you have yourself a delicious dessert drink.
How to Make Black Tea Taste Good – FAQs
Is it good to drink black tea every day?
Yes. It is perfectly fine to drink black tea every day. Research has shown that those who consume two or more cups of black tea daily have a 9% to 13% lower risk of death than those who don’t drink black tea.
Is black tea healthier than coffee?
Black tea is a better choice than coffee if you desire to lose weight. However, research has shown that both are great for preventing heart disease, diabetes, and potentially cancer.
What is the difference between black tea and regular tea?
Black tea has a stronger flavor than any other type of tea due to the complex oxidation process. It also has more caffeine than most other teas and is a great energy booster.
What tea is good with lemon?
There are many different types of tea that pair well with lemon. Here are a few examples:
- Black tea: Black tea has a robust flavor that pairs well with the tartness of lemon. You can add a slice of lemon to your black tea to enhance its flavor.
- Green tea: Green tea has a light, grassy flavor that can be complemented by the citrusy taste of lemon. You can add a squeeze of lemon juice to your green tea for a refreshing twist.
- Herbal tea: Many herbal teas, such as chamomile and peppermint, can be enhanced with a squeeze of lemon. Lemon can add a bright, zesty flavor to these soothing teas.
Overall, adding lemon to your tea can be a great way to add flavor and health benefits, as lemon is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants.