A cup of piping hot tea can lift one’s spirit any day. For many people, it’s the answer to any issue they may face. And in one movie, the excellent Ralph Fiennes even uttered, ‘It [black tea] offers a soothing balm when facing some hard home truths.’
In some places, tea plays a crucial role in many social situations. Since the 1800s, tea has been a special afternoon tradition in England. Culturally, serving tea to guests is a sign of hospitality and respect.
Yet you must serve tea right to give dignity to this very popular beverage. Lucky for you, this post will share the do’s and don’ts in preparing a cup of black tea and how to make loose-leaf black tea. Read on.
How To Make Loose Leaf Black Tea
Many tea enthusiasts are said to prefer loose leaf black tea over tea bags. Not only because of its sophistication but also because loose leaf tea is higher in quality. Here’s how to prepare the perfect cup of loose-leaf black tea:
- Gather your supplies – Prepare your chosen loose-leaf black tea, a teapot or infuser, fresh filtered water, and a kettle.
- Heat the water – Fill your kettle with fresh filtered water and bring it to a boil. Experts weigh in on the right water temperature. For instance, Rare Tea Company says the best temperature for black tea is 85°C, and that loose leaf tea tastes better than tea bags. Once the water has boiled, wait a few minutes for the temperature to drop. If you want precise measurements, use a thermometer.
“Earl Grey Tea from Rareteacompany.com”
- Measure the tea – Use one teaspoon of tea leaves per cup of water. Adjust the amount depending on your preference. If you’re new to tea drinking, it may take a few trials and errors to achieve your desired taste.
- Infuse the tea – Pour the water over the tea leaves in the infuser. Steep the tea for 3-5 minutes.
- Strain and serve – Pour the tea into your favorite teacup using a fine mesh sieve or a tea strainer that usually comes with the infuser. Add whatever you like; some add milk and sweetener, while others like their tea as is.
The 4 Dos Of Brewing A Cup Of Black Tea
Follow the tips below for brewing the perfect cup of black tea:
- Do Use Fresh Clean Water
Water is crucial in preparing a good cup of tea. Any impurities may affect the resulting beverage’s taste and quality. It’s best to use fresh or bottled filtered water for the best results.
Water from the tap may not be suitable as it contains minerals, chemicals, and other impurities that can cause an unpleasant taste to your brew. In addition, if you’re the type who appreciates the visuals of a beverage, take note that using tap water may result in a cloudy-looking cup of tea.
- Do Use Fresh Tea Leaves
Teas can last for several years if stored properly. If the tea has been sitting in your pantry for a long time, it may have lost its flavor and aroma and will not yield a desirable cup.
Fresh tea leaves will result in a richer flavor and aroma and a brighter color, making you enjoy your cup any time of the day. This is why purchasing what you only need is essential.
- Do Use The Right Amount Of Tea Leaves
Using too few leaves will result in a weak brew, while too much will result in a bitter and overpowering cup of tea. A good rule of thumb is to use one teaspoon of loose tea leaves per 8 ounces of water. This amount can be adjusted up or down depending on personal taste preferences.
- Do Preheat Your Pot And Your Teacup
The temperature of the water should remain consistent throughout the brewing process. To preheat your pot and teacup, pour hot water and let it sit for a few minutes. This is especially helpful during the winter when any equipment can get too cold and affect the temperature of the beverage you’re taking.
The 3 Don’ts Of Preparing Black Tea
Check out the following don’ts to make sure that you always prepare the best cup of black tea:
- Don’t Over Steep Your Tea
Follow the correct steeping time for black tea (around 3-5 minutes). When over-steeped, black tea can be bitter and astringent due to the tannins, an antioxidant in the tea. When properly brewed, these natural antioxidants can give excellent health benefits and a nice cup of tea.
- Don’t Use Boiling Water
Just like in coffee, boiling water is an enemy of black tea. Using boiling water can scorch the tea leaves, resulting in a burnt and bitter taste. If you don’t have a thermometer, a hack many people use is to wait a few minutes after the water has boiled to lower the temperature down to 85 °C.
- Don’t Reuse Tea Leaves
Reusing tea leaves may save you a few bucks, but it’ll only give you a mediocre cup. Most of the flavor and aroma of the tea is extracted in the first steep, so if you reuse the tea leaves, they’ll only give you a dull, flavorless cup.
A perfect cup of black tea will accompany you even on the bleakest days. Yet don’t make your day any more bitter with a less-than-stellar cup. Follow the dos and don’ts this post shared, and you can have the perfect cup of black tea every time.