Black tea, in my opinion, is probably the easiest tea to get right when you are learning how to brew loose leaf tea. Some of the other types of tea can be a little difficult to get right if your not used to it, and it takes a bit of practice.
However, because of its particular oxidizing process, the water temperature doesn’t have to be a specific degree to get it right when brewing the blacks. It should simply be as hot as possible so it can open the tea leaves and release the hearty, aromatic flavor and polyphenols this tea contains.
The “How To” of Brewing the Black Loose Leaf Teas
-Scoop out roughly a teaspoon over leaves per 5 oz. of water, and pour the hot water over the leaves – The water should be roughly 203-212 degrees. For the best results, pour as soon as possible after the water is boiling.
-Let the tea steep for a minimum of 30 seconds, and an absolute maximum of 5 minutes. After 5 minutes a chemical calledtannin is released which counteracts the stimulating effects of theophylline and caffeine and makes the tea taste bitter.
It should be steeped in a chinese yixing teapot.These teapots are known for the high-quality clay that is used to make them, as well as their ability to hold heat extremely well. It’s said that you shouldn’t use metal (stainless steel) in any process of the brewing process, so therefore a clay teapot is pretty much necessary! They add a great deal of the correct flavor you should experience with black teas (as well as oolong and some pu-erhs), so they are very important.
Experiment with a few steeping times to find your favored taste, and record the time it took to bring out that taste. Steeping times are only an estimate as to what the average tea should taste like, but obviously specific people’s taste varies, so steep according to your taste.